World-renowned speaker to raise awareness on sexual violence

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COLUMBIA — Jackson Katz, a world-renowned activist believes sexual violence and its prevention is not just "a women's issue" but instead "it's a men's issue."

Katz will speak at The University of Missouri on Wednesday, Nov. 30, with his speech titled: "Why Some Men Hurt Women and How All Men Can Help."

According to the biography on his website, Katz is the co-founder of Mentors in Violence Prevention, one of the longest-running and most widely influential gender violence prevention programs in North America.

He is also the author of two novels, several academic journals and articles, as well as the narrator and writer of award-winning "Tough Guise" documentary videos.

Katz's work focuses on how men play a crucial role in sexual violence and how they can help prevent it.

His arrival to MU is part of an effort to recognize The White Ribbon Campaign, which is a global movement that engages men in the movement to end violence against women. It advocates for gender equality, a compassionate view of masculinity and the promotion of healthy relationships.

The Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention (RSVP) Center on MU's campus is teaming up with Interfraternity Council peer educators to raise awareness and provide education about men's role in violence prevention.

RSVP Center Education Coordinator, Kim Scates helped plan the efforts to bring Katz to MU's campus.

"We're really excited to bring him to campus because we know his research will resonate with a lot of folks on our campus," Scates said. "He is an expert in his field and he knows how to correlate toxic masculinity and violence in a way that is accessible so we can all understand."

Scates said even though Kat'z speech focuses on men's role in violence, his speech is important for all people to come hear.

"Specifically when we're talking about relationship violence, college-aged individuals are the most at risk for experiencing relationship violence," Scates said. "It's critical to have these conversations now and to make sure that folks know what they can do to prevent and then also the resources that are available to them if they experience violence."

She also discussed that changing the conversation surrounding sexual violence is important. Historically, it has been a women's led effort, she claims.

"When we've talked about prevention, we have focused on survivors of violence or potential survivors of violence and we've told them what not to do. So, we will say 'Women take a self- defense class, carry mace, et cetera' in order to prevent violence," Scates said. "But, what we know is that does not prevent violence."

Scates said educating young men and boys on their responsibility to be non-violent is the best form of prevention.

"I think it's important that young men and boys know that they play a critical role in prevention. They have so much power and influence over this situation and can really make a difference in truly ending violence," Scates said.

Earlier in the week, the RSVP Center and IFC peer educators passed out information to students, as well as hosted a "lunch and learn" discussion focusing on the socialization of masculinity and how to redefine it.

Men's Greek chapters will also compete in an online banner contest later in the week. The chapters are challenged to come up with a unique way to raise awareness about violence against women and the prevention of it.

Katz will speak in the ballroom at the Reynolds Alumni Center on MU's campus at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.