Men and women must work together

Without this grant it would be difficult for The Aurora Center to give so much.

It is unfortunate that Daniel Meyer wrote his Oct. 26 letter without first educating himself about The Aurora Center for Advocacy and Education or the issue of violence against women.

Meyer says “A lot of women who consider themselves feminists have said violence against women should not have a special categorization” and that “men are not always the aggressors (of violence), nor are women always the victims.”

First of all, just because someone is a feminist does not make him or her an expert on violence against women.

Furthermore, the phrase “violence against women” does not attempt to address all violence in society, but instead refers to a group of violent acts, for example, sexual assault and relationship violence, that are rooted in the same cultural norms and stereotypes resulting from our patriarchal society.

While it is true that men can be victims and women can be perpetrators, the reality is that the vast majority of these types of crimes are committed by men toward women.

To say that these crimes should not be recognized because they are not representative of all violent crimes is tantamount to saying that cancer should not be recognized as a disease because it is not representative of all illness.

It is only by addressing the root causes of violence that we can end it, and it is because not all violence has the same cause that we need to categorize types of violence and determine how acts derived from similar roots can be prevented.

I would also like to clarify that The Aurora Center certainly does serve both men and women.

In my work as an on-call advocate I have answered numerous calls from men.

Furthermore, Meyer discusses the negative implications that masculine stereotypes have on men without realizing that a big part of The Aurora Center’s educational program is to discuss how both male and female stereotypes have negative implications, specifically that male stereotypes often devalue men’s emotional capacities and make it difficult for them to acknowledge and receive help when they are victims of abuse.

Meyer is correct in saying “no one will benefit unless men and women can learn to work together.” This is exactly why The Aurora Center actively seeks out male volunteers, even opening filled volunteer trainings to men who want to participate.

We are lucky to have a place on campus where victims can receive free and confidential services. Without this federal grant it would be extremely difficult for The Aurora Center to give as much to campus as it has in the past, especially with regard to educational programs that address issues affecting men and women.

We are all affected by violence against women and we all benefit from federal money being used to help prevent it.

Erica Jacovetty is a University alumna and staff member, and an Aurora Center volunteer since 2002. Please send comments to [email protected]