Healthy Masculinity Summit Discusses Rape and Abuse - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Healthy Masculinity Summit Discusses Rape and Abuse

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The rally to end domestic and sexual violence has been going on each year in Fargo for 23 years. But, Tuesday night's event brought a new message.

"The vast majority of men in the community don't condone sexual violence, but sometimes they've never been asked to the table, they don't know what they can do to help the problems," Greg Diehl, Executive Director with the Rape and Abuse Crisis Center said.

The convention center at Fargo's Hilton Garden Inn was buzzing with conversation. But, they weren't the typical discussion you might overhear at a dinner table. In fact, they weren't topics you'd often hear from men at all. According to a study by the AVON Foundation, only 17-percent of men talk about rape and abuse with friends.

"We wanted to focus more specifically on bringing more men to the table," Diehl said of the Healthy Masculinity Summit going on around him. "Men bring a different attitude, a different sense of how they see the issue. And, it's important, I think, for men and women be looking together at these issues."

Men and women gathered at tables to discuss how masculinity permeates society. From parenting to faith, from athletics to the media, they shared thoughts on how to use masculinity to promote healthier relationships. After the summit, the men and women attended the 23rd Annual Take Back the Night event.

"This will be the fourth year that I've attended. Every year, there are more and more men. It's great to see," Dave Mulske, a participant at the Take Back the Night rally, said.

Mulske met with his discussion partners, as dozens of people grabbed signs to parade through downtown Fargo. Now, the conversation will no longer be tabled as men like Mulske take their message to the streets.

"I think it's really important for children to be brought up in that environment, where they have a healthy respect for their peers, as well as sisters, mothers and, really, any relationship," he said.

Men from law enforcement, education, churches and social services came to take part in the Healthy Masculinity Summit, Tuesday afternoon, making up a cross-section of society.

You can get involved, yourself, with the Red River Men's Action Network, MSUM's Extraordinary Gentlemen or Coaching Boys to Men.

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