By David Lee on August 10, 2009 · tagged as , , ,

"My Strength is Not for Hurting" Posters

Since 2005, CALCASA has conducted the MyStrength Campaign adapted from Men Can Stop Rape‘s media and Men of Strength Clubs.  This social marketing campaign seeks to engage young men to stand up and speak out against sexual violence.  In a recent article appearing in the journal Men and Masculinities, Michael Murphy critiques the posters from the campaign. This article is not an actual study but is an essay analyzing the content of the posters. While I agree that the posters do raise some issues (as do all images in our culture) I strongly believe these posters are very effective tools for prevention of sexual violence.

The posters are used in CALCASA’s implementation of the MyStrength Campaign. the posters are professionally designed and very intentional in their construction.  We used focus groups to test messages and images with our primary audience in a variety of setting and languages.

Most importantly, the campaign is not only the posters. Instead the posters invite a valuable conversation. Actual change does not come from viewing posters; changes in social norms and behavior will come from the discussion that results from viewing the posters. To be am effective campaign, CALCASA, in partnership with Men Can Stop Rape, developed a comprehensive set of activities including MyStrength Clubs, launch events and community action projects.

In California we have created a space to explore the issues raised in the posters. In our interactions with young people, we explore issues raised by these posters.  Ultimately, I judge these materials by how they support an effort to prevent sexual violence.

Here is the abstract of the article.  Men Can Stop Rape has written a response to this article.

Can “Men” Stop Rape? Visualizing Gender in the “My Strength is Not for Hurting” Rape Prevention Campaign

Michael J. Murphy [email protected] Men and Masculinities 2009, ePublished February 19, 2009

The study analyzes the “My Strength is Not for Hurting” rape prevention public media campaign through the lens of feminist visual culture studies, arguing that the campaign sends contradictory and confusing messages to boys and men about rape and sexual assault. It also touches on the implications of the campaign’s appropriation of a commercial advertising aesthetic; the tendency to objectify women and silence their voices; and complications resulting from efforts to include racial and sexual diversity.

doi:10.1177/1097184X09331752 http://jmm.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/1097184X09331752v1

David Lee

More Posts by David Lee

David S. Lee, MPH, is the Director of Prevention Services at the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault where he provides training and technical assistance on prevention. David manages the national project PreventConnect, an online community of violence against women prevention practitioners, funders, researchers and activists. For over 27 years David has worked in efforts to end domestic violence and sexual assault.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Anna Obregon July 9, 2010 at 12:42 pm

Congratulations Men. I am a survivor of childhood incest and gang rape as a woman who believes everything happens for a reason; you are definitely one of those reasons; rape is not a women’s issue but rather a violent crime that can happen to anyone. Programs like yours give me the strength and courage to speak out against sexual violence in partnership with men and boys. A. O. Florida

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