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Consortium Offering Sexual Assault Awareness Month Observance Events

Contact: Carey Nason, 581-2515; George Manlove, 581-3756

ORONO — The Safe Campus Project and the Women’s Resource Center at UMaine, along with a consortium of other departments on campus, are partnering with the Penobscot Job Corps to host national speaker Tony Porter for a day-long event on April 10.

Porter is co-founder of the national organization A Call to Men, which advocates a community approach to addressing issues of violence and working with men to become proactive in efforts to end violence toward women and sexism. Much of Porter’s work addresses the role of what he calls “well-meaning men,” who neither commit nor condone violence, but fail to do all they can to serve as women’s allies.

Porter’s appearance, in addition to three films — on March 19, March 25 and April 2 — and a theater performance March 26 are offered as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April.

On Thursday, April 10 Porter will appear at the Penobscot Job Corps Center at 1375 Union St. in Bangor from 8:30-11:30 a.m., where he will make a free, open community presentation and meet for an hour with a leadership group. In the afternoon, he will meet with invited campus and community leaders at UMaine. Porter will deliver a free public lecture at 7 p.m. Thursday in Room 100 of the UMaine D.P. Corbett Building. Maine Attorney General Steven Rowe will join program organizers for the day’s events.

On Saturday, April 12, Porter is scheduled to work with high school and college-age students for “A Call to Young Men Conference” at UMaine. The conference is 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in 101 Neville Hall, and is sponsored by the Maine Attorney General’s Office, the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault and the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence. Attorney General Rowe also will speak at the Saturday conference. For registration information for the Call to Young Men conference, please contact Nicky Blanchard at the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence at 941-1194 or by email at nicky@mcedv.org.

A Call to Men (www.acalltomen.org) is a men’s organization engaged in a nationwide campaign advocating an end to violence against women and helping men redefine the meaning of manhood through personal development and a better awareness of sexual assault and abuse of women. Tony Porter’s visit is also sponsored by the Cultural Affairs/Distinguished Lecture Series, University of Maine System Office and University of Maine Division of Student Affairs and Division of Lifelong Learning.

Carey Nason of Safe Campus Project calls Porter a dynamic speaker with a message that resonates.

“He has a practical way of addressing issues and engaging people about ways they can be proactive in their own lives, and how they can take a proactive stand to promote safety and prevent violence against women,” she says. “He makes a great presentation, with ideas to keep the message alive.”

Leading up to Porter’s appearances will be three provocative films that analyze some of the messaging the public receives through the media. “Oh Baby, Baby: How the Media Teaches Us to be Men and Women” is the title of the film series, organized by Hardy Girls, Healthy Women advocacy organization in Waterville.

Nason says the groups supporting Porter appearance and the films want to raise awareness of the media images that can and do influence men’s and women’s self-perceptions and behavior, often in negative ways.

“We’ll be discussing how the media portrays men and women and asking what are the impacts?” Nason says. “This is about media literacy and the fact that we’re bombarded with so many messages. This is about what it means to be a real man and a real woman, and what if we’re not all like that?”

In addition to the Safe Campus Project, Women’s Resource Center and Penobscot Job Corps, other sponsoring organizations of the films include the Boys to Men of Portland, and UMaine’s Male Athletes Against Violence, Students for a Safe Campus and the Student Women’s Association.

The films are: on March 19, “Slim Hopes” and “What a Girl Wants”; on March 25, “Tough Guise: Violence, Media & the Crisis in Masculinity”; and on April 2, “Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes,” all showing at 7 p.m. in Room 101, Neville Hall.

Also, another event sponsored by the Safe Campus Project in recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month is a Readers’ Theater performance of “It’s Not That Simple,” mixed genre performance piece built around the subject of abuse, with dance, poetry and dramatic scenes, on Tuesday, March 26, at 7:30 p.m. in Minsky Recital Hall, Class of 1944 Hall. Donations will benefit Rape Response Services and Spruce Run in Bangor.

For information about the programs, the Safe Campus Project can be reached at (207) 581-2515.

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