KEARNEY — The tragedy of domestic violence and sexual assault is not just a women’s issue — it happens to men, too.
Titled “Against His Will,” the event is scheduled for Thursday at 7 p.m. in Copeland Hall Room 142.
As part of Male Abuse Awareness Week, which runs through Monday, The Women’s Center and Interfraternity Council at the University of Nebraska at Kearney will bring speaker and sexual assault survivor James Landrith to campus Thursday as part of an event that aims to break down stereotypes and empower survivors.
“We wanted to bring him in to highlight that these kinds of things happen to men, too,” said Emily Fierstein, a graduate assistant at The Women’s Center. “People don’t realize that it can happen to anybody.”
Landrith said he believes his experience as a survivor of sexual assault has provided him with a voice to help others.
“It helps to hear from somebody who has endured it personally,” Landrith said in a phone interview from Washington, D.C.
At UNK, Landrith will discuss stereotypes of male sexual assault and victim shaming and blaming.
He also hopes to empower sexual assault survivors who may be in the audience.
“I’m trying to talk to the people who need encouragement and need more information,” Landrith said. “Sometimes, they just need to hear that they’re not alone.”
Landrith said male survivors of sexual assault often are shamed by others for not being able to prevent the assault or blamed for putting themselves in a position that led to the assault.
“The same people who are invalidating female survivors are also invalidating male survivors, they’re just using a different excuse to do it,” Landrith said. “These biases or ideas generally go unchallenged unless they can actually meet with somebody or hear from somebody firsthand.”
Landrith said that he speaks at three or four colleges each year on the topic of male sexual assault.
While he encouraged sexual assault survivors to attend Thursday, he cautioned those in attendance to think about their own self-care after the event because of feelings that may be triggered by the topic.
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