Josh Jasper never anticipated the fervent and hateful backlash in reaction to his anti-sexual assault commercial. In an article with the Des Moines Register, Jasper, the CEO of the Riverview Center, reported that the backlash from the commercial involved hateful attacks against him and threats on his life. The Riverview Center is a nonprofit agency that provides services to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.
Jasper had this to say about the negative responses, “I appreciate and respect when people have differing viewpoints. But for individuals to take it to a personal level and threaten my life, that’s taking it too far. I probably do focus my attention on redefining masculinity rather than femininity because the vast majority of violence perpetrated in society is done by men,” he said. “But an important distinction is that a vast majority of men aren’t violent. It’s a very small group of men. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough men and boys who are speaking up saying, ‘This isn’t OK.’” You can also find a more in-depth discussion of the situation from this article in The Examiner.
Today the Iowa Men’s Action Network (MAN), published the following press release supporting Jasper’s work and encouraging continued work to raise awareness and provide services to victims of sexual assault.
In Support of the Riverview Center’s Print Ad and Video Commercial
Des Moines, IA, February 8th, 2011-The Iowa Men’s Action Network (Iowa MAN) fully supports the prevention and victim service programming offered through the Riverview Center and its CEO, Josh Jasper, in Dubuque, Iowa. Recently, a commercial video and print ad on the importance of preventing rape and sexual abuse prompted some men and women across the country and internationally to become outraged. The video in question may have been taken the wrong way by some, but this should not detract from the fact that rape is far too common in our communities and that the mission and purpose here is to eliminate it.
Sexual abuse and domestic violence are criminal acts that we have failed to eliminate thus far – locally, nationally, and globally. One in 6 women and one in 33 men will have experienced sexual abuse in their lifetime. These survivors do not experience violence in isolation. It impacts their family, their friends, and their co-workers. Because we all have people in our lives affected by this violence, it is imperative that we continue to discuss sexual assault and the culture that supports it rather than shutting down conversation with name calling and threats.
Iowa MAN is a volunteer initiative of the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Iowa MAN is a network of men from across the state of Iowa who are passionate about ending violence. We work to inspire all men of Iowa to partner with women to promote healthy and respectful relationships in their homes, neighborhoods, and the community, to model peaceful and respectful behaviors with each other, and to empower our youth with similar tools and skills necessary to live and expect a lifestyle free from abuse. For more information please contact Alan Heisterkamp, Iowa MAN chair 605-232-9929