Tomasz Walenta

Tomasz Walenta
Courtesy Dana Bernstein ’15

A new group of male students is working to show that power-based personal violence is more than a women’s issue — that “Princeton’s community of men does care.”

The group is called Men Against Violence Resources & Intervention Community (MAVRIC), a play on the term “maverick.” “It has this notion of men who are willing to stand up against hundreds, if not thousands, of years of social construction and messaging around what it means to be male and really challenge those things,” said Philip Hickey, prevention coordinator for the Sexual Harassment/Assault Advising, Resources & Education (SHARE) office.

Sam Lite ’14 said that taking part in a masculinity-discussion group during freshman year led to his interest in MAVRIC. “There’s a lot of well-deserved and definitely very necessary discussion around femininity and feminism and what it means to be a woman, both at Princeton and in society more broadly,” Lite said. “But I didn’t feel like an analogous forum existed for men.”

The mission of MAVRIC, which includes undergraduate and graduate students, is twofold. The first is to prevent power-based personal violence, which includes sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, and dating and domestic violence. The SHARE website estimates that each year, one in nine Princeton undergraduate men and women are victims of power-based personal violence. MAVRIC is still developing specific plans, but Hickey said initially it is working to raise awareness.

The second goal is to give male students an opportunity to discuss “what it means to be male — to discard those toxic notions of masculinity and embrace some really beautiful social-justice-focused ones,” Hickey said.

Brandon Holt ’15, president of SHARE, said he feels personally connected to the project. “I have very close friends who have been victims of power-based personal violence,” he said.

The project has received support from the community. “I think it’s a great initiative, and I think many students will appreciate the work that they do,” said Shawon Jackson ’15, Undergraduate Student Government president.

“As a woman, I want my community to be safe, not just for me, but for my friends,” said Jackie Cremos ’14, a SHARE peer adviser. “It’s important to show that everyone is invested in making this a safer place.”