How do men respond to women’s rejections of them, including sexual rejections? There was substantial media attention in mid-March to the reactions of right-wing media personality Piers Morgan to member of the British royal family and former actress Megan Markle. I was approached to give media commentary, and put together the following notes.
Sexual consent comprises an agreement to participate in a specific sexual activity. It involves feeling safe, respected, comfortable, enthusiastic, informed, and self-determined. For consent to be genuine, it must be given freely and voluntarily. Consent must be active and demonstrated throughout the whole sexual encounter (RASARA, 2021, pp. 1-2).
Note: A version of this text now has been published as a Briefing Paper from the QUT Centre for Justice, here.
Much of the work to engage men in preventing violence against women across the globe is profeminist — it is informed by feminist perspectives and done by or in collaboration with women and women’s organisations. Men involved in this work typically are expected to support feminism and to be accountable to women and feminism. But which feminism should profeminist men support? There has been relatively little discussion of this question in the ‘engaging men’ field.
It is 25 years since the Fourth World Conference on Women and its adoption of the landmark Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. For all of those who are committed to the visions of gender equality, human rights and social justice expressed in the Beijing Platform for Action and subsequent international declarations and agreements, 2020 was to have been a year of taking stock of progress made and debating priorities and strategies to advance towards these visions.
I have five messages today.
Over the past decade, men's involvement in anti-domestic violence in China has made great progress.
In 2010, the first male-led "male anti-domestic violence hotline" was set up in China, which was officially committed to promoting men's participation in social movements against gender violence. The hotline is open round-the-clock throughout the whole year, which also marks a new era of sustained work and development of China's Male Participation movement from this year on.
Engaging men and boys in the prevention of domestic violence is, at its heart, a project of social justice. A feminist and social justice approach to domestic violence prevention, first, recognizes domestic violence as a social injustice: this violence causes harm, is fundamentally linked to power and inequality, and acts as a fundamental barrier to gender equality. Second, it addresses the social inequalities at the root of this violence and, third, it works for change through social action. How do contemporary efforts to engage men and boys measure up to this approach?
NOTE: Now also see the 5-page Policy Brief, summarising this report and released in November 2021, available here.
Mobilising men is a vital part of social change towards gender equality, but it is under-developed in Australia.