'Men's rights' group cancels rallies in Nashville, Mt. Juliet - WSMV News 4

'Men's rights' group cancels rallies in Nashville, Mt. Juliet

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Channel 4 took this screenshot of the Return of Kings website. Channel 4 took this screenshot of the Return of Kings website.

A men’s rights group accused of promoting rape has canceled rallies around the world planned for Saturday, including two in Middle Tennessee.

The group, known as Return of Kings, is headed by Daryush Valizadeh, or Roosh V as he calls himself online.

Last year, Valizadeh wrote an article saying, “I propose that we make the violent taking of a woman not punishable by law when done off public grounds.”

Valizadeh claims the quote was satire, but has posted 41 articles on the subject of rape since his quip last February.

“Rape is not anything to ever laugh about because it always involves dynamics,” said Alicia Bunch, a clinical therapist at the Sexual Assault Center. “Dynamics of power and control, one person asserting control or power over another person.”

Bunch said that Valizadeh’s effort to blame victims in sexual assault further silences their voices.

“So victims can feel that they’re not believed as a result of what’s going on in society, what’s going on in the news, what is going on in culture,” Bunch said. “Because people are saying, yeah, rape is OK.”

Return of Kings had planned an international meet-up for like-minded men in cities around the world and the U.S., including Nashville and Mt. Juliet. Valizadeh later announced that they were canceled.

“I think the thing to consider is that every person who is raped is a person,” Bunch said. “They’re a man, they’re a woman, they’re a child, and they’re a statistic. And so it’s important to consider that, the humanity of the people who are raped.”

Channel 4 reached out to Return of Kings but had not heard back by deadline.

If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual violence, the Sexual Assault Center’s crisis hotline is available 24 hours a day at 1-800-879-1999. Click here for more information.

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