Mackenzie Hurlbert — Staff Writer
Jim Hoffecker of The Men’s Initiative, an organization through the Women’s Center at Southern, held an event last Tuesday, the 10th which was dedicated towards the artistic expression of reactions towards violence.
This event, titled Drawing the Line Against Violence, took place in the student center theatre and featured a song by Hoffecker and a poetry performance by the campus poetry club FLOW (Fearless Lovers of Word).
Hoffecker, accompanied with his guitar, performed a cover of “Gratitude” by Ani Defranco, a song whose lyrics illustrate the innocence and sense of betrayal felt by a victim of sexual assault.
Fearless Lovers of Word, led by president Jourdan Duncan, performed a group poem, titled “Fearlessly Loving our Wounded” in which each member of the group took on the persona of a victim and performed a quick piece about their experiences. The victims ranged from bullying to rape, and at the end of the piece, the poets united and said, “We are survivors.”
“Flow’s piece was really touching. I hope to see more programs with similar initiatives at Southern,” said poet and audience member Rafael Sanchez.
Because April is Sexual Assault Awareness month, the Men’s Initiative, led by Jonathan Ruiz, and the Women’s Center worked together to create programs like Drawing the Line Against Violence in order to educate and inform students about the dangers and possible prevention of sexual assault and violence.
The Men’s Initiative, originally named the Men’s Corner, was created in 2008, and changed names two years ago. “Our major goal is to educate students about violence against women and violence against other men and to be an active, good force on campus,” said Jonathan Ruiz.
This organization also works to use and spread the powerful role men have in reducing gender violence and sexual assault.
While the stereotype may be that violence against women is a common misdeed of men, the Men’s Initiative is working to show the campus community that most men are promoting the end of sexual assault and violence by spreading awareness and intervening in questionable situations.
For more information, their office is in the Women’s Center in the lower level of Schwartz Hall.
Both the Women’s Center and the Men’s Initiative are currently working together to plan the upcoming annual Take Back the Night Event.
This violence awareness ceremony is their biggest event of the year in which survivors of sexual assault and violence share their stories and experiences.
It is also an international rally and march, organized for the purpose of uniting men and women against all types of sexual assault and violence. This event will take place on Tuesday, April 24th in the student center ballroom.
Another event planned by the Men’s initiative is the White Ribbon Campaign, in which men wear a white ribbon to signify their commitment to ending violence and sexual assault.
It’s goal, as stated on the Men’s Initiative pamphlet, is to show the community at southern that “while a small number of men do commit violence against women, most men are working to end it.”