Prominent expert on gender violence to speak at Marietta College

There is no shortage of statistics to be found illustrating how prevalent gender violence is in today’s society.

An upcoming lecturer will go beyond the numbers to talk about roles men and women can play to prevent those assaults from happening in the first place.

Dr. Jackson Katz has taught high school and college students, professional athletes and members of the U.S. Armed Forces about sexual and domestic violence prevention. He will speak to campus at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 29, in Fenton Court, during a special lecture sponsored by Marietta College’s Department of Athletics and a three-year, $300,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.

The event is free and open to the campus and the community.

Katz is a renowned author, educator, filmmaker and social theorist. He co-founded the Mentors in Violence Prevention program at Northeastern University’s Center for the Study of Sport in Society. According to his biography, the program, which Katz helped to develop, “was one of the first programs to use a ‘bystander’ model for gender violence prevention.” He also leads the first international gender violence prevention program for the U.S. Marine Corps. He has lectured at more than 1,100 schools, colleges, conferences and military installations worldwide.

McCoy Professor of Psychology Dr. Mary Barnas, who is the director of the grant, organized Katz’s visit to campus. “I was familiar with his work through teaching,” Barnas said. “He focuses on men and what men can do to prevent sexual assault.”

Katz is the author of The Macho Paradox: Why Some Men Hurt Women and How All Men Can Help. Barnas said Katz’s work illustrates how important self and peer monitoring is to preventing an environment that encourages violence against women. He is the first man at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst to earn a minor in Women’s Studies. He also holds a graduate degree from Harvard Graduate School of Education and a doctoral in Cultural Studies and Education from UCLA.

Larry Hiser, Director of Athletics at Marietta, said every varsity athlete is required to attend the lecture. “Every year, the NCAA distributes funding through each (athletic) conference for educational programming,” Hiser said. “Diversity is this year’s theme.”

Barnas approached Hiser with the idea of bringing Katz to campus to see if his office could assist with funding the visit. With the commissioner of the Ohio Athletic Conference on board, Hiser was able to use a portion of the NCAA funding to help.

“It was good timing,” Hiser said. “It was something we were going to do anyhow and, because it’s a collaborative effort, the College is able to bring a very well-known speaker to campus.”

Violence prevention is a valuable educational tool that the college can provide students, Hiser said.

In addition to being mandatory for all athletes to attend, about 300 fraternity and sorority members on campus are also required to participate.

“I felt it was important for all students, men and women, to hear what Dr. Katz has to say,” said Jacob Tidwell, Assistant Director of Student Activities and Greek Life. “Our Greek members are influential leaders on and off campus, so I want to be sure they take advantage of any educational opportunity offered by the Office of Student Life or our partners throughout campus. Some people may not view sexual assault as a prevalent issue at Marietta College, but I want to be sure our students are equipped with the knowledge and understanding in case they encounter a situation with a friend, family member, or in a bystander situation. I felt it was important to do all that I could to influence the student population that I interact most with, namely our eight fraternities and sororities.”