To the Editor,
In response to the op-ed “Welcoming everyone to the conversation” in the last edition of the Record, many spoke out in frustration and anger against the complaint that men are demonized by conversations on sexual assault. However, many others felt that the article accurately represented their views. This letter aims to address the misinformation reflected by the article to support more productive, open dialogue on campus.
As a member of the Rape and Sexual Assault Network (RASAN) board, I have an intimate understanding of one of the organizations addressed in the article, though I am speaking for myself. In my opinion, the conflation of Men For Consent (MFC) and RASAN in the article reflects a misunderstanding of RASAN’s role on campus. Importantly, this idea that RASAN and MFC are connected is not one produced by the article but is instead a common misunderstanding that is reflected by the piece.
MFC and RASAN are similar in that both work to end sexual violence and support survivors of sexual assault. However, the two organizations occupy distinct niches and have distinct goals: While MFC is activism-oriented and geared towards men, RASAN is a hotline resource open to all community members.
Because RASAN is consciously apolitical, connecting it to campaigns that are intentionally polarizing, such as MFC’s poster campaign, undermines the work of the hotline. RASAN is not just a service for women, for survivors of sexual assault or for people who hold certain beliefs about sexual assault. The hotline was founded on the idea that sexual assault impacts the entire community, regardless of one’s political beliefs, gender identity, sexuality or personal experiences. I joined RASAN because I believe it is important to recognize the place all community members, including men, have in the conversation as survivors, loved ones of survivors and allies.