Working with Boys and Men
Over the last 12 years my view of the world and myself in it has radically changed, due to the many conversations with and between radical feminists I have been privileged to be part of. From my first exposure to the reality of women’s lives and the male violence they encounter and fear on a daily basis, to attending feminist conferences, it has been an eye opening, embarrassing and life-changing journey.
The complex reality for men beginning a Men's Behaviour Change Program (MBCP) can be, among other things, a mix of ignorance, inexperience and resentment. I’ve been working in programs for male perpetrators of domestic violence for more than ten years and one thing I notice among these men is a level of ignorance with regard to understanding the work required to change. In my experience, one of the biggest obstacles to men ending their abuse of women and children is their inability to understand the damage they are causing and have caused.
Efforts to reduce and prevent sexual assault over the past three decades have shown an increasing emphasis on engaging men and boys in prevention. For example, there is an increase in projects and initiatives aimed at men and boys in violence prevention sectors. There is also a proliferation of projects and organisations with a defining focus on engaging men and boys in violence prevention.
We are a group of men from England who are organising engage, an international pro-feminist online conference, for the first time in 2021. The conference seeks to engage men in activism and discussions surrounding masculinity, feminism and the patriarchy. It takes place over November 19-21.
1. How important is men’s participation in primary prevention activities? Describe for us the theory that underpins this work.
2. What are some of the principles that underpin good practice and tips for success in engaging men and boys in prevention?
3. What are some examples of initiatives that successfully engaged men and how this was done?
Men, Power and Politics is an initiative to change the face of politics by shifting the focus from being exclusively on women as the sole agents in their own empowerment and instead engaging male political leaders as transformative agents of change for gender equality.
Violence prevention efforts among men and boys must be guided by three key principles: 1) feminist: intended to transform gender inequalities; 2) committed to enhancing boys’ and men’s lives; and 3) intersectional: addressing diversities and inequalities.
7 months of dialogue conclude with call for ‘men’s engagement’ work to support feminist systems change agenda.