Presentation: Reflections on women, men, sexual violence and #MeToo

(L-R) Police Commissioner Ian Stewart; Director, CJSDRC Professor Melissa Bull; Professor James W. Messerschmidt; Belinda Cox and Associate Professor Michael Flood

Last night QUT’s CJSDRC hosted two leading international scholars who reflected on the #MeToo movement and the promise and pitfalls of current efforts to end sexual violence, and the role of men in sexual violence prevention.

Distinguished University Professor of Sociology and Chair of the Criminology Department at the University of Southern Maine, USA, James W. Messerschmidt and our own Associate Professor Michael Flood drew on their experiences as scholars and activists in the gender violence field to lead a provocative workshop that asked,  What does #MeToo mean for men and women? How should men and women respond? What roles in particular can men play in building a community free of sexual violence and abuse? What does the research tell us is effective in engaging men in this work? More widely, what are the strengths and limitations of #MeToo as a way of organising against sexual violence?

Unsurprisingly this stimulated animated discussion between the presenters and the nearly 100 workshop participants who included practitioners who work with offenders and victims, legal advocates, police, academics, community members and white ribbon ambassadors. The workshop demonstrated that while #MeToo might not be the answer, it has simulated new and important conversations that could contribute to the prevention of a disturbingly prevalent and serious social problem.

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