Engaging Men on College Campuses: Gendered Assumptions in Sexual Assault Prevention Education Material
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A recent trend among sexual assault prevention programs is to target men rather than the traditional approach of focusing on women. The aim of this research is to analyze how sexual assault prevention education materials are used to engage men on U.S. college campuses and the gendered assumptions these programs make about men and about masculinity. Using discourse analysis methods, this research analyzes five sexual assault prevention programs curated for college men: A Call to Men, The Men’s Program, Men’s Workshop with Alan Berkowitz, Mentors in Violence Prevention, and Men Can Stop Rape. Programs curated with heterosexual, cisgender men as the exclusive intended audience work within a gender binary by assuming the best way to address this issue is to redefine masculinity rather than to deconstruct it. Critiquing gendered discourse and identifying patterns of assumptions allows us room to refine our messages to be more effective, which is imperative to addressing the issue of sexual assault on college campuses.