Inspecting the respecting


The Men of Respect club holding out their wristbands alongside homecoming goers

Students throughout the school can be seen wearing wrist bands promoting Men of Respect club. In fact, when members of the club were handing out the white and blue “Consent is Hot, Assault is Not #DoMOR @wlmenofrespectclub” rubber bands, several students shoved to the front of the line to ensure that they would receive one. Despite the number of students promoting the club with their apparel, some are unsure about what the club actually stands for.

Men of Respect club was founded by seniors Matthew Hopper and Logan Ehrlich during their sophomore year. The founders were troubled by the startling number of people that have been the victims of assault and wanted to make as much of a difference in their community as possible.

“I had noticed that the school did educate all the students in health class about sexual harassment but I thought that the boys needed more insight on how to maintain a healthy relationship and remain respectful in all situations,” Hopper said. “We decided to cater our club to males because in close to 90% of sexual assault cases, males are the perpetrators. This doesn’t mean that females aren’t allowed to participate [in the club], we highly encourage anyone to become a member of our club.”

In fact, on October 22 of this year, the first ever females joined the club.

“I joined the Men of Respect club because I wanted to support my friends on a cause that is very important and impacts many teens around the community,” senior Donna Corinna said.

The club works to locally bring awareness to a national issue.

“With many celebrities and powerful figures being accused of sexual assault, the growing problem has to be addressed by young members of society,” Men of Respect states in their club bio.

Members were motivated to join because of the potential impact of the club.

“[I joined] to help spread awareness for an issue that has affected my loved ones as well as a large portion of the world,” senior Charlie Edwards said. “I felt that it was a topic that needed to be discussed more in the community.”

The club discusses subjects including bystander awareness, the importance of healthy relationships and consent. They plan events for both the organization and the school. For example, before Homecoming, members asked students to sign a “I pledge to be responsible and respectful at hoco [Homecoming]” poster. They have also teamed up with Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment (PAVE), a national, grassroots non-profit, to raise awareness at school sporting events.

“It was great to have the Men of Respect club come to our volleyball game and support us and this cause,” junior and varsity volleyball player Kate Sheire said. “It shows the great impact that young people can have and we were all very proud of the cooperation between the two organizations.”

Despite the good deeds the club seems to be accomplishing, people still do not have a clear understanding about its intentions.

“I don’t really know what the club does,” junior Abby Martinage said. “I think it has to do with preventing sexual assault, but I don’t know how they’re doing that.”

It is not uncommon for the members in the club to be grouped in with others not demonstrating the elements of respect promoted in the club. Although previously a smaller club with members who were not as serious about preventing sexual assault, this year members have have made an effort to eliminate any negative connotations. Members who violate the standards that Men of Respect wishes to uphold are suspended from the club.

“I know that there are people of character standing idly by [in the presence of sexual misconduct] and saying nothing, however you can change how that person is coming across by maybe saying something,” Physical education teacher Ms. Kyle Petty, one of the two sponsors of the club, said at a Men of Respect meeting. “We hear a lot of stuff in the health department and I don’t want any of you to be a part of that in terms of being a bystander and not intervening.”

Due to stereotyping it is common for people to apprehensive of a name like “Men of Respect.”

“If girls had created a club about respect nobody would have questioned it,” Ms. Petty said. “Why is it all on women to fix the problem? If we have some men who want to embrace that, why should we keep them from doing so?”

The members of the club are aware of the gossip surrounding their club, but hope to put an end to any rumors that may be circulating throughout the school.

“People don’t think highly enough of men who want to take action against a serious problem we as humans face nearly every day. Respecting women was a popular meme, people associate the club with that,” junior Angelo Lepore, a member said. “I have to say that they shouldn’t pass judgement without actually attending a meeting or talking to a real representative of the club.”

*Information to join: The club meets after school every Tuesday (subject to change) in room 1014.