Apr 132011
Authors: Kari Pills

Men who speak up for women and advocate for sexual assault awareness are often worried about the backlash they could receive and that other men will question their sexuality, according to Byron Hurt.

After making a documentary about hip-hop culture, entitled “Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes,” Hurt became aware of the cases of sexual assault that occur every day in settings where men feel dominant.

“This affects women all over the world,” Hurt said.

Hurt, a keynote speaker and self-proclaimed anti-sexist activist, addressed this issue and others to about 50 people in the Behavioral Sciences building.

Hurt was brought in to give the keynote speech for Sexual Assault Awareness Month, an event sponsored by the Women and Gender Advocacy Center. This is the second year CSU has recognized Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

“[I came] to broaden my knowledge about sexual assault,” said freshman ethnic studies major, Dan Huddleston. “[I found out about this event] from my college, ethnic studies.”

Hurt, who usually speaks to men, spoke about the concern that many men have when they speak up about women’s advocacy.

“When you are a man who speaks out for women, you have to be prepared to be questioned,” Hurt said.

He also said that while making his documentary, he experienced men who questioned his racial solidarity when he spoke up for women as a pro-active bystander.

“As a male, it was a big eye-opener. It’s unfortunate that women have to [be so cautious] every day,” Huddleston said.

Hurt also conducted an exercise that compared what men and women do to protect themselves from rape and sexual assault. The result of this exercise proved that men don’t think about protecting themselves as much as women do.

“I’ve never heard anything from this point of view. It opened my eyes,” freshman restaurant and resort management major Francesca Romano said.

Hurt also emphasized how, although his documentary was on “over-sexed” aspects within the hip-hop African American culture, that it was not an issue that is exclusive to African Americans.

“We have to acknowledge that this happens outside of hip-hop culture,” Hurt said.

Staff writer Kari Pills can be reached at news@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 5:31 pm

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