Student Org Spotlight: Men Joining the Fight invites men to discuss sexual violence prevention

finding intersectionality together

Anh Nguyen | Associate Artist

Across the United States, a vibrant and extensive dialogue has taken root. Now more than ever, sexual violence and sexual harassment have become prominent topics in American discourse.

Though this discussion has been prominent, some students are concerned that the discussion has not engaged certain groups, namely men. Now, several Tulanians have founded a new organization, Men Joining the Fight, which aims to prevent sexual assault from happening by working directly with men on campus.

Amidst the many organizations at Tulane focused on sexual violence, MJF hopes to focus almost exclusively on student-led sexual assault prevention, an area which several founding members said they felt has not been addressed sufficiently. Bobby Mannis, president and founder of MJF, said MJF’s focus on prevention led them to focus on engaging with male audiences.

“We want to target men and bring them in to the cause of ending sexual violence, precisely because they are the most likely to commit those crimes,” Mannis said. “Because of that, our work has great potential to drastically impact rates of sexual violence on Tulane’s campus.”

men joining the fight
Courtesy of Men Joining the Fight
Men Joining the Fight encourages men to participate in discourse about sexual violence prevention.

According to members of MJF, men are often expected to conform to a particular set of expectations, often unhealthy ones. As a result, they are more prone to commit acts of sexual violence than other segments of society. To address this, MJF hopes to promote a healthier form of masculinity at Tulane, starting with fraternities and male student athletic groups.

“These groups are already well organized, and they are spaces exclusively for men,” Mannis said. “Because of that, we’ll be able to do all of our programming, customize it, and deliver it directly to them. This will make sure we are effective in engaging with these groups in a positive way. We don’t plan to only engage with fraternity members or members of sports teams forever, that’s simply the best place to start.”

Though men are MJF’s target audience, the organization is gender-inclusive. Roughly half of the standing executive board members are women, including Caroline Kacmarsky, who is the co-programing chair. Regarding the programs MJF hopes to develop, Kacmarsky highlighted the importance of engaging with their target audience respectfully.

“We want to cultivate an open and inviting culture where people of any gender identity, albeit primarily men, can come in and have a welcoming space to be challenged to on issues related to gender,” Kacmarsky said. “We don’t want to be an organization that makes men feel bad. We believe that a sense of empathy and urgency can be cultivated, that it is there, and that we can be a vehicle for men to come in and feel like they have an important role to play in the solution.”

For many of the young organization’s members, promoting healthy masculinity is an issue of great personal significance. One such member is Seth Armentrout, co-programing chair for MJF.

“I was a part of a lot of exclusively male social groups growing up, but at the same time I was in a lot of groups where I was the only guy, growing up in a house that was only women,” Armentrout said. “For me personally, I joined because I’ve seen this contrast my entire life, and I have begun to see the extent to which the way men are pressured can be very damaging.”

While MJF has taken up a unique approach to preventing sexual violence at Tulane, it does not intend to work in isolation. According to Mannis, MJF plans to work in conjunction with partner organizations like SAPHE and TUPHES often.

“There are other organizations which have been doing great work for years, who have been leading in these efforts … we want to join in that effort,” Mannis said. “In the long term, we want to help develop programming that is proven to be effective. We want to see rates of sexual violence decreasing because we know that sexual violence programming is effective.”

Students who are interested in joining Men Joining the Fight can find more information on their Facebook page, or by reaching out to Bobby Mannis at [email protected].

Seth Armentrout was formerly the distribution manager for The Tulane Hullabaloo. 

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