Meet Marty Licardo from the Men’s Anti-Violence Network of Utah

marty liccardo[Ed. Note: this is a guest post from Kyl Myers. Kyl is a sociology PhD student and a sex educator in Salt Lake City.]

If I had the resources, I would arrange for everyone to sit down and talk with Marty Liccardo for three hours, like I recently had the opportunity to do. I first heard Marty speak when he presented to the Gender and Sexuality class I TA’d for last year. Marty, a health educator for the University of Utah’s Center for Student Wellness, spoke about preventing sexual violence. He is engaging, humorous, and effective. Students mentioned his presentation for the remainder of the semester, and more importantly – Marty’s sexual violence prevention presentation resonated with male students – a powerful skill if you ask me. I wanted to know more about Marty and the work he does and introduce him to you, dear reader. This is my best attempt at condensing my three-hour conversation with one of the most fantastically feminist people I know

Marty Liccardo graduated from the University of Utah in 2002 with a Women’s Studies degree. It was during his time as an undergraduate student that he was first exposed to feminism. He took a Women’s Studies class from Dr. Patricia Reagan, which he notes as, “The hardest and best class I ever took.” It was in this radical feminist place, in this women’s space, where he recalls the “band-aid was ripped off.” Marty told me he learned valuable lessons on male and white privilege in the class. Marty said, “Dr. Reagan was always interrupting me and cutting me off and when I complained, she told me the class was not for me, it was for women and my presence was harmful. She told me to shut up and listen to the experiences of women. I was always just waiting for my turn to talk in the class but after that, I learned from listening.” After his experiences in the Women’s Studies program he said he was a “locked and loaded feminist” – Marty has been fists ablazin’ ever since. 

Marty has worked with the Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault; as a member of the Rape Recovery Center’s hospital response team; he worked at the University of Maryland doing men’s engagement work on campus and at Duke, and doing rape prevention through Duke’s Women’s Resource Center. We are lucky to have him back in Salt Lake City educating students and working in the community with numerous organizations including his own, Men’s Antiviolence Network (MAN).

Marty’s passion is getting men involved in sexual violence prevention, challenging sexism and engaging men in a movement to support women, and challenging patriarchy and acknowledging that rape is a men’s issue. In his presentations Marty says, “Rape is a men’s issue. 98% of perpetrators are men, but 98% of men are not perpetrators.” Talking with men about how to prevent rape is an extremely important aspect of ending rape culture.

In addition to men being overwhelmingly absent from rape prevention, Marty also listed slut shaming as a contributor to rape culture. Marty told me, “Slut shaming is highly sexist but it is never questioned, yet it ties in to so much, including: sexual agency, sexual objectification and access to jobs because of the glass ceiling. Calling someone a slut affects their behavior and self-worth.” Challenging slut shaming must start early. Marty believes, “Young kids need to know about boundaries, coercion, and sexually fulfilling lives.” Community education and outreach is where much of the feminist movement takes place, and Marty Liccardo is making a difference on the front lines.

Through the work Marty has done he has met some of his heroes in the field, including: Jessica Valenti, Robert Jensen, Michael Kimmel and Jackson Katz. One thing Marty encourages young feminists to do is contact their heroes. Marty said, “These people are exactly the same as you – people just heard what they had to say. E-mail them, ask them questions, and find out how they got their start, chances are, they will e-mail you back!” And ain’t it the truth. Marty is one of my feminist heroes and is now one of my friends. The feminist network is inclusive. Get in on it.

If you would like to connect with Marty, you can e-mail him at marty.liccardo@utah.edu

 

 

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