From drops to pool, from grit to shoal: the ten-year journey of the men's anti-violence movement in China

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.

In April 2013, with the support of the representative office of the United Nations Population Fund, Fang Gang initiated “China White Ribbon Volunteer Network” (CWRVN), and served convener.

By the end of November 2020, 4007 people had made real-name promises and become part of the Male Participation movement.

To enable the work advocated by the White Ribbon, and to motivate volunteers from all over the country to engage in public welfare activities, we also encourage different areas to set up “White Ribbon service stations”.

By the end of September 2020, more than 80 cities had set up White Ribbon service stations.

We build the three pillars of the volunteer team, which are consultation, promotion and teenager education. 

I. Consultation

The target is to provide counseling and help for victims and witnesses of sexual violence, domestic violence and other gender violence, and provide guidance for behavioral change of perpetrators of gender violence and those with violence tendency.

On the one hand, in addition to the White Ribbon hotline, local volunteers of CWRVN have carried out various counseling programs for the parties concerned, such as case counseling and group counseling. On the other hand, we also worked on a large number of training for psychological counselors.

1. Counseling Group for those Who Have Suffered from Domestic Violence during Adolescence

In 2014, Doctor Fang Gang led a group called “Counseling Group for those Who Have Suffered from Domestic Violence during Adolescence”. 10 young people who were victims of domestic violence when they were young joined and they received group consultation for 60 hours in total.

In 2016, we established the second session of the counseling group, 9 people joined and everything went well.

Drawing on the experience of the two sessions, we finished the booklet “Saying Goodbye to the Trauma from Domestic Violence—Group Counseling Booklet to those who have Suffered from Domestic Violence in their Families of Origin”. 

2. Group support for domestic violence perpetrators

We began to build up a counseling group for male abusers at the beginning of CWRVN, and compiled a group assistance program.

In September 2019, the Group officially started, led by Fang Gang and Tian bin. Due to the impact of the Covid-19 epidemic, the group activity ended in March 2020 after organizing a network activity after the last off-line activity organized in January 2020. The pre-test and post-test were carried out after the first activity of the group, which showed that the group activity had a great influence on the group members.

Training of psychological counseling ability for victims of domestic violence

This training have been held in 2017, 2019 and 2020. Each year, a training session will be organized in one city of each of three provinces. The training  usually lasts for three days, and eight hours a day, which was held for psychological counselors, social workers and other personnel working in related fields.

After the training in each province, we set up the "psychological counseling Station for domestic violence parties" in the local area. Three years after training, psychological counseling is provided free of charge to victims of domestic violence one day a week.

4. Affirmative Psychotherapy and Counselling  

In 2015, after five years, Affirmative Psychotherapy and Counselling by Fang Gang and Yang Zhihong was published after the manuscript had been revised for four times. In contrast to the traditional "reversal therapy", this new method advocates a supportive and accepting attitude towards the LGBT group. Affirmative Psychotherapy is opposed to violence against homosexual and transgender, and against violence among homosexual partners.

The publication of Affirmative Psychotherapy and Counselling shows CWRVN's concerns on gender-based violence in a broader sense.

II Work of Publicity

White ribbon volunteers have been through community awareness, street display, speeches, posters, mass media coverage and other ways to carry out male participation in the daily publicity and advocacy work.

In addition, there are some creative activities:

1."Men Tell Their Stories"

In 2014, CWRVN organized the campaign called "Men Tell Their Stories". In this campaign, ten participants, who support gender equality, went to four cities to share their gender-awareness journeys in universities, engaging more men against gender-based violence.

2.“Male virtuousness class”

During the National Day holiday in 2015, Fang Gang held a workshop in Beijing on "Becoming Good Mates and Fathers: Male Development Workshop", known as " Male virtuousness class ".

The workshop drew wide attention from the media and was interviewed by over 20 media platforms.

Both sides of voices have sparked controversy. More than 300 media platforms, including several television stations, reposted the news and published their comments.

This workshop has become a good example of public opinion advocacy, prompting people to think about the role and responsibility of men.

3."White Ribbon Film Festival"

In 2016, Fang Gang selected 64 films to be compiled into the book “Gender Violence in Films”,

Contents include a description of each film, an analysis of the film from the perspective of gender violence, a review of the film during viewing, and so on.

In December of the same year, based on the book, the White Ribbon Film Festival was held in Beijing to organize movie-viewing and discussions.

During that year's annual White Ribbon Gathering, volunteers from all over the world learned how to use the book to organize local White Ribbon Film Festivals to raise awareness against gender violence.

4.The Play The Penis Monologue

In 2018, Fang Gang finished the script for the play The Penis Monologue, which is also known as The Men's Monologue and has been premiered in Beijing in December of the same year. Since then, the play has been performed in five cities: Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Guangzhou, Taizhou, and Linyi. Two of them were performed in Shenzhen.

The play is a parody of the famous feminist play “The Vagina Monologue” in the form of creation. In the play, more than ten men tell their own stories about their penises to reflect on men's violence against women, advocate male participation and gender equality, and oppose gender violence from a male perspective.

The play is divided into eleven acts, covering topics such as masculinity, sexual harassment, date rape, genderqueer, homophobia, unwanted pregnancy, domestic violence, impotence, domestic chores, and so on.

Ⅲ. Youth education work

The key to advocating against gender-based violence is prevention, therefore it is very important to focus on the influence on youth.

The CWRVN organization has developed two toolkits against gender-based violence and bullying for use in schools.

The organization began working on Positive Action: A Toolkit to End Gender-Based Violence in Schools in 2016.

In 2017, the organization began to work on the book Bringing Bullying to Zero: A Toolkit to End Bullying in Schools.

In the "Owl Sex Education Camp", the flagship product of the team of empowering sex education instructors, the concept of gender equality is embedded throughout both the youth and teenager camps. For example, in teenager camp, the afternoon of the first day is devoted to teaching the concept of "body right" and saying "no" to gender-based violence; while the second afternoon is devoted to reflecting on gender stereotypes and discussing gender diversity in the context of the movie Step Up.

The "Empowering Sex Education Series" compiled by Fang Gang also includes anti-gender violence content. This is not only about opposing sexual harassment and rape, but also about anti-domestic violence, anti-gender stereotypes, and advocacy of gender diversity and equality.

These books include: Middle School Sex Education Teaching Plan Samples, Movie Sex Education Reader, Family Sex Education 16 Lectures, All about Adolescent: Adolescent Sex Education Reader, Sexual Rights and Gender Equality: New Ideas and Methods of School Sex Education, Empowering Sex Education: Good Sex Education for Children, Sex Education in a Word, What Should We Teach in Sex Education: 85 Practical Cases of Sex EducationOpen Sex Education: Sex Education That Affects Children's Life, Sex Education Teaching Kit for Primary School Students, Sex Education Teaching Kit for Junior High School Students, Sex Education Teaching Kit for Senior High School Students, and so on.

For more information, see the 31-page report here.