Engaging men and boys is a key strategy for preventing the perpetration of sexual violence. Whilst prevention efforts among men and boys are growing, they remain limited in scope and scale. The evidence base for the effectiveness of sexual violence prevention work with men and boys is also small, although increasing rapidly, and shows mixed impacts.
This literature review was commissioned by Deloittes as part of its stocktake of sexual violence prevention in Australia. A condensed and revised version of this literature review was published as an Appendix in: Deloittes and M. Flood. (2020) Stocktake of Primary Prevention Initiatives in Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment. Sydney: Deloittes.
I want to start with the rationale for this work. Why are we trying to promote healthy masculinities? What is the problem?
To answer that, I have to start with gender.
I’m using the term ‘gender’ here for the patterns of men’s and women’s lives, boys’ and girls’ lives.
Gender means: the meanings we give to being male and female, and the social organisation of men’s and women’s lives.
Men have a vital role to play in contributing to the prevention and reduction of sexual harassment, in workplaces and elsewhere. Although men’s involvement is often constrained by poor understanding of sexual harassment and barriers preventing their advocacy, there are effective ways to invite them in to the work of sexual harassment prevention, and practical actions men can take to make change.
Driving is shaped by gender – by the meanings given to being male or female and the social organisation of men’s and women’s lives and relations. There are significant associations between men, masculinity, and risky driving.
Risky driving behaviours
Men are more likely than women to show various risky driving behaviours, as national data on self-reported driving behaviour in Australia finds. Males are more likely than females to:
I’ve happily worn my pro-feminist politics like a badge for nearly twenty years. I joined an anti-sexist men’s group at age 20, did Women’s and Gender Studies at university and completed a PhD in Gender and Sexuality Studies. I founded the pro-feminist magazine XY and ran it for seven years before turning it into a major website. I continue to research issues of men, masculinity and sexuality, and I’m involved in activism and education particularly on men’s violence against women.
Most allegations of domestic and sexual violence are made in good faith. False allegations are rare. Robust studies of reports made to police find that the prevalence of false allegations of sexual assault is between 2% and 10%.
Unpacking the Man Box is based on a survey of 1,000 young Australian men aged 18 to 30. The report builds on the findings of The Men’s Project’s 2018 report The Man Box.
The initial Man Box report found that young Australian men who believe in outdated masculine stereotypes were themselves at higher risk of using violence, online bullying and sexual harassment, engaging in risky drinking and reporting poorer levels of mental health.
#1. Start by putting your own house in order. Take responsibility for violent behaviour and attitudes and build respectful relations with the women and girls in your life. See pp. 11-13 of this report
[Note: This book chapter also is available in PDF, here.]