Campus News

UW course for fraternity members educates men on sexual violence

Fraternity members have the opportunity to take Greek Men for Violence Prevention, a two-credit, discussion-driven course where students learn about masculinity, gender, the media and violence against women.

Image By: Cameron Lane-Flehinger

Throughout UW-Madison’s efforts to combat sexual assault on campus by implementing a variety of new programs, one program has remained the same.

Greek Men for Violence Prevention — offered at the university for nearly a decade — is a two-credit, discussion-driven course where male fraternity members learn about masculinity, gender, the media and violence against women.

The course originated after members of fraternities began to realize the growing issue of sexual assault on college campuses, according to University Health Services violence prevention worker and course facilitator Christo Raines.

“Sexual assault, sexual violence, stalking, dating violence — these are serious issues on our campus, and I think fraternity men were aware of that and wanted to do something about it,” Raines said.

The course, which is cosponsored by the UHS Violence Prevention Survivor Support unit, teaches fraternity men about topics ranging from reviewing masculinity to learning about male behaviors and where they originate.

Raines said a major part of the course is increasing the students’ knowledge of sexual assault, dating violence and stalking, among other topics. According to Raines, once the students “really get a sense of what these terms actually are,” they will be able to identify negative behaviors and learn how to intervene in dangerous situations rather than be a bystander.

“[A goal of the course is] to harness [the students’] natural skills, experiences and relationships to really work on violence prevention,” Raines said.

George Sorrells, a UW-Madison junior and vice president of the Acacia fraternity who took the course his freshman year, said it’s unique because it allows students to use their shared experiences of being fraternity members to inform their perspectives.

Sorrells said the class used these experiences to discuss how they wanted to “change our community for the better.”

“[The class] made me aware of some of the systemic problems facing our community and what can be done to solve them,” Sorrells said. “It’s easy to see now that it motivated a lot of the events and leadership positions I’ve found myself involved in [over the years].”

Janie Felton, chair of the student organization Promoting Awareness Victim Empowerment, said the course is an “integral part” of making campus a better place for students. She said the class is beneficial because it encourages student leaders to use their knowledge and skills to prevent sexual violence.

The course will be held on Tuesday evenings in the Humanities building this coming spring semester.

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