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Good morning, Senator Millett, Representative MacDonald, and distinguished members of the

Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs. My name is Danna Hayes, and I am the
Director of Public Policy for the Maine Womens Lobby. We advocate on behalf of Maines 678,000
women and girls. I am here today to oppose the nomination of Susan Dench to the University of Maine
systems board of trustees.
I are also here speaking on behalf of several other organizations, including the Maine chapter of
the American Association of University Women (AAUW), EqualityME, and Family Crisis Services, who
share our opposition to Ms. Denchs nomination.
Researchers estimate that 1 out of every 4 female college students will be the victim of rape or
attempted rape during her college career.
As awareness about the epidemic of campus sexual assault
grows, universities across the country including the University of Maine system, are working harder to
prevent sexual assault. One of the ways schools are making campuses safer is understanding how rigid
societal gender roles contribute to uneven power dynamics. Specifically, the traditional and rigid views of
masculinity as authoritative and powerful in comparison to demure and passive femininity is generally
considered to contribute to the power imbalances that lead to sexual violence. By way of example,
Rutgers Universitys Violence Prevention and Victim Assistance website states,
There are many factors that contribute to the occurrence of sexual violence Most
perpetrators adhere to rigid traditional gender roles that focus on the inequality
of women. This allows them to treat women and the targeted victim with no regard or
respectGender-based stereotypes reinforce inequality between genders. For
example, in a society where men are portrayed as being aggressive and women are
seen as passive, a man who pressures a woman for sex is often perceived as behaving
acceptably. Gender-based stereotypes are reinforced throughout society and can be
seen in pop culture and media.

We are concerned that Ms. Denchs beliefs about rigid gender roles will hinder the University of
Maine systems important work in preventing these dangerous power imbalances. In Ms. Denchs blog on
the Bangor Daily News website from January 1, 2014, entitled Schoolboys Should be Taught to Grow
into Real Men, Not Women, she decries schools attempts to foster boys who are more sensitive and
caring, arguing [w]hen we ask males to deny their testosterone-driven attributes we are denying
nature. She also makes reference to the feminine values of socialization and cooperation, claiming
that expecting boys to act as the weaker sex is untrue to their nature.

We propose that cooperation and caring are not feminine values so much as they are human
values the kind we want to be encouraging in our schools and the kind that makes women from all of
the country choose the University of Maine system for its safe, respectful, and inclusive environment.
Ms. Dench has also written that the womens equality movement has confused men about their
role in sexual relationships and she recalls an easier time when men subsumed their more base instincts
and the woman was put on a pedestal, and both sexes expected the man to court her, woo her, [and] fight
for her hand
While these view may be dismissed as simply old-fashioned, the sexual violence
prevention community has resoundingly agreed that these types of beliefs perpetuate the power dynamics
that result in violence.

Around the country, schools are seeing negative publicity and even legal action for their failure to
manage and address campus sexual violence. We believe Ms. Denchs confirmation would also send a
message to the women of Maine, both alumnae and future students of the UMaine system, that our state
does not take the psychology behind violence against women seriously. It is for these reasons we ask you
to oppose Ms. Denchs confirmation.
Rich, M.D., Utley, E.A., Janke, K., & Moldoveanu, M. (2010). Id Rather Be Doing
Something Else: Male Resistance to Rape Prevention Programs. Journal of Mens
Studies, 18(3), 268-288.

Rutgers University Violence Prevention and Victim Assistance website,



American College Health Association (2008). Shifting the Paradigm: Primary Prevention of Sexual Violence

Carr, J.L. and VanDeusen, K.M. (2004) Risk Factors For Male Sexual Aggression on College Campuses. J. Family
Violence 19(5): 279-289.

Kilmartin, C. & Berkowitz, A.D. (2001). Teaching College Men About Gender. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum
Associates, Inc.

Peralta, R.L & Tuttle, L.A. (Fall 2013). Male Perpetrators of Heterosexual Partner Violence: The Role of Threats to
Masculinity, Journal of Mens Studies, (18)3, 255-275.

Rich, M.D., Utley, E.A., Janke, K., & Moldoveanu, M. (2010). Id Rather Be Doing
Something Else: Male Resistance to Rape Prevention Programs. Journal of Mens
Studies, 18(3), 268-288.