Steve Tran: Class of 2012
From: Garden Grove
Why did you choose to major in sociology?
Coming out of high school, I went to UC Riverside and first studied engineering. Later, I thought about nursing and took a sociology class for it. I realized that I had a passion for sociology. Once I came here, the sociology professors taught me what sociology really is.
I like how sociology studies human patterns and institutions and bureaucracies. It studies why people do what they do. It also helps me when I look at violence against women and why it happens. Sociology gives me that scope to understand why violence happens. We live in a rape culture. Even though it's against the law, it's still accepted in the form of jokes. It's not against the law to make jokes. For example, when you're in a party environment, it's still encouraged to have macho behaviors.
How did you get involved in Men Against Violence and the Violence Prevention & Women's Resource Center?
As a major requirement, you're supposed to take a fieldwork class and so I interned at the Violence Prevention & Women's Resource Center. I was interested in domestic violence and sexual assault. A friend of mine disclosed to me that her biological father sexually assaulted her. That's what drove me to be more active and be part of Men Against Violence.
I also did some research with the YWCA for a research methods class. Battered women volunteered to speak with me and my research partner. We did research on why women stay in abusive relationships. We interviewed three women. They were from different ethnicities, different classes. That's when I realized that domestic violence happens in all intersections of race, class and gender.
I realized that I had some characteristics that batterers have and that I had to rehabilitate myself. I would put people down. When I was in a dating relationship, I was a bully. It was about male privilege -- my way was the right way. Once I started realizing that these characteristics were not normal and were unhealthy, that was a shocking point for me. That was the turning point when I felt like I needed to do something and I had felt like I had to do a lot more.
What can men do to stand up against violence?
You don't have to do a specific thing. Just do the right thing. I'm certified as a domestic violence advocate and sexual assault crisis intervention counselor. I don't think you have to be an advocate to do something. Just be a friend and be there for survivors to speak to without being judgemental and victim-blaming. Men can come together and join a movement to combat sexism and racism. It becomes a transformative lifestyle.
People always ask me why I'm such a good man and why there are good men and bad men. I was not always a good man. I had to realize that I needed to change my behaviors if I wanted to see change in the world. I think it should be viewed as a continuum. It's not binary. Men need to be better men. We should see men as a dynamic person who's part of this spectrum.
What are your plans after commencement?
I'm going to apply for graduate school. I've decided to go for a doctorate in sociology. I'll be applying for different schools in the fall. In the meantime, I'll be doing more men's work, trainings on sexual assault and intimate partner violence, and trying to get more men into our movement and to change the environment of Cal Poly Pomona by offering men's conferences and events to spread awareness about violence against women.
Awards, Accolades & Campus Involvement
Star Award from Violence Prevention & Women's Resource Center
Volunteer domestic violence advocate for the YWCA of San Gabriel Valley
Sexual assault crisis intervention counselor for Project Sister Family Services
Advisor for Men Against Violence
Chair of Men's Violence Prevention Summit
Peer educator at the Violence Prevention & Women's Resource Center
During Commencement season, PolyCentric will highlight outstanding graduates from the Class of 2012. Nominated by faculty and staff, these students have stories of perseverance, creativity, academic excellence and a commitment to serve the community. They will share their triumphs, challenges, college experience and how their Cal Poly Pomona education has changed their lives.