This month, “Be That Guy,” a behavioral marketing campaign that stresses sex without consent is sexual assault, in partnership with the global human rights organization, Breakthrough, launched a Green Bay clip opposing violence against women that will run throughout the NFL season. It confronts the weird gender roles and issues that men face everyday, namely to confront men who are harassing women and tell them to knock it off! We all know being a bystander and letting harassment happen can and often will perpetuate further violence towards women. This movement and the campaign are working to raise awareness by telling men to confront violence when they see it—to “Be That Guy” and stop hateful behavior in its tracks.
The stereotype that men should be violent and macho or follow any predetermined definition of masculinity needs to be dismantled. On average, more than three women are murdered by their partners everyday according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report. Murdered! And it starts with the belief that catcalling and public harassment is acceptable behavior. In the U.S. 83% of girls 12-16 years old have experienced some form of sexual harassment in public schools. This needs to stop.
The issue isn’t that all men are violent, or abusers, but that the ones who are, are not being stopped. Men are too frequently silent regarding these types of altercations, perhaps for fear of confronting unacceptable behavior. Interviewers found that, “…at the Tyngsboro hockey rink an hour north of the Boston area…several who watched the video said they’d worry that if they stepped into something that wasn’t their business it would escalate into a fight.” The hope is that with the ad running in sports arenas, it will allow more open conversations and promote bystander intervention.
This campaign comes only months after the NFL player Ray Rice was caught knocking out his wife on an elevator camera. Afterwards, the NFL received serious criticism for its initial response of only a two game suspension. Rice’s contract was then terminated in September after fans declared that the league was simply brushing off the attack. These videos will hopefully spark change, realizations, and remind everyone to continue to fight back against violence towards women. “Be That Guy” is a step in the right direction, and I hope it brings enough awareness to the issue, and that men stop their silence.
Check out the video below, and tell us what you think in the comments!