My Perspective

Hi, I’m Joe Weinberg. I am a pioneering rape prevention speaker, trainer and author/educator. For the past thirty years, I have been teaching boys and men empathy and sexual ethics by helping them understand and personally define sexual assault. In over 3,700 workshops, speeches and trainings, many in such hyper-masculine places as locker rooms, fraternities, prisons, the United States Air Force Academy, the United States Navy, I have developed radically simple, “life-affirming” techniques that invite unlearning of the rape/abusive masculinity process.   I am an author, an activist, a mask-maker/collector, and long-time member of Men Stopping Rape, Inc. based in Madison.   Now I’m telling men’s secrets. To men and anyone who wants to understand men better.  
  1.  We all have grown up in a rape culture, one in which many people have internalized victim-blaming, collusive, placating behaviors.
  2.  Most adults have not spoken to their children or children in their charge about sex, power, love, forming/maintaining long-term relationships including marriage.
  3.  Most of what boys know they either learned directly from adult role models. The rest of what boys know was learned from peers in an “ethical vacuum” created by adults in their lives who did not take responsibility for providing moral leadership.
  4.  Each and every male in your community needs to hear this material. Even the most resistant participants are internalizing our prevention information.
  5.  Most males have never heard a man talk as I do. They don’t capitulate to me simply because I am a man. It is important for males to hear a man talk about these issues, because few of them can recall any man who talked to them about sexuality, power and sexual assault, caring enough about them to spend time responding to their sometimesexasperating questions
  6. Most males have never heard a woman speak out about sexual assault. There is an undeniable power (and novelty) for males to hear a caring man speak, but female educators are not second-best. Most effective prevention education has been and continues to be facilitated by women. It doesn’t require a penis to be an effective educator of males.
  7. Rape/sexual assault, generally speaking, has not been seen as an important problem. Rape/sexual assault of females was discounted and was presented to girls and boys as an almost inevitable “fact of life” for females. Prevention focused on changing female (“victim”) behavior. Confronting and changing perpetrator behavior is a new idea.
  8. A new standard that reflects the feelings of survivors of rape/sexual assault: If someone feels assaulted, they have been assaulted. After the fact is too late to ascertain the feelings, boundaries or level of comfort of potential partner. My perception or intention does not really matter to the recipient of my “attentions,” or victim of my harassing behavior, or victim of my forced sex. Whether one assaults out of ignorance rather than out of malice, is probably no consolation to the victim.
  9. Sex and sexual assault are similar, in fact identical, for many students.
  10. Until recently, boys were not talked to about rape/sexual assault, as potential victims or as potential perpetrators. For over two thousand years, rape/sexual assault of males was non-existent in law.
  11. Socialization of Boys
    • Violence used arbitrarily and casually by males to control males and assure compliance.
    • Boys are left alone at the mercy of other boys and men.
    • Most boys grow up emotionally neglected by adult males.
    • Boys are forced into out-moded gender role conformity.
    • “Real Man” is an impossible model to emulate.
    • Many institutions have been created as “surrogate parents” (sporting leagues, boy scouts, boot camps, military, juvenile prisons, fraternities, high schools, etc.)
    • Emotional neglect and rape/sexual assault thrive in these environments.
  12. If we educators open ourselves to hear how immediate in most students’ lives these “issues” are, we might learn from students what they need from us.
You’ve never heard a man talk this way. You’ve never heard anyone talk this way.