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Student club seeks end to sexual violence

| Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Notre Dame’s Men Against Violence (MAV) launches its annual Pledge Drive today between 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. in Notre Dame’s dining halls.

The Pledge Drive will collect the signatures of men willing to take an active stance against sexual assault and raises general awareness about violence of this nature on campus. The signatures will be published in a later issue of The Observer.

According to MAV’s website, the public must stop pigeonholing rape and sexual assault because every woman out there is a sister, daughter or mother to another person and therefore violence against women victimizes not only a gender, but also the wider community.

“I see the Pledge Drive as a way to bring together the entire student body in a really simple way,” MAV President Thomas Deranek said. “It reminds each student that sexual violence is an important issue that they are willing to stand against.”

MAV pledgeSusan Zhu | The Observer

Deranek said the Drive is vital to MAV’s ultimate goal: to witness an end to sexual assault and domestic violence.

“I want us to be widely seen as a group that is unafraid to start and to participate in the conversation of why sexual violence is still a problem at Notre Dame and what we can do [to] solve this problem,” Deranek said.

According to MAV’s website, the club’s creation was rooted in the belief that men should act as positive role models for other men and take responsibility to help end sexual violence against women.

“We believe that, as men, we should take pride in our masculinity and responsibility for our actions,” MAV Treasurer Derek Kuns said. “MAV was founded a number of years ago in the hope of freeing our campus of all sexual violence, and that is still the goal we are striving for today.”

Derenek said the Pledge Drive promotes awareness of and opposition to all sexual violence against women and is available for all men to sign.

“I remember that the only takeaway most of my friends got from Frosh-O in regards to sexual violence was that every male is a potential rapist,” Kuns said. “We shouldn’t think this way; rather, we should think that as men we can do a lot to prevent sexual violence just by taking pride in our actions and policing ourselves and our friends.”

Kuns said men must take a position of responsibility because they are too often the perpetrators of sexually violent crimes. 

The pledge states that “real men care.”

“We appreciate that everyone is busy, but in less than a minute, the Pledge can remind Notre Dame’s sons what it really means to be a man,” Kuns said.

Aside from giving names to men’s faces that stand against sexual violence, Deranek believes the Pledge Drive comes with even more benefits.

“Most importantly, the Pledge Drive reminds everyone that it is something that all of us students stand against together, providing us with a sense of unity for a great cause,” Derenek said.

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About Selena Ponio

Selena Ponio is from Dallas, Texas and is currently a senior at the University of Notre Dame. She is the Associate News Editor for The Observer. Selena lives in Breen-Phillips hall and is majoring in International Economics with a concentration in Spanish and is minoring in Journalism, Ethics & Democracy.

Contact Selena