Male athletes from Seattle's Garfield High School are featured in a new video as they take part in a program that highlights how coaches can positively influence young men to have respectful interactions with women.
The program is called Coaching Boys Into Men (CBIM). It describes itself as the only evidence-based prevention program that trains and motivates high school coaches to teach their young male athletes healthy relationship skills and that violence never equals strength.
"All they have to do is have these 15-minute conversations for 12 sessions throughout their season and they might be preventing a future incident," said Yesenia Gorbea, CBIM Senior Program Specialist.
In a two-minute video posted to YouTube, Garfield football coach Joey Thomas is seen talking to his players about what is and isn't acceptable when interacting with women.
"I really feel like this is what I was called to do was to mentor young men," Thomas said.
And it's opening the eyes of players.
"There was things in there that I noticed that I've done in the past and, with Boys To Men, I just realized I should change," said Ramari, a football player.
"It led to a lot of really good discussions, a lot of really honest discussions about our lives and relationships," said Max, a wrestler.
"That duty falls on us to actually go out and prove to people that we can be in healthy relationships," said football player Duncan. "I think that's happening."
The program is drawing praise from King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg as a way to curb sexual assault and is encouraging other schools to take up the program, He highlighted the program in this post on Facebook in the wake of the growing #MeToo social media movement, where women and men have been revealing their histories as victims of sexual harassment and abuse.
"It's been dismissed as just 'locker room talk' for too long, a shrug that boys will be boys. And then our social media feeds fill with the 'Me, Toos' of women across the nation detailing the moments they have faced instances of sexual harassment and sexual assault," Satterberg wrote.
"Principal Ted Howard and athletic leaders at Garfield High School in Seattle are actively changing the talk in their locker rooms and on the field where coaches aren't just discussing football plays and passes. They are using their platforms to talk to high school boys about what it means to respect women and girls; they are discussing what consent means and how to develop healthy romantic relationships as part of a program they've launched in partnership with Harborview's Sexual Assault and Traumatic Stress Center. The program is called, 'Coaching Boys Into Men,'" he also wrote.