Participation in rape culture is never acceptable

Rewon Shimray | Cartoonist

By Baylor Men For Change | Guest Contributor

Too often men remain silent when issues of sexual violence arise in our culture, and over the past three years, Baylor Men for Change has sought to offer a counter-narrative to that silence. Baylor is a caring Christian community where all are supposed to feel safe and that they belong.

Part of being a caring Christian community is advocating for justice and denouncing injustice in all its forms. We are called to the higher purpose of compassion, love and respect for each other as we pursue loving God and loving our neighbors as our equals.

Men for Change is often haunted by the question, “How can we truly show our love for God if we do not show love for our neighbor by opposing institutional inequality, practices of patriarchy and the horrific and un-Christian acts of verbal, physical and sexual violence?”

Due to this stance we have taken and in light of the recent plea bargain offered by the Waco district attorney to the former fraternity president of Phi Delta Theta at Baylor University, we, Baylor Men for Change, want to clearly state our position against toxic masculinity and the direct result of this unhealthy form of hyper-masculinity at Baylor University; namely, sexual violence on campus. We hope our position will encourage men and women to speak out and be more vocal against sexual violence.

  • All forms of sexual violence must be condemned and justice must be pursued for the survivors.
  • We must actively condemn sexual attacks against men and women, as failing to do so makes us complicit in a culture that perpetuates such violence.
  • Being silent or participating in conversations that degrade women and women’s movements against sexual violence is entirely unacceptable.
  • Students, faculty and staff must be committed to denouncing and ending all forms of violence against men and women in our culture and at Baylor University. This includes physical, verbal and symbolic violence.
  • Victim blaming is inappropriate and keeps us from addressing actual societal issues that lead to acts of “rape,” “stalking,” “sexual assault” or “sex abuse.” Victim blaming is a disservice to survivors and a minimization of horrific events and unacceptable behaviors.
  • We are all responsible for creating a safe campus and culture for all students, faculty and staff. Over half of our population at Baylor is female, and failing to actively seek justice against perpetrators of sexual violence as well as for survivors of sexual violence is entirely unacceptable.
  • We strongly denounce anyone who engages in statements or actions that imply any level of comfort with rape culture.
  • We must all deeply commit to bystander intervention and reporting processes for any incident of sexual violence.

Men for Change is committed to mentoring Baylor students about unhealthy societal pressures on masculine expression, rape culture that perpetuates and sustains sexual violence, and encouraging healthy and authentic expressions of each person’s individual masculinity connected to a meaningful sense of spirituality because of the Christian identity that Baylor has committed to upholding. We believe this is the way to fulfill Baylor’s mission to prepare men and women for worldwide leadership and service by integrating academic excellence and Christian commitment in a caring community.

Baylor Men for Change