Billboards have gone up in Hartford, Waterbury and New Haven, promoting the Where Do You Stand? Connecticut campaign, a collaboration between Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence, Men Can Stop Rape and the Connecticut Department of Public Health. The Alliance partnered with Men Can Stop Rape to highlight the unique roles of men in preventing sexual assault during Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April. The billboards feature Connecticut men who identify as allies in the work to end sexual violence.
Since launching the campaign in 2013, over 3,000 Connecticut men have attended Where Do You Stand? Connecticut bystander intervention trainings that create male-only spaces for discussion about masculinity and bystander intervention and equip men with the tools to take a stand against all form of sexual violence. Preparing men to take action when it is needed is a critical link in ending sexual violence in our communities.
During the training, men from all corners of the state are brought together to discuss the particular challenges of being a male ally in the fight to end sexual violence. They also discuss attitudes and actions that contribute to rape culture and what they can do to counter them in their daily lives.
The billboards, which will be in rotation along I-84 and I-91 through May 5, feature three Connecticut men with the message: Sexual violence is preventable. You can be part of the solution. The men are also featured in a new poster series, each with a quote:
“It is all of our responsibility to prevent sexual violence, and we each have an important role to play,” says Connecticut State Representative Gregg Haddad, who represents the Mansfield area and has long been a supporter of the Where Do You Stand? Connecticut campaign.
“I work in the field of sexual violence prevention because I believe that as a man I can be better than the culture I’ve witnessed,” said Dylan Figueiredo, victim advocate at Safe Haven of Greater Waterbury.
“It is possible to prevent sexual violence, and I want to be a part of the solution,” said Marcus Johnson, a student at Northwestern Connecticut Community College.
“This campaign focuses on empowering men to recognize the unique opportunity that men have to use their voice and influence to prevent sexual violence and create real change in their communities,” said Beth Hamilton, Associate Director of The Alliance, “We hope that the new billboards will engage men who have not previously been involved in prevention efforts in the past.”
The Alliance continues to convene self-identified men for discussions about healthy masculinity and effective tools for combating sexual assault. The next Where Do You Stand? Connecticut Bystander Intervention Training is scheduled for Tuesday, May 23rd from 5:30-7:30 pm at The Alliance Training and Advocacy Center, 98 Pitkin Street, East Hartford, Connecticut.
This training is free. Men interested in participating can register here.