Campus group fights sexual violence

By David Valdes

Sexual violence occurs on many college campuses and statistics show that men are usually the attackers. A group at the University called Men Against Sexual Violence (MASV) is fighting to spread awareness and stop such attacks.

Matt Rombach, senior in LAS and president of MASV, said the organization’s main focus is to spread awareness and attract more members to the group, which currently has about 10 members.

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“We’re trying to educate people on campus about sexual violence and trying to get people to get involved,” Rombach said.

Christine Varghese, freshman in LAS, said she gives MASV her full support.

“I advocate any group that brings awareness to the many problems facing college campuses today, including sexual violence,” Varghese said. “This group breaks gender roles. Therefore, it creates a bigger, more diverse group of advocates against sexual violence.”

Rombach said many of the organization’s members joined for personal reasons.

“We’ve known someone who’s been affected by this kind of violence, or we feel some kind of a spark that makes us feel like we need to be kind of involved and do something about this in some way,” he said.

Rombach said the organization’s name might mislead students in to thinking that there are only men in the group.

“The name is kind of confusing,” he said. “They think it’s only guys in the group. There are men and women in the group. The reason we call it MASV is because the focus is on men.”

Rombach said the group started six years ago during a “Take Back the Night March.” He said that while the women marched, the men discussed starting a student organization and created MASV.

MASV meets every week to plan upcoming events and think of other possible events. In the past, MASV has organized benefit concerts, a Valentine’s Day cookie sale and an annual swing dance to benefit rape crisis centers.

“If we don’t have a big event coming up, we’re trying to figure out something to do on the Quad that following week, just so we’re always doing something,” Rombach said.

Rombach said he is concerned with spreading awareness of sexual violence issues as well as awareness of MASV. He said he hopes that more students will hear about the organization and become involved.

Kim Rice, a sexual health educator at McKinley Health Center, said she is encouraging of MASV as a student organization.

“As a sexual health educator for McKinley, I support students working toward ending sexual violence among other students,” she said.