Men Against Sexual Assault group formed

Issue 

Men Against Sexual Assault group formed

By Brad Adamson

BRISBANE — A branch of Men Against Sexual Assault has formed here and will be holding a rally and march through the city streets on May 11.

MASA held its first rally in Melbourne in 1990, and now has branches in Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane. The broad aim is to encourage men of all backgrounds to begin taking responsibility for, and action against, the assault of women and children. A national day of action is planned for Fathers Day in September.

MASA is the outcome of the realisation that sexual abuse will not end until men take on the task of changing their own ideas and the ideas of other men.

There is not a strong tradition of active men's movements to take cues from, and many men are thinking about the issue seriously for the first time. But MASA believes that action is an excellent consciousness raiser, and in Queensland hopes to become very active around the issues of funding for rape crisis centres, refuges and community education on issues relating to sexual assault, sexual harassment and sexism.

Sexual assault is an issue that the left can have a lot to say about, not least because examining the social basis of rape and sexual assault leads almost inevitably to radical conclusions.

Brisbane MASA member Adam Hughes says MASA can expect to be received by the left "very well I hope. The sexual abuse of one in four women before the age of 18 is an urgent issue. It's not a problem that can be left until after the revolution.

"Left-wing men often become exasperated with radical or separatist feminists, and accuse them of deliberate divisiveness or a lack of strategy. They don't think for one moment that it might be the left's inadequate commitment to addressing the issues of sexual assault, sexual harassment and plain old personal sexism which has contributed to the divisions.

"The left isn't monolithic of course, but many of the lessons of the '60s and '70s haven't been learnt yet."

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