There are many people in our community working to create positive change to end sexual violence. We want to feature as many of them as possible. If you would like to submit a recommendation, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
More men are needed to join the movement against sexual violence and honestly I feel it is our fight first and foremost. We carry on the ideas that boys are just boys and what happens to women is their fault. We need to change our mindsets to help those in need.
– Tercel Harris
1. What is your relationship with STAR?
I joined STAR as an intern in their Capital Area branch back in August 2014. After my internship ended, I continued an active role with STAR as a volunteer hotline advocate.
2. What led you to your work in sexual assault prevention and/or response?
A number of close female friends in my life are survivors of some form of sexual violence. The stories they told me made me feel angry and also powerless because I didn’t know what to do to help, or what to say to make it better. It was then that I knew I had to take a stand against sexual violence and the rape culture that makes those sort of actions seem okay.
I came to realize that men need to rise up and challenge rape culture, not condone locker room talk. We as men need to take a more proactive role to address this issue.
3. What do you find most rewarding about your involvement in this work?
The most rewarding aspect is knowing that I am actually making a difference in lives of those that have been hurt before. Through the hotline, I can provide hope to those that feel hopeless and be a resource to survivors that feel no one is there to listen to them. It is also rewarding to hear about the role STAR has played in the lives of survivors when I table for STAR in the community.
4. What motivates you to keep going when things get difficult or discouraging?
Now that I know what to say and do to help, talking to friends is my motivation because of the impact I have had on their lives. They can finally open up about the trauma and handle it in a healthier way. Another reason I don’t lose focus and push on to make a differences is because a person very close to me was a victim of sexual violence at a young age. So in the back of my mind, I always think about that when times get difficult. I know that I can’t give up because there is so much left to do.
5. What are some simple, day-to-day ways you promote positive change in your community?
I promote positive change in my daily life by educating others on the issue of sexual violence. Being a man, I point out the offensive ways my male friends make jokes or do anything else that promotes negative views and rape culture. I also try to bring the issue into my school life by joining organizations that stand with the movement and educating my fraternity about the issues so it starts a trend for other chapters around the world to join the movement.
6. What advice would you give to someone who is hesitant about becoming an active member of this movement?
My advice to men is to stand for something or fall for anything. More men are needed to join the movement against sexual violence and honestly I feel it is our fight first and foremost. We carry on the ideas that boys are just boys and what happens to women is their fault. We need to change our mindsets to help those in need.
If men out there don’t want to do it for others, at least do it for your loved ones that may be affected by sexual violence. I couldn’t live in a world where I condone the violence that is being done to someone else or my loved ones. Men, we are needed in this fight to challenge the men that create rape culture. Just doing simple things like educating other men is a step forward in the right direction.
Get involved and make change with STAR!