Hands-on project supports men against violence toward women

Ed Matthews // Kentucky Kernel Psychology majors Imhotep Williams, left, a junior, and Brandon Baker, a sophomore, trace their hands on to a poster in the Student Center last Friday, and pledged that “These hands don’t hurt women” as part of an event organized by MAVARUK.

By Azra Drljevic

[email protected]

Gentle hands are coming together on campus to take a stand against violence against women.

Men Against Violence and Rape at UK ([email protected]) started the project “These Hands Don’t Hurt” to raise awareness about violence against women.

Different [email protected] members took turns asking men who walked by the Starbucks at the Student Center Friday to trace their hands and sign their name on banners. The banners will be displayed during the annual “Take Back the Night March” later this week.

“It is a commitment that these hands won’t hurt women,” said Paul Vincelli, faculty adviser to [email protected] “It shows a person’s opposition to violence against women.”

[email protected] borrowed the idea of “These Hands Don’t Hurt” from a similar event at Eastern Kentucky University.

“It was the same kind of student group,” said Brandon Williams, Kirwan Tower resident director, who introduced the idea to the UK group. “It’s a really good way for men to show support. A great visual statement.”

Though EKU students used paint to stamp their hands on banners, uncertain weather convinced [email protected] to take the project indoors where using paint wasn’t feasible. Still, [email protected] managed to attract a lot of attention from staff and students.

“As long as it’s against violence, let’s do it,” said student center employee Kelvin Phillips as he traced his hands on a banner.

“I have a daughter in college and I worry,” Phillips said. “It’s bad enough the things going on around the world to have to worry about it on your own campus.

“It’s got to be a group thing,” Phillips said. “Like the neighborhood watch.”

“These Hands Don’t Hurt” is one of many events for Kentucky’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month. “Take Back the Night,” an annual awareness march, is being sponsored by UK Woman’s Place and [email protected] will be participating.

“We’re pretty much working with them (Women’s Place) side by side with everything, but ‘These Hands Don’t Hurt’ is specifically [email protected],” said Jason Nehmer, the group’s president and a biotechnology and political science senior.

While this particular project is focused on involving men, women are welcome to join [email protected], said Stephen Thoman, human nutrition junior and group member.

The table to trace hands will be in the Student Center in front of Starbucks today and tomorrow from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and in front of W.T. Young Library from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. The table will also be set up on Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in front of White Hall Classroom Building.