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Volume 71, Issue 154, Thursday, July 27, 2006

News

Group to expand men's awareness

One in Four looks to open males' eyes to reality of sexual abuse 
to promote healing

by Mohammed Olokode
The Daily Cougar

Students at UH will be introduced this fall to a new group on campus to help understand sexual assault.

The Cougar Peer Educators, a student organization at the UH Wellness Center, has a new group called One in Four, a collective that focuses on men's awareness of sexual abuse. 

The group also explains how they can help female victims of sexual assault.

One in Four will be a sub-group to the Cougar Peer Educators organization and is the first sexual assault prevention group started by peer educators at UH.

"It's kind of like males talking to males about sexual abuse," Ose Okojie, president of Cougar Peer Educators and a public health senior, said. 

"Males getting other perspectives about sexual abuse and why some guys do the things they do. 

"It's kind of like an awareness thing to let other males on campus know that this is a problem and that there's some place where they can talk to (people) and can get information about it," Okojie said.

UH isn't the only institution that features a branch of One in Four. The College of William & Mary also hosts a One in Four group. 

According to the group's Web site for The College of William & Mary, the name of the program comes from a study that found that one in four college women have survived rape or a rape attempt. 

The site says men communicating on the issue with other men can help women recover from rape.

The group wants men to be portrayed in a positive light, not as perpetrators of sexual crimes against women.

"It's like 95 percent of the people who are perpetrators of rape are male, so statistically it is the fact," Gaylyn Maurer, outreach director at the UH Wellness Center, said. 

"Now the program's approach is not as it said to say, ‘You're a potential rapist, don't do that,'" he said. 

"What they do is they build up empathy so that the men can understand … what it might be to like be a victim of rape and how horrible that is; and how men can help that, help women who been though rape, and then help prevent it also." 

When asked what men do to help women overcome this and why it's not shown in the media, Okojie said he has no doubt that there are a majority of men around who do want to help.

"The media, you know, they have their alterative motives of why they put out what they put out," Ojokie said. 

"But I think if you ask the average guy, and certainly the people on campus, they would want to help a victim of rape," he said.

For more information about the One in Four program, call (713) 743-5430.

Send comments to dcnews@mail.uh.edu

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