SLEEC has always wanted to work with men.
There is often a clear separation between work with and by men, and work with and by survivors. This division is part of the reason, as a society, we fail to fully understand each other’s experiences.
As survivors of rape and male violence, we have always strongly believed there needs to be spaces where we are working in solidarity with men, to understand each other’s relationship to sexism, patriarchy, rape culture and male violence.
We had been building ideas for how to make this space possible for many years, finally curating our first online course for men, in 2021; Dismantling Male Violence and Rape Culture: A Survivor-Led Course For Men.
Holding a space where survivors of rape and male violence work with men, facilitate a learning space and build a new community is both powerful and vital in this work.
In our courses we hold discussions, learn and challenge each other from a place of compassion, trust, humility and openness, and where we can feel safe to be honest and vulnerable with each other. These are the kind of spaces we need more of.
Our course is shaped to give men the tools and knowledge to understand, unlearn and actively challenge rape culture, male violence and misogyny, while also creating a space to unpack their own internalised patriarchy and the impact of sexism on themselves.
We want it to be a place where men can ask difficult questions that they may not have felt comfortable asking elsewhere, to those who have direct lived-experience of rape and sexual violence. This kind of deep connection breaks down barriers that block real understanding of complex experiences.
We have continued to redevelop and run these courses over the past two years and early this year we delivered our first in-person course in Bristol. From the courses we have built a growing community of men who continue to hold conversations, learn and work alongside us.
This year we have started a monthly drop-in group as a physical space to continue these important conversations with men.
Our courses with men are something we are deeply proud of and we continue to be excited by how this shapes our work.
Research with men
Dismantling the roots of male violence and rape culture means understanding on a deep level why it exists.
It’s important to see different perspectives and experiences and hear from those that perpetrate harm, violence or uphold rape culture.
We need to be unafraid to explore things that are intrinsically linked such as power, privilege and entitlement. We need to discuss how different oppressions and experiences intersect.
SLEEC wants to conduct a body of research with men to understand why male violence is so prevalent, how we prevent it and how we manage collective accountability.
We had our first research discussion with men in 2022 where we focused on what community accountability and alternative justice could look like for those who caused harm.