Most men doesn’t rape, most men doesn’t abuse women, so how come they don’t speak up on behalf of the men that does? A public service announcement was released last year where President Obama revealed that 1 in every 5 women fell victims to rape crimes. Offering services to rape victims, Ben Atherton Zeman stressed the importance of getting more men involved to help decrease these crime rates against women.
Ben Atherton Zeman, spokesperson for the National Organization for Men against Sexism, performed his one man play “Voice of Men,” to my school’s community on March 31st. In light that April is National Sexual Assault Month, Zeman pointed out his contributions made in rape crisis programs at various different shelters for over 20 years now after his then girlfriend had confided in him with a dark secret of having been raped by another man. Being a college-aged student at that time, he got involved with talking about violence against women and provided aid to battered victims. Bringing a cutting edge of humor to controversial topics such as sexual harassment against women and objectification isn’t something that I’ve never seen before until now.
The room got dark and quiet as a short clip showed the effect of a young boy hearing his dad raise not only his voice but also his hand on his mother in the kitchen over a dispute over food, as he sat at the top of the stairway. As if to change the mood of the crowd, music blasted through the speakers right before Zeman came out in full costume.
Before he acted out the role of Austin Powers, he got himself into character as Robert “Rocky,” Balboa in the hit 1976 movie Rocky where he displayed a persistent aggression towards his love interest Adrian after he kept insisting for her to come inside his house so they could “hang out.” Once he finally lured her in, a reserved Adrian looked really nervous and uncomfortable. He tried to get her to sit down next to him and make herself comfortable but she didn’t budge. The awkward tension continued to fill the room, after Adrian had asked to make a phone call to inform her brother on her whereabouts to which he objected to… It was then that she started heading towards the door where he suddenly got up and put his hand on the door to keep her from going out.
It was pointed out that the number one missed sign of sexual violence is when a person refuses to stop despite the other person insisting on it, often the suspect, assumes that he/she is joking but Adrian wasn’t in this case.
She really wanted to leave. This is usually how these crimes begin. It’s not about sex, it’s about power which Rocky tried to hold over Adrian.
Later on, Rocky reflected on his remorse towards his actions earlier that day.
“Don’t get me wrong, I still love Adrian. I had cared more about hooking up with her, then who she was as a human being and giving her what she deserved from me,” Rocky said to himself.
Not all men are like Rocky though, some are like Austin Powers.
Portraying the role of Austin Powers with a twist added to the storyline, was where the objectification of women was brought into focus. His impressive dance movies had caught the attention of an attractive girl at the bar. They chatted briefly before he was given a book on feminism, which she told him that he had to read if he wanted her phone number. That he did and was later invited over to her house to watch a film that portrayed women as sexual properties. Austin thought those girls were hot but she wanted him to see beyond just their sexy bodies.
“I love these images, they’re sexy woman, but according to you they’re being objectified which bothers me. I see that I’m part of the problem.” Austin said to his date.
“You have to see women as full human beings, deserving to be leaders and treated with respect. It’s not just about their pretty hair or their bodies that should attract the attention of men. Someday one of these women could possibly become president of the United States,” she told him.
Right then and there was when he apologized for being a sexist and she confirmed her feelings for him, stating that she wanted to be with Austin, not just because he was an amazing dancer, but also because he didn’t get offended by what she told him; she also felt that he was a great listener, and understood her when she declared how women should be treated. .
“You’re my international man mystery baby,” she said before planting her lips on him.
“Be an example of the man that you want your sister, daughter, and girlfriend to have. Strong men don’t bully! Zeman vocalized to the audience.
“Young men need proper role models to change the way they think about women. The community must work as a team. It doesn’t matter what kind of man you are, once you raise your hand on a female, you become just like every other male abusers,” a woman said in a short video clip shown.
Zeman pointed out that females aren’t the only victims.
“I’ve met male victims as well, some of them were in heterosexual relationships. A vast majority of the victims I encounter at the shelters are woman and young girls that looked like me. Anybody can be raped. People need to let go of this idea that they should turn a blind eye to the situation. Just because it’s not happening to them, they assume it isn’t any of their business to speak up, but they should. More and more celebrities should raise their voices like retired Yankee player Joe Torre did.
He founded the “Safe at Home,” foundation that created “Margaret’s Place,” “a school-based vio¬lence inter¬ven¬tion and pre¬ven¬tion pro¬gram.” (http://www.joetorre.org)
Margaret’s Place provides services to children exposed to vio¬lence, putting them in “a safe and com¬fort¬able room within the school where they meet with a staffed full-time Social Worker. They then are taught class¬room anti-violence cur¬ric¬ula,” (http://www.joetorre.org) participate in school-wide aware¬ness cam¬paigns and work¬shops and are given individual or group coun¬sel¬ing if needed.
Before leaving, Ben got the men in the audience to pledge that that they’d never commit, condone, or remain silent about men’s violence against women. They vowed to respect, listen to, and seek quality with every person they date and every person they know.”
Why don’t you too?
Remember guys, “If it’s against her will, it’s against the law, you should stop!”