Bowdoin Male Athletes Push Back Against Gender Violence

Video by Ryan Winn ’21. Winn, who plays on the Bowdoin men’s hockey team and is a member of BMASV, recently reached out to the group’s leaders to ask them to comment on the implications of the work they’re doing in light of the #MeToo movement.

Women’s groups at Bowdoin have long organized against sexual violence, going back at least 20 years. About a decade ago, a group of men decided to get on board, forming Bowdoin Men Against Sexual Violence, or BMASV (pronounced B-Massive). The club was founded by three student athletes, Kevin Mullins ’07, Zach Hammond ’07, and Dan Robinson ’07, who wanted to shift the culture and conversation around gender and violence.

Today, the work of BMASV — as well as the other student groups that address this issue — seems all the more important in light of the recent upswell of women’s personal testimonials and media coverage around issues of sexual harassment and abuse.

Up to now, BMASV’s leaders — all varsity male athletes — have mainly facilitated regular conversations among other athletes on men’s sports teams at Bowdoin. But recently, the group has been collaborating with the female-led group VSpace, which does similar work with women’s athletic teams. Together the groups are inviting other campus groups, such as club teams and college houses, to also engage in these dialogues.

“The conversations involve talking about masculinity, what it means to be a man, consent..and language — how certain language we use can be harmful and perpetuate certain ideals that we want to eradicate not only in our Bowdoin community, but in [the larger] community,” BMASV co-leader Peter Benson ’18 said.

“The work we are doing now is only setting up our future generation to being more aware,” BMASV co-leader Noah Nelson ’19 said.

Other student groups at Bowdoin working on the topic include The Sex Project, which promotes safer sex and healthy sexuality, the advocacy group Safe Space, BHeRe (Bowdoin Healthy Relationships) and fEMPOWER, which is responsible for the annual production of RISE).

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