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Level Four: Fostering Networks and Coalitions
Level 4: Fostering Coalitions and Networks
Bringing together groups and individuals for broader goals and greater impact
Social change requires the commitment of many different groups and institutions at all levels of society. Collaboration brings more resources, perspectives, and experiences that can help expand the reach of prevention messages. In expanding this reach, it might be most effective to build upon your existing partnerships and collaborations. Many campus anti-sexual violence organizations have built coalitions and networks with partners to provide crisis services to victims. These relationships are a critical part of successful prevention and advocacy work. Consider seeking out other campus organizations committed to justice and equality, such as LGBTQ student groups and groups for students of color, and talk about how your issues intersect. Click here (http://www.nsvrc.org/saam/expand-allies) for more tips on expanding your allies.
Building and maintaining coalitions will require some compromise and careful planning to meet the needs of all the parties involved, but in the end they will be beneficial to everyone. When approaching new partners, reinforce the widespread benefits of changing the destructive norms underlying sexual violence for the overall health and safety of all members of the campus community.
Another important part of coalition-building for campus advocates will occur outside the campus with community organizations and agencies. Local rape crisis centers can provide information, resources, training, and expertise to assist on-campus leaders with this work. In addition, state, territory, and tribal sexual assault coalitions can provide resources and technical assistance, often around campus prevention issues. Locate your state or territory sexual assault coalition here (http://www.nsvrc.org/organizations/state-and-territory-coalitions).
CASE EXAMPLE: MEN CAN STOP RAPE CAMPUS STRENGTH PROGRAM
The Campus Strength Program was developed by the national organization Men Can Stop Rape (MCSR) as a way to engage college and university men in preventing violence against women, developing and supporting healthy masculinity, and sustainably organizing to create campuses and cultures free from violence. The program is centered on collaboration and coalition-building among students, faculty, staff, and community members on campus. MCSR provides on-site training, organizing tools, guidance, and technical assistance to each program site.
Male members of each chapter meet regularly to discuss issues around their lived experience as men, traditional masculinity and how it impacts them, and how they can define and live new definitions of masculinity that promote safety and health for all. Members also serve as mentors and role models in the community, work closely with local organizations, conduct educational workshops, and participate in events.
The Men Organizing for Rape Education (MORE) group at Washington University in St. Louis began in 2002 and has established a strong positive presence on campus. In 2008, MORE became an official Campus Strength Chapter. MORE is composed of 15-20 male students and is a recognized student group through the administration. The group includes men representing a wide variety of interests and backgrounds, including fraternities, athletics, and student government. Members of the group are responsible for recruiting, training, and sustaining the group with the assistance of two male staff advisors, one from the campus counseling center and one from resident life. MORE members engage in many activities throughout the year, including facilitating first-year student orientation trainings on sexual violence, hosting campus-wide educational events, conducting presentations for other college students as well as area high-school students, and co-sponsoring large events with other student groups, such as an annual Take Back the Night rally.
Each spring, MORE brings together male leaders on campus, including the chancellor, various deans, athletic directors, coaches, administrators, and professors to pose for a photograph that is used on posters and other materials throughout the following school year. To recruit the male leaders for the photograph, group members and advisors visit many different individuals on campus, explain ongoing projects in a concise manner, and detail the time and work that will be involved for anyone offering to help.
Over time, MORE has reached out to new and different groups and individuals on campus to collaborate on projects using this strategy, including housing, campus police, judicial services, health services, and relevant academic departments such as gender studies. In addition, MORE works closely with area agencies that provide direct services to domestic violence and sexual assault victims. This collaboration has helped MORE establish a presence outside the campus and reach more community members with messages about healthy and positive masculinity.
For more information about Washington University’s MORE program, contact Craig Woodsmall, PsyD, Coordinator of Training for Student Health Services, at (314) 935-5988 or email@example.com.
For more information about Men Can Stop Rape’s Campus Strength program and how to become a recognized chapter or receive training, contact Joseph Vess, MCSR Director of Training and Technical Assistance, at (202) 265-6530 ext. 36 or firstname.lastname@example.org. View an overview of the program at http://www.mencanstoprape.org/usr_doc/MCSR_Campus_Strength_Program.pdf.