Poker as Prevention: Bringing Feminism to the Felt

Alex Gogan, Staff Writer

Riley 201 held a new prevention discussion on Wednesday. Patrick J. Lemmon works for Men Can Stop Rape and has presented at Linfield before on three different occasions. He has helped organize communities and speak to men about violence against women for over twenty years. He’s also worked with Oregon Sexual Assault Task Force. His reasons for coming to Linfield and speaking with students on the topics of prevention and poker are because he is an avid poker player and works to prevent abuse and rape.

Lemmon wishes to create comfortable settings when talking about sensitive subjects such as rape and abuse. He understands that it is hard to have fun and talk about sexual prevention and enjoy the experience. A companion and fellow poker player named Jeff came to see Lemmon give his talk. Jeff was an aid in the production and since he plays poker for a living, Patrick found someone to show him the ropes.

Lemmon’s view is that poker is similar to prevention. Using target, luck, position, and strategy from poker he found a parallel to violence prevention. He explained that his target is mostly focused on men. In poker the target is the person one will make money off of. Men are the target because essential in trying to find a solution that will end violence. Being able to engage men where they are is important because they will be in a comfortable environment.

“Men, women, and all genders are affected by rape” says Lemmon. An example is when he took late walks at night enjoying the weather, and when a woman walking alone would notice him, they would react in a cautious and high risk manner. If this would happen, Lemmon would feel awful. He encourages men to change that. He speaks to men like athletes, students, fathers, and people in fraternities to become engaged. But for those who are not in those categories, he encourages other men to go out and spread awareness at the golf course, the bar, or at the gym.

Lemmon found that poker has a massive influence in politics, film, and fine art. He knew that President Obama used poker as a form of communication and as a way to spend time with friends and allies.

Patrick has found that making people uncomfortable is a natural when talking about these subjects. He’s even noticed that some people do not even realize that certain words are harmful when spoken as a derogatory.
Patrick Lemmon encourages male students to “keep the conversation going”,to not fear the “man box”, and to work with small groups. He hopes that speaking with men and women about these problems will increase awareness and spread a more positive note.