Men Can Stop Rape

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Men Can Stop Rape

United States
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Men Can Stop Rape is widely viewed as the national leader on engaging young men in gender violence prevention. The organization has reached hundreds of thousands of youth and trained thousands of professionals from agencies including rape crisis centers, Boys and Girls Clubs, state Health Departments, Department of Justice Violence Against Women Office, coalitions against sexual assault, and educational institutions. The principal aspect of domestic violence prevention MCSR addresses is men’s violence against women. We take a multi-faceted approach to building young men as leaders in preventing partner abuse and sexual assault.

The Strength Campaign puts MCSR’s vision into action. From school-based youth programs to city-wide public action projects, capacity-building for professionals to global social marketing ventures, MCSR’s programmatic approach follows an environmental model that honors the process of change, identifying six steps through which individuals must advance to transform from bystanders to agents for change: 1) notice the event, 2) interpret it as a problem, 3) feel motivated to and capable of finding a solution, 4) possess the skills to act, 5) intervene, and 6) maintain (Prochaska, 1994). Our school-based Men of Strength (MOST) Clubs, named one of the most promising “50 Strategies to Prevent Violent Domestic Crime” by the National Crime Prevention Council, give high school-aged young men a safe, consistent space to build skills for identity development, gender violence prevention, and healthy relationship conduct. Community Strength Projects (CSP) allow MOST Club members to translate curriculum lessons into service-learning activities, public action campaigns, and peer education opportunities with female co-facilitators. Awareness-to-Action Workshops are interactive presentations that offer young people a forum for discussing the complexities of gender, relationships, and violence. Training and Technical Assistance institutionalize MCSR’s approach by building the capacity of professionals to create, facilitate, and evaluate programs for male youth. The Strength Mediaworks combines eye-catching images with compelling messages to portray male strength that embodies open communication and healthy attitudes while rejecting notions of domination and disrespect.

While our primary target groups are young men and professionals who work with them, our work has a tremendous impact on communities as a whole. Organizations across the country and around the globe have utilized Mediaworks materials. High profile media coverage from outlets such as O, the Oprah Magazine, Lifetime Entertainment, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, and The New York Times has strengthened MCSR’s visibility and credibility. The Ms. Foundation for Women honored MCSR with a Gloria Award, the first given for efforts focusing on men.

About You
Location
Project Street Address
Project City
Project Province/State
Project Postal/Zip Code
Project Country
Your idea
Focus of activity

Education

Year the initiative began

1997

Position your initiative on the mosaic of solutions
Which of these barriers is the primary focus of your work?

Aggressive Models Of Masculinity

Which of the insights is the primary focus of your work?

Create Paths to Prevention or Remediation

If you believe some other barrier or insight should be included in the mosaic, please describe it and how it would affect the positioning of your initiative in the mosaic
Innovation
Description of Initiative

Men Can Stop Rape is widely viewed as the national leader on engaging young men in gender violence prevention. The organization has reached hundreds of thousands of youth and trained thousands of professionals from agencies including rape crisis centers, Boys and Girls Clubs, state Health Departments, Department of Justice Violence Against Women Office, coalitions against sexual assault, and educational institutions. The principal aspect of domestic violence prevention MCSR addresses is men’s violence against women. We take a multi-faceted approach to building young men as leaders in preventing partner abuse and sexual assault.

The Strength Campaign puts MCSR’s vision into action. From school-based youth programs to city-wide public action projects, capacity-building for professionals to global social marketing ventures, MCSR’s programmatic approach follows an environmental model that honors the process of change, identifying six steps through which individuals must advance to transform from bystanders to agents for change: 1) notice the event, 2) interpret it as a problem, 3) feel motivated to and capable of finding a solution, 4) possess the skills to act, 5) intervene, and 6) maintain (Prochaska, 1994). Our school-based Men of Strength (MOST) Clubs, named one of the most promising “50 Strategies to Prevent Violent Domestic Crime” by the National Crime Prevention Council, give high school-aged young men a safe, consistent space to build skills for identity development, gender violence prevention, and healthy relationship conduct. Community Strength Projects (CSP) allow MOST Club members to translate curriculum lessons into service-learning activities, public action campaigns, and peer education opportunities with female co-facilitators. Awareness-to-Action Workshops are interactive presentations that offer young people a forum for discussing the complexities of gender, relationships, and violence. Training and Technical Assistance institutionalize MCSR’s approach by building the capacity of professionals to create, facilitate, and evaluate programs for male youth. The Strength Mediaworks combines eye-catching images with compelling messages to portray male strength that embodies open communication and healthy attitudes while rejecting notions of domination and disrespect.

While our primary target groups are young men and professionals who work with them, our work has a tremendous impact on communities as a whole. Organizations across the country and around the globe have utilized Mediaworks materials. High profile media coverage from outlets such as O, the Oprah Magazine, Lifetime Entertainment, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, and The New York Times has strengthened MCSR’s visibility and credibility. The Ms. Foundation for Women honored MCSR with a Gloria Award, the first given for efforts focusing on men.

Innovation

In 1997, the founders of Men Can Stop Rape (MCSR) pioneered a different way of addressing the epidemic of violence against women. Recognizing that that the majority of violent acts against women were committed by men, and that the vast majority of prevention efforts were risk-reduction and self-defense tactics directed at women, they wanted to challenge the presumptive inevitability of men’s violence and shift the problematic responsibility of deterring harm away from women. Their vision accomplished both, while neither blaming nor victimizing, and offered a plan for prevention that instead offers positive, proactive solutions to engage men as allies and allow them to feel motivated to and capable of ending men’s violence against women. Ten years later, MCSR even more successfully mobilizes male youth to prevent men’s violence against women, inspiring them to create their own positive definitions of masculinity, manhood, and strength; develop healthy relationships with others; embrace the concept of personal responsibility; work in partnership with female peers; and do their part to end violence and build safe communities. Our approach to working with young men in gender violence prevention and our focus on redefining masculinity is unique; in particular, our focus on defining and asserting positive masculinity for young men is effective and exemplary.

Delivery Model

MCSR brings its programs and curriculum to young men primarily through our Men of Strength (MOST) Clubs. MOST Clubs are our school-based programs. In the Clubs, 10-15 young men meet with MCSR facilitators once a week and go through our 16-week curriculum. Discussions cover ideas of manhood, life experiences, academic development, and any issues the young men face in their lives. Club members lead MCSR programs by developing and implementing their own action projects. These Community Strength Projects have grown quickly and deepened their reach due to the creativity, vision, and commitment of Club members. MOST Club membership has opened other doors for our program participants, including internships, scholarships, and high profile extra-curricular activities.

Key Operational Partnerships

Our partnerships are at the core of our work with young men. We partner with public and charter high schools in the District. We are launching MOST Clubs in New York City in the next year, with the support of the Liz Claiborne Foundation. We now have clear plans in place for the rollout of more MOST Clubs nationally. In addition to our site partners at schools, we have the support and partnerships of Departments of Health and numerous coalitions for sexual assault and domestic violence prevention. Our newest initiative, Strong Moves, will bring MOST Clubs to every public high school in Washington, DC in the next program year. For this initiative we are seeking the support and collaboration of the Mayor’s office as well as the Superintendent.

Impact
Financial Model

We are able to serve hundreds of young men in economically disadvantaged areas and sites that do not have funding of their own to bring us in through the tremendous support of foundations, individual donors and corporations. Additionally, we bring in revenue through materials sales and through consulting and training, which allows us to subsidize partners in need of Men Can Stop Rape’s expertise but without financial resources to allocate for such programming.

What percentage, if any, of the total operating costs does earned income (from products, services, or other fees) represent?

30%

How is the initiative financed? Is it financially self-sustainable or profitable? How much do beneficiaries contribute?

The initiative is funded through grants, fee for service, individual donations, and corporate gifts. We are happy to provide extensive financial information upon request. A number of former MOST Club members are involved with fundraising and event planning.

Effectiveness

Last year we served 85 young men through MOST Clubs in Washington, DC. In our ten years of existence, we have reached hundreds of young men through MOST Clubs, and hundreds of thousands through our training and consulting services, national workshops, and media campaigns. Through pre- and post-program survey tools created in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2006 MOST Club members showed 95% increased awareness of the costs of traditional masculinity, 95% increased knowledge of the importance of men’s role in preventing gender violence, 95% increased knowledge of the connections between traditional masculinity and other social problems and health epidemics, and 80% active participation in Community Strength Projects.

How many people have benefited from your program over the last year? Which element of the program proved itself most effective?

The increased demand for MOST Clubs, not only in Washington, DC but in sites nationally such as Florida, Ohio and North Carolina and internationally in Germany, South Africa, and England points to our impact on communities and institutions seeking innovative strategies that work. These prospective sites have indicated that our program meets the unique needs of young men. The biggest challenge facing our organization currently is meeting the demand for services and programs.

Because our MediaWorks campaigns are broad-based, it is difficult to ascertain the total number of individuals reached with our messaging last year. However, our posters were on busses throughout California, Washington, DC, and Madison, Wisconsin, and hundreds of thousands of people saw them regularly. Our MOST Clubs have proven to be effective in long-term, sustainable change in attitude, behavior, and sense of self-efficacy of program participants.

Scaling up Strategy

We are in the midst of a strategic planning process as we celebrate our 10th Anniversary to determine what the next couple of years will look like for MCSR and our work. We have plans in place to roll out MOST Clubs to other regions in the next couple of years, building an ever-expanding network of active and veteran members across the country. Additionally we are seeking national funding sources, and we will be hiring new program staff to help us reach increasing demand.

Stage of the Initiative

1

Origin of the Initiative

Men Can Stop Rape formed in 1997 out of a core group of men volunteering at the DC Rape Crisis Center. These founders saw a need for programming that mobilized young men as allies in preventing violence against women. They also determined that telling counterstories to the dominant representations of masculinity is imperative and central to the process of deep social change this work demands. For the past ten years, the organization has been working tirelessly, adapting and refining its curriculum and programs to effectively reach young men.

Sustainability
How did you hear about this contest and what is your main incentive to participate?

We got it through an email announcement related to the Family Violence Prevention Fund, as well as the DC Grants Alert.

Main Obstacles to Scaling Up

Our main obstacles to scaling up are capacity and financial. They are interconnected; we need more staff to meet the growing demand for our programming, and we need more funding to be able to do so. One other obstacle is managing our growth and expansion as we move to new sites and continuing to maintain high standards of program quality and content. However, we have set protocols in place for supervision, check-in, and ongoing technical assistance for partner sites to guide us in our growth.

Main Financial Challenges

One of our financial challenges is attracting and sustaining new corporate and individual donors. With our 10th Anniversary event this year, we are reaching out to new individuals and businesses for support. We also need to attract different funders, as most funders require grantees to take a break from support after a couple of years.

Main Partnership Challenges

A challenge in partnerships is making sure that the partner sites we work with are committed to our approach and invested in ensuring attendance and interest in the Clubs. Another challenge is developing relationships with new sites where we do not have an initial point of contact.