MyStrength Campaign and Clubs

MyStrength The YWCA of Silicon Valley Rape Crisis Department has launched MyStrength Clubs on the campuses of Oak Grove and Andrew Hill High Schools. These clubs are an extension of the positive relationship the YWCA and the two high schools have shared while collaborating to educate high school students about sexual violence awareness and prevention.

MyStrength empowers young men to stand up and speak out as allies against sexual violence. The club provides a safe environment for young men to discuss and examine negative stereotypes of masculinity and the connection to violence against women.

By offering a message that is male-positive, non-violent, and that challenges traditional masculinity roles, it is our goal to build a community that promotes "strength of character" rather than strength for intimidation, force, or violence. We believe that prevention education is the first step in ending rape. With guidance and support young men can play an active role in the movement to end sexual violence.

Club activities include presenting young men with ambiguous situations to learn more about modeling healthy choices in their daily lives. The club reinforces the message that “My Strength is not for hurting,” while providing a supportive environment for young men to identify their own meaning of what it means to “Be a Man.” The members of the MyStrength Club develop skills to become agents of change in their peer communities.

The MyStrength Campaign was developed by Men Can Stop Rape, a nonprofit organization in Washington DC. The campaign revolves around the theme "My Strength is Not for Hurting" and encourages young men to take action to end sexual violence through the use of workshops and presentations utilizing tools such as posters, PSAs, banners, and other merchandise. With funding from the California Department of Health and Human Services, our statewide coalition, The California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA), developed a partnership with Men Can Stop Rape to bring the campaign to California where it is being successfully implemented by many rape crisis centers throughout the state. For more information, please go to mystrength.org or mifuerza.org, Copyright © 2005 Men Can Stop Rape, Inc.

Additionally, Our Strength Clubs have been added at Oak Grove and Andrew Hill for coeds to explore healthy relationships and boundaries through positive self awareness. In a safe place, discussions and exercises help them connect to their inner selves, to one another, and to the larger community. Exploring complex issues will strengthen assertiveness and communication and give girls the empowering tools needed to enhance and protect their lives.