The report, Where Men Stand: Men' s roles in ending violence against women was launched in Australia on November 25th, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and the focus of the White Ribbon Campaign. The report is a stocktake, a reckoning, of where men are at when it comes to violence against women. The report focuses on four key dimensions of men’s relations to violence against women. (See below for the full report, in PDF.)
Sexual harassment will only disappear when men take an active role in ending it. Most men don’t harass, and most don’t condone it. But sexual harassment is largely a problem of men’s behaviour, against women and other men.
Work with men has demonstrated significant potential in contributing to building gender equality and improving the health of women and men. However, most work with men has tended to be local in scale and limited in scope. To be more widely effective, that is to transform the pervasive gender inequalities which characterize many societies globally – efforts to transform men’s behaviour require to be significantly scaled up. Policy processes and mechanisms are key elements in any effort to engage men and boys in achieving gender equality.
This Policy Brief:
I focus in the following on men’s roles in sexual exploitation and violence in prostitution and their prevention. I focus particularly on men’s involvements as buyers of commercial sex – in other words, on male ‘prostitute users’ or ‘clients’ or ‘Johns’, on the sexual violence and coercion involved here, and on how to prevent these.
Women routinely make up allegations of domestic violence and rape, including to gain advantage in family law cases. And women use protection orders to remove men from their homes or deny contact with children.
- The risk of domestic violence increases at the time of separation.
- Most allegations of domestic violence in the context of family law proceedings are made in good faith and with support and evidence for their claims.
- Rates of false accusations of rape are very low.
- Women living with domestic violence often do not take out protection orders and do so only as a last resort.
- Protection orders provide an effective means of reducing women’s vulnerability to violence.
This Information Paper focuses on men’s roles in progress towards gender equality. It answers two questions:
1) To what extent are men supportive of gender equality?
2) What can be done to engage men in progress towards gender equality?
Exposure to pornography is routine among children and young people, with a range of notable and often troubling effects. Particularly among younger children, exposure to pornography may be disturbing or upsetting. Exposure to pornography helps to sustain young people’s adherence to sexist and unhealthy notions of sex and relationships. And, especially among boys and young men who are frequent consumers of pornography, including of more violent materials, consumption intensifies attitudes supportive of sexual coercion and increases their likelihood of perpetrating assault. While children and young people are sexual beings and deserve age-appropriate materials on sex and sexuality, pornography is a poor, and indeed dangerous, sex educator.
Feminism’s achievements regarding violence against women are a key target for the fathers’ rights movement. This article provides an overview of the impact of the fathers’ rights movement on men’s violence against women. It documents the ways in which fathers’ rights groups in Australia have influenced changes in family law, which privilege parental contact over safety, particularly through moves toward a presumption of children’s joint residence. They have attempted to discredit female victims of violence, to wind back the legal protections available to victims and the sanctions imposed on perpetrators, and to undermine services for the victims of men’s violence.
This report offers a comprehensive overview of best practice in violence prevention education in schools, identifying five principles of best practice. It maps promising programs around Australia and internationally. And it offers directions for advancing the field. The report is relevant beyond this, however, offering indicators of effective practice in violence prevention education which are relevant for a variety of settings and populations.
Some sections of the report focus in particular on issues of interest for those working with men and boys in violence prevention, such as the teaching methods to use and the content to address (pp. 36-43), whether to have mixed-sex or single-sex classes (pp. 47-50), whether curricula should be delivered by teachers or community educators or peers (pp. 52-53), and whether the sex of the educator makes a difference (pp. 53-54).
Note that I have also included the text of a seminar which summarises the report, titled "Advancing the field", and the Powerpoint which goes along with this.
Contemporary campaigns and programs addressing men’s violence against women are under sustained attack. They are subject to repeated, hostile criticism by anti-feminist men and men’s networks. Any organisation which publicly addresses violence against women finds itself under a barrage of e-mails and letters, while any forum which sympathetically addresses the issue is swamped by hostile responses. Here, I address the claims which are the standard fare of anti-feminist men’s attacks on domestic violence efforts.