2 and a half years ago a group of ASU men heard the startling statistic that 1 in 4 women will experience completed or attempted sexual assault by the time they graduate college. This fact along with their experience of seeing how women are treated at ASU prompted them to create a culture where men respect women. Shortly after, a group of women noticed the impact these men were having on the campus and formed the club WoW Factor to come alongside Man Up. In 2013 both clubs came together to form The Respect Movement to combat the issue of sexual assault by building a culture of respect between men and women. The issue of sexual assault is not unique to just ASU. This is an epidemic on campuses all across the nation affecting thousands of lives in a very destructive way. I truly believe that the issue of sexual assault is this generation's civil rights issue, but I am excited because the solution has started right here at ASU. The Respect Movement is not trying to address every symptom of the culture of disrespect. We boiled down the culture of disrespect to arguably the most tangible and visible symptom which is the epidemic of sexual assault on our campus. Our response is to create a safe place, which is a culture of respect on how men and women relate, and it is based on timeless transcendent truths and core values. The problem of sexual assault exists because there is a culture of disrespect; it is between how men and women relate, and that's fed by what men believe about themselves and women, and what women believe about themselves and men. Very few cultural messages are saying that a man is someone who takes responsibility, rejects passivity, leads courageously, and initiates respect - which we define respect as putting others needs above our own. If we can get men believing different about who they are and what they value, their attitudes will change, followed by behavior - meanwhile they have people walking this out next to them modeling the right behavior ultimately experiencing real character change. It is also counter cultural to say that a woman is someone who takes responsibility, rejects devaluing messages, declares the worth of others, and influences through respect. If men and women are both going after those things, they will build healthy relationships and the issue of sexual assault will start to chip away. It has to be both going towards core values that challenge and change character. Because if positive character change happens we will see positive culture change. Our main goal is to build a culture of respect and end sexual assault. But you can't build a culture without leaders. Yes, this movement is seeking relationship with every student, but in order to change the culture and prevent crisis from happening, we have to not only build a hospital at the bottom, but a fence at the top. How we do that is by investing our mentorship into what we have identified as the leaders on both the High School and College campuses. That is, athletes on the high school campuses and Greek life on college campuses. We seek to train leaders to become relational mentors through life on life mentorship and modeling of the right behavior based on core values.
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