Friday, April 30, 2010

Men Can Stop Rape Trains Hundreds in Hawaii During Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Hello, and more specifically, Aloha from Men Can Stop Rape! We wanted to take a quick second and share some thoughts from our very successful recent series of trainings in the state of Hawaii, as well as to highlight some of the incredible work that is being done to address men’s violence against women there.

Men Can Stop Rape is honored to be an integral part of Hawaii’s Statewide Plan for the Primary Prevention of Sexual Violence. This plan, begun a few years ago and as the Department of Health as a lead partner, is an ambitious attempt to spread the message of primary prevention of violence against women throughout as many communities in the state of Hawaii as possible. The plan is being created and put into place be a large and diverse range of community leaders throughout Hawaii.

After months of planning and discussion, Joseph Vess, MCSR’s Director of Training and Technical Assistance and myself, Joe Samalin, MCSR’s Campus Strength Coordinator spent a week in Hawaii meeting with, learning from, and training communities here in Hawaii to help enhance and support all the incredible work being done there already. During our multi-day trainings in Hilo and Maui, we met with, trained, learned from, and were challenged in new ways by community leaders there.

A huge Mahalo (thank you) to EVERYONE who helped with the training, logistics, and recruitment for both trainings, including but not limited to:

Hawaii Department of Health
Prosecuting Attorney Offices in Maui County and Hilo
University of Hawaii Maui College
University of Hawaii at Hilo

Last but not least, we want to thank all of the hundreds of people who attended our trainings and acknowledge all of the wonderful work you are doing. We enjoyed working on what primary prevention work can and does look like in Hawaii – especially what masculinity looks like in Hawaii and how prevention can be tied into key Hawaiian cultural concepts such as community and extended family (Ohana), community responsibility (Kuleana), and of the course Aloha spirit, as well as what primary prevention engaging men can look like across the wide breadth of diverse communities statewide.

Training participants ranged from foster care workers to men’s group members, college students and staff to incarcerated and formerly incarcerated men, criminal justice employees and government agency staff, faith based leaders, coaches, community leaders, folks in recovery from substance abuse and helping others, and many more.

We especially want to thank those participants who were courageous and generous enough to share with all of us the gifts of their stories as both survivors of and perpetrators of violence. It is through these stories that we all find the motivation and the strength and courage to continue doing what we do.

Media Coverage

Trainings in Hilo and the Big Island


Our first two-day training took place in Hilo (a community on the East side of the ‘big island’ of Hawaii) and was coordinated by the Hilo prosecuting attorney’s office, the DOH, and the YWCA in Hilo. It was held at the YWCA and both days were attended by about 35 community leaders ranging from foster care workers to substance abuse counselors, from community elders and men’s group members, to University of Hawaii at Hilo staff and folks in reentry programs.

Our first day of training in Hilo focused mostly on dominant and counterstories of masculinity specific to Hawaii and Hilo. Concepts of men as protectors and providers for their families and communities were a central theme, as well as having a large family, being tan and athletic (especially water sports like surfing and paddling), hunting and fishing and more. A really powerful piece of the day was people sharing who men of strength in their personal lives were and why. 


The second day in Hilo was a half day continuation focusing more on concrete next steps for engaging men and boys locally. We looked at bystander intervention (funny skit). We closed the training by splitting the participants into groups based on the types of men they work with (teens, college students, foster care youth, and adult men) and ask them first to envision the concrete changes a community would face if there was NO violence in that community. We then worked backwards towards that goal by asking what primary prevention would look like, and lastly, how the communities that everyone live and work in can begin to engage men and boys around masculinity. It was a powerful piece though difficult for people to answer off the top of their heads. 


After the end of the second day, before going back and crashing out at the hotel, Joe Vess and I were lucky enough to have a little time to explore the downtown market area of Hilo – looking at and shopping for local crafts, fruits and flowers.

Trainings in Maui

Maui was a different training on a few fronts. Held on campus at Maui College, the first day was open to the general community and we had in attendance over 80 people. It changed the dynamic of the room a bit, but everyone participated and we had a great time. It is fun personally doing larger trainings sometimes as you get bigger laughs when you make a joke. It just feels good sometimes. We want to give a special thanks to especially to (Aris and Ben and Phyllis) for putting in so much hard work to make the training a success. Messages about being a man in Maui included a wide range of things such as warrior culture, having a pit bull as a pet, standing up for yourself, your family, your culture, being respected, having tattoos, enjoying BBQ and large trucks, and more.

On the flip side, some of the strong men talked about included local pastors, fathers and uncles, dad of a best friend from high school, husband and best friend. These men were compassionate, leaders in thr communities, respectful to their wives and partners, overcame and exceeded their own limitations, supported and taught their children well, and had the courage to show their weaknesses as well as their strengths.

For the Maui training we were also asked to focus a little more pointedly on the effects of media on the issues of preventing men’s violence against women. To do this we shared a number of print and television ads that showcase the dominant story of masculinity in society. Doing this activity we got some pushback and were challenged by the group.

We are greatly anticipating being partners in this process moving forward, and to planning next steps! Share

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