Men As Peacemakers to end violence against women

BY AISLING DOHENY | The Statesman In the wake of a false-front issue and several campus-wide discussions on sexual violence, one local organization decided to join in on the conversation.

Men as Peacemakers (MAP) is a 20-year-old organization dedicated to engaging individuals and communities in innovative strategies that promote equality, repair harm and prevent violence against women and children.

Last Tuesday, the Duluth group MAP was invited by Professor Jean Farrell to come to UMD to speak about their organization to one of her communication classes. Sarah Curtiss and Sean Elmquist represented the non-profit organization.

“Peers have shown so much power recently,” said Farrell, “and I thought this would be a good support for what campus is doing.”

Elmquist and Curtiss used several focal points of the organization to guide their lecture. One such focal point was primary prevention.

“Primary prevention is a systematic process that promotes healthy environments and behaviors and reduces the likelihood or frequency of an injury or traumatization,” Curtiss said.

This process includes delving down to the core of the issue.

“We’ve come up with this formula for violence against women,” said Elmquist. “It’s sexual objectification plus degradation plus exploitation, and that equals male dominance.”

According to MAP, male dominance is what leads to increased violence against women and children.

“It’s important to remember that it’s a very small percentage of men that commit the majority of violence,” Curtiss said.

“We work with a spectrum of prevention,” said Elmquist.

MAP offers two programs for young boys and girls: a Boy’s Restorative Group and a Girl’s Restorative Group. These two programs involve in-school mentoring. Their goal is to foster positive relationships between mentors and mentees.

“The boy’s program focuses on educating the boys about healthy masculinity and building healthy relationships,” Curtiss said.

The Boy’s Restorative has such a high demand that it cannot keep up with all the community requests for additional groups.

MAP also includes a Restorative Justice Program that involves working with both victims and offenders.

“I would say it’s a transformative process for both the victims and offenders,” said Curtiss.

The systematic process of preventing violence includes six key aspects: influencing policy and legislation, changing organizational practices, fostering coalitions and networks, educating providers, promoting community education and strengthening skills and individual knowledge.

Most volunteer and staff members are around the age of 25.

To Jean Farrell, this organization is extremely effective.

“When males are able to come into my classrooms and address other males, I think it is more effective,” she said.

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