Conference addresses men's role in sexual assault

Senior Jared Kingery knows sexual assault is a problem on campus. As a Residential Assistant in Foster Quad, he said he has the ability to educate men on what they can do to stop sexual assault but wants to learn more. That's why he's going to a leadership training event sponsored by the IU Men's Coalition this weekend.\nThough the event focuses on men, the free two-day training is also open to women. It will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday in Whittenberger Auditorium in the Indiana Memorial Union. Breakfast, snacks and lunch will be provided. \nThe event coordinators want to explore men's roles in preventing sexual violence through activities, discussion and group interaction. Men's Coalition adviser Nigel Pizzini hopes participants walk away from the event feeling empowered to give back to their campus.\n"It's important that students have tangible examples of how they as individuals and as a group can have an impact on this campus, making this a safer place for women," he said.\nKingery said in his experience, men's views of sexual assault are wrong. \n"The sad thing is, they are not even aware of it and think that their perspective of sexual assault is correct," he said. "The overwhelming majority of sexual assault cases are between people that know each other and in cases where it starts out as consensual but ends up with someone changing their mind."\nPizzini said the issue reaches further than the act of sexual assault. He said the culture of masculinity creates an environment where sexual assault can exist.\n"We're not saying men are bad, abusive and setting out to commit felonies," Pizzini said. "But men are influenced by ideas that they should be sexually active, and that can lead them into pushing for opportunities to do so at the expense of another person."\nRoss Wantland is the coordinator for sexual assault education at the University of Illinois. He said 10 representatives from Illinois are coming to IU to share their experiences in sexual assault prevention. \n"(We want to) provide support for men on the campus who want to get involved and make a change," he said.\nWantland said a "shameful" level of sexual assault is committed by men, but most men don't commit sexual assault. \n"Men are affected every time one man commits sexual assault," he said. "It changes the perception of all men, and it hurts the people who experience the assault."\nKingery said there have been more reports of sexual assault this year at Foster Quad. \n"Everybody is hoping this is a result of people being more educated and feeling more empowered to step up and report it," he said. \nWantland said men are critical in ending sexual violence.\n"Men have an amazing opportunity to be an agent of change and to address the safety of women on campus," he said. "This will change their lives"

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