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Dawson calls for men to prevent rape (The Eagle)


Originally published in:
The Eagle
04/16/2009

BY LINDSEY ANDERSON

"What allows a man to undress a woman when she is completely intoxicated with no ability to give consent or even know what is going on, and stick himself into her?" she read from Ensler's speech.

It is time for men to "break the secret code of dudes" and speak up against violence against women, Dawson said.

"The majority do not stand up and say or do anything about the violence that is going on to their mothers, sisters, daughters, girlfriends, wives, grandmothers," Dawson read. "They remain silent and passive, and the silence consolidates their loyalty and solidarity in the circle of men ... To stand up as men against violence against women is to break the secret code of dudes."

Dawson invited all men in the audiences to stand up and affirm their commitment to advocacy against sexual violence.

Other men are beginning to take action against violence against women, including Vice President Joe Biden, who helped push the Violence Against Women Act through Congress in the 1994.

"The Obama administration is a vagina-friendly administration," Dawson said.

Men hold most of the positions that allow them to legislatively condemn sexual assault, yet most activists against sexual assault are women, she said.

"Fifty-two percent of the human population is women, and yet they are the ones who are suffering the most violence, and that's really not going to change unless men become a part of that conversation," Dawson said.

The conference addressed the prevalence of sexual assault from the widespread rape of women in the Democratic Republic of Congo to domestic violence incidents involving celebrities, such as the Chris Brown-Rihanna case.

Brown is accused of hitting girlfriend Rihanna in February - an incident Dawson said should be a platform to talk about dating violence issues.

"There are so many violent acts that we can quote inside the media," she said.

"I think it's really important to use those opportunities to really talk in the greater whole."

You can reach this staff writer at landerson@theeagleonline.com.