In this 10-minute speech at the Melbourne Town Hall, Dr Michael Flood had four messages: (1) We know a fair amount about the problem – about men’s violence against women. (2) Men are now part of the solution. (3) We face real challenges. (4) It’s time for a fresh approach.
Violence perpetrated by and against men and boys is a major public health problem. Although individual men’s use of violence differs, engagement of all men and boys in action to prevent violence against women and girls is essential. We discuss why this engagement approach is theoretically important and how prevention interventions have developed from treating men simply as perpetrators of violence against women and girls or as allies of women in its prevention, to approaches that seek to transform the relations, social norms, and systems that sustain gender inequality and violence. We review evidence of intervention effectiveness in the reduction of violence or its risk factors, features commonly seen in more effective interventions, and how strong evidence-based interventions can be developed with more robust use of theory. Future interventions should emphasise work with both men and boys and women and girls to change social norms on gender relations, and need to appropriately accommodate the differences between men and women in the design of programmes.
A range of critiques and assessments of the men's rights movement have been published in recent years. While there are academic assessments and explorations of this movement and its politics and agendas and impact, here I have gathered a list of more accessible discussions. I hope they're useful.
These first items were written in the wake of the Toronto massacre in April 2018.
It has long been asserted and assumed that women ‘cry rape’ – that women often maliciously invent allegations of rape for malicious, vengeful and other motives (Lisak et al. 2010). The reality is, instead, that false reports of sexual assault are rare. In addition, the scale of false reporting in rape cases is no higher than for other crimes (Kelly 2010).
In addition, false accusations of domestic violence (and other forms of violence and abuse including child abuse) in the context of family law proceedings are uncommon. Mothers are more likely than fathers to have unsubstantiated allegations – both false accusations and allegations without support – leveled against them, and fathers are more likely than mothers to make unsubstantiated allegations.
It is time for a critical stocktake of efforts to involve men in the prevention of violence against women. In particular, it is time to assess a series of assumptions about this work which are influential and yet which are unsupported by evidence or dangerous. In this presentation from the recent 2nd MenEngage Second Global Symposium 2014: Men and Boys for Gender Justice (Delhi, 10-13 November), Michael Flood offers a critical assessment of the 'engaging men' field.
The Word document at the bottom of this page is a compendium of quantitative measures for the assessment of attitudes, behaviours, and other dimensions of
- violence against women;
- sexuality; and
- men and masculinities.
Comments and revisions are most welcome.
[Note: The text of this talk is below. But if you want to see a video of the talk as it was delivered, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IHnpNyyhjhw.]
Language warning. I’m going to use the ‘F word’, a lot, in this talk. And that word is feminism. I’ve got two simple messages. Feminism needs men. And men need feminism.
A growing body of international scholarship documents that significant proportions of children and young people are exposed to pornography. Different studies define ‘pornography’ in varying ways or allow research participants to do so, and some do not distinguish between different kinds of pornographic media (videos, internet sites, and so on) or between accidental and deliberate exposure. Nevertheless, it is clear that large numbers of young people, particularly boys, are growing up in the presence of sexually explicit media.
Debates regarding pornography – its use, significance, and regulation – should be based on informed understanding and research. While there has been little research on pornography in Australia, a recent book titled The Porn Report has become a common reference point in some contemporary debates. However, the book and its research have important methodological and theoretical limitations. This article provides a critical assessment of the book, comparing its findings and arguments with wider scholarship on pornography.
I have been something of a ‘cheerleader’ for men’s violence prevention. I’ve identified the principles which guide men’s involvement in violence prevention. I’ve written at length about the strategies which are most effective, the standards for best practice. But in this keynote address, I want to do something different. I highlight some hard truths, some of the challenges of this field. I will focus on three key points: (1) Men’s violence against women is fundamentally linked to gender inequalities. (2) Men’s involvements in violence prevention are shaped by these same gender inequalities. (3) Gender inequality is the problem, and gender equality is the solution. I then complicate these, noting that gender is not the only story and gender inequality is not the only problem, and that in some ways gender itself is the problem.