We’re in an interesting period in terms of men’s violence against women and its prevention. This violence is particularly high on community and government agendas. There are some significant signs of progress. But let’s not lapse into rosy optimism. […] This presentation is intended to contribute to, and intervene in, both advocacy and policy-making aimed at the prevention and reduction of men’s violence against women. It emphasises three key directions for our work. And each of the three also embodies a challenge. Each faces significant obstacles.
Q. Recently, there have been calls for education regarding sexual ethics. How do you conceptualise this? In terms of sexual consent?
Men’s health is an important social issue, and deserving of robust policy and programming attention. Unfortunately, the issue of men’s health is misrepresented by men’s rights advocates and ideologies.
How can we prevent and reduce men's violence against women? What does violence prevention involve? What does primary prevention mean?
In this XY collection, we present short, accessible introductions to the field of violence prevention. They are listed below, and provided in full text at the bottom of this page.
There is an excellent international literature on how best to prevent and reduce men's violence against women. It includes major, systematic reviews of effective practice in this field. In this XY collection, we present key reports on and guides to prevention practice. They are listed below - click on the title to download each in full text (PDF).
Yes, large numbers of men and boys are killed and injured in war. They are sent to war largely by other men. Wars are supported more by men than women. And traditional masculinity has been central to justifications for war. It is men, not women, who have excluded women from joining men in military and combat roles. Feminist women and women’s movements have played key roles in challenging war and militarism. Finally, the overall impacts of war and conflict and their aftermath are greater for women than men.
Here is the scorecard. Australians know something about violence. We are aware of the wide range of physical and non-physical behaviours that are often part of domestic violence. But we don’t know much about its impact, so we struggle for example to know why women stay. We have the wrong idea about why this violence happens, blaming anger or sex drive or intoxication rather than gender inequalities. We are too willing to excuse domestic violence. We blame the victim. We still see women as liars. We see men as lust-driven pigs who can’t be held responsible for their sexual behaviour. We say we would intervene in violence, but we don’t necessarily know where to get help.
Initiatives aimed at ‘engaging men’ to address gender inequality have gained popularity in recent years. But how much do we really know about the most effective ways to engage men in gender equality?
I’m going to start with some points about men, patriarchy, and feminism which I hold to be self-evident. That is, some basic truths. And I will end with some harder questions.
So, this first section is “Engaging Men 101”.
Some truths I hold to be self-evident
To achieve gender equality, we’ll have to engage men.
To end patriarchy, to achieve gender equality, men will have to change. Putting this another way, we will have to engage men. Above all, because gender inequalities are sustained in large part by men – by men’s attitudes, behaviours, identities, and relations.
Patriarchy is about men – about male privilege, about men’s practices and relations, with women and perhaps more so with other men.
Men are members of a privileged group, and we receive various benefits and dividends whether or not we want to. We have an ethical responsibility, a political responsibility, to challenge and undermine this privilege, to change our own sexism and to challenge other men’s.
So, to put it far too simply, men are part of the problem, and men are part of the solution.