Saturday, December 1, 2018

Day 4: Men Talk Consent at Madras School of Social Work

As part of the 2018 Prajnya 16 days Campaign against Gender Violence, we organised a Men Talk Consent at Madras School of Social Work. It was a session planned for men only conversation and was facilitated by Mr. Sandhiyan, our go-to resource person for Men Talk Consent.

Jackson Katz, a cultural theorist, says, "We talk about how many women were raped last year not about how many men raped women".  We always discuss violence against women as a women's issue but what we fail to acknowledge is that it is a men's issue as well. And that is the idea behind the Men Talk Consent. We want men to be a part of this conversation as well.

Mr Sandhiyan facilitating a discussion with the students
On the 28th November, around 20 students from MSSW participated in this 2-hour long session which started with an icebreaker followed by an open discussion on the impacts of gender, masculinity norms, roles and stereotypes and more. The session ended with the boys forming groups to design a poster to showcase their understanding of consent.

Mr. Sandhiyan at the end of the session said, "This is only the beginning. It was an eye-opener session for many students, who didn't think of consent this way. At the end of the session, they were able to acknowledge the pressure the society and the peers put on them in terms of acceptable male behaviour and sex. Many of the posters created were about what they think about consent and it gives us an insight into their thinking. But, this is just the beginning. We need to do follow-ups to facilitate a deeper understanding of the issues related to consent and violence against women. More such discussions have to be organised to raise gender-sensitive men".

The students preparing posters 
One of the posters designed by the students to show their understanding of consent

On behalf of Prajnya, I thank Mr. Sandhiyan Thilagavathy for facilitating this session.

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