Greeks turn boys to men with sexual assault education

Kelly Tunney

Men should step up and act to prevent sexual crimes, said Alex Leslie, sexual assault prevention lecturer.

Leslie is a trainer for Men Can Stop Rape Inc., an educational organization devoted to preventing violence against women. He spoke to a group of roughly 80 students in the Michael Schwartz Center through an interactive presentation, educating them about how they can prevent sexual assault.

Delta Sigma Phi and Vice President Greg Jarvie’s office hosted the event, titled “Turning Boys Into Men,” as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Week.

Leslie said women are usually taught the steps to staying safe, but he thinks prevention should instead focus on teaching men to keep assaults from happening.

“We put this burden on women to be protective of themselves,” he said.

Leslie questioned the group, gathering their opinions on the topic of how society says men should express emotion. He asked them how they should feel when talking to a friend who is a victim of a sexual crime.

“We walk this tightrope, balancing between what we are told it means to be a man by the world at large, what we know it means to be a man in our hearts and the people that are closest to us,” he said. “And at that point, one of these things can pull us in either direction.”

Leslie encouraged the men to be proactive. He said they should step up and prevent a sexual crime rather than making an excuse for being a bystander.

“If we flip this idea of ‘I can’t intervene because’ and change it to what can we do in order to make a difference, I think there are lots of different ways we can get involved in a situation that looks problematic,” he said.

Kristen Camputaro, senior biotechnology and chemistry major, said it was a topic that applied directly to situations students are involved in on campus.

“They had good applications on what to do in party-type situations,” she said. “That does actually happen a lot, and I know a lot of my friends are faced with that. It has become so common you don’t even notice it.”

Brady Ruffer, senior integrated social studies major and Delta Sigma Phi president, said he thinks it is important for all Greek life to set an example. He said they should stand against the issue of sexual assault and how it is sometimes connected with Greeks.

“We feel if we lead this and we, as fraternities, stand together and start making this change that we are going to start getting rid of that stereotype,” he said. “We can actually solve the problem, make it better, draw attention to it.”

Contact Kelly Tunney at [email protected].