Jackson Katz is looking for more than a few good men.
Katz, director of the U.S. Marine Corps' gender-violence prevention program, said Monday in Lawrence that the country needs to develop a peer culture that empowers millions of American men to speak out when violence invades their circle of family or friends.
"There has been an appalling absence of male leadership on these issues," Katz said. "Our silence is a form of consent and complicity in abusive behavior."
"If we want to be honest ... we need to start telling it like it is."
All Kansas University student-athletes and coaches were required to attend his speech at the Lied Center on KU's campus.
Katz also met with KU faculty and administrators to discuss mechanisms for educating men on campus about issues related to masculinity and sexual violence.
Katz is founder of MVP Strategies, an organization specializing in gender violence prevention education and training for men and boys. Mentors in Violence Prevention was started at Northwestern University in 1993. His gender-violence program with the Marines began in 1996.
During the past year, MVP staff have been counseling coaches and teachers at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., on violence prevention.
Katz said prevention programs that focused on men and boys as perpetrators and women and girls as victims were flawed. Advice typically centers on how females can avoid trouble, he said.
Men and boys who are not abusive tend to tune out the message. The irony is these are precisely the people who should be inspired to deal directly with peers engaging in abusive behavior, he said.
"Good guys need to be speaking up."