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Campus Celebrity: Male Athletes Against Violence

  
Male Athletes Against Violence (MAAV) is one of the most influential projects here at the University of Maine and is made up of male athletes from various sports teams. The mission of MAAV, according to Spencer Wood, is to “[create] awareness and [teach] others that domestic violence and violence in general are men’s issues” while they strive to break the “stereotype that male athletes are generally the violent men”.
           
The guys do a lot within our community as well as outside it at local schools. Wood went on to explain that they hold weekly presentations and workshops in the dorms and around campus, as well as read and perform skits at local schools and in classes right here on campus.
 
One of the most popular events on campus that MAAV sponsors is the White Ribbon Campaign. This is a week – long campaign that involves the distribution of white ribbons to men on campus. By wearing the white ribbon, you are pledging to “never commit, condone nor remain silent about violence against women”. This week is for men to visibly show the Black Bear community that they are against
the issues of rape, domestic violence, and sexual abuse.
 

MAAV has even attracted national attention and is unique in it’s approach – using male athletes to relay the message that “tough guys can stand tough against violence”, says Dr. Sandra Caron, professor of Family Relations and Human Sexuality and founder of Male Athletes Against Violence at UMaine.

 
One of the greatest things about these guys and their project is that they truly believe in and really put their all into MAAV. The group has even had an influence on the members, as Theo Andersson told me, although he is not in MAAV this semester, he still feels as if he is apart of the program, “I’m very proud of being a MAAV member!”

Wood shared that it “feels great to help influence and lead our youth away from violence and possibly prevent those I speak to from [committing acts of] violence. I’ve been able to educate myself a great deal on these issues and now feel empowered to help and speak for victims of domestic violence”.
 
These are only two of the influential men making a difference within our community, there are many more that make up MAAV. And don’t be afraid to approach them either says Spencer Wood –  “People shouldn’t be nervous to come up and talk to any of us, about anything. We’re [all talkative, friendly] guys, trying to make a difference in anyway we can”.
 
You can find the guys of MAAV right in the Union every Wednesday, handing out free cookies and talking to fellow Black Bears about domestic violence.
 
And make sure to check out and “Like” their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Male-Athletes-Against-Violence/136400763075703!
 
 
 
 
Sources: Facebook, Dr. Sandy Caron, Spencer Wood, Theo Andersson, http://umaine.edu/maav/
 

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