Engaging Men and Boys
The Ohio Men's Action Network is up, running, and expanding rapidly!
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Below are some resources for engaging men that may be useful as you think about how you might become involved:
What Makes A Good Male Ally?
During the Men’s Pre-workshop at the 2002 This Far By Faith conference, women participants were asked to describe one thing that would make a “good male ally” against domestic violence. The male participants appreciated this opportunity to listen to women and practice not interrupting. Below are the responses to this question.
A man is a good ally when:
- He is able to take direction and leadership in domestic violence work from women.
- He understands that women’s need to be empowered is to a threat to his strength as a man, but rather an additional strength.
- He listens to women and has a willingness to “call out” other men on their issues.
- He does not try to confine the women he the women he is supporting or define the problems that they share with him.
- He is willing to take a stand on the issue of domestic violence by being vocal about it.
- He changes his perception, so that he knows that women who remain in relationships with batterers are not stupid.
- He helps other men in positions of authority to realize that when children of single mothers have behavioral problems, it doesn’t mean that they “need a man in the house.” This type of thinking is often encountered in male schools principals, and it pressures women and children to stay in abusive situations.
- He models behavior for his friends and other men by letting others see his example.
- He works to help unburden other men of the misconception that women who speak honestly about male violence are “attacking men.”
- He is willing to hear women’s reality “full out”, because he realizes that there are aspects of this reality that he will not know about.
- He is not struggling with his own manhood, and does not need to prove that he’s a man.
- He is a non-judgmental partner; implying equality and respect.
- He understands that women know that all men are not batterers.
- He is developing groups where men can rally against domestic violence actively and publicly denounce it.
- He doesn’t assume that another man can’t be a batterer because of his high position in a church, government, organization, etc.
- He has done his personal work to become aware of his own issues relating to the issue of domestic violence.
- He listens, but doesn’t try to “fix” the problem by himself.
Copyright © 2002 by the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence. Reprinted from NYS OPDV Bulletin Volume 14, Number 2, Page 12, Fall 2002 with permission of the Black Church and Domestic Violence Institute, Spring 2002, Volume 2, Issue 1. Reprinted here with permission of the Faith Trust Institute.
To Download a printable version of "What Makes A Good Male Ally?" Click Here.
10 Things Men Can Do To End Men's Violence Against Women
- Acknowledge and understand how sexism, male dominance and male privilege lay the foundation for all forms of violence against women.
- Examine and challenge our individual sexism and the role that we play in supporting men who are abusive.
- Recognize and stop colluding with other men by getting out of our socially defined roles, and take a stance to end violence against women.
- Remember that our silence is affirming. When we choose not to speak out against men’s violence, we are supporting it.
- Educate and re-educate our sons and other young men about our responsibility in ending men’s violence against women.
- "Break out of the man box"- Challenge traditional images of manhood that stop us from actively taking a stand to end violence against women.
- Accept and own our responsibility that violence against women will not end until men become part of the solution to end it. We must take an active role in creating a cultural and social shift that no longer tolerates violence against women.
- Stop supporting the notion that men’s violence against women is due to mental illness, lack of anger management skills, chemical dependency, stress, etc… Violence against women is rooted in the historic oppression of women and the outgrowth of the socialization of men.
- Take responsibility for creating appropriate and effective ways to develop systems to educate and hold men accountable.
- Create systems of accountability to women in your community. Violence against women will end only when we take direction from those who understand it most, women.
To Download a printable version of "10 Thinks Men Can Do To End Men's Violence Against Women" Click Here.
What Men are Doing Prevent Intimate Partner Violence and Violence Against Women and Children
- Dads and Daughters: www.dadsanddaughters.org
What Men and Allied Organizations are Doing to Prevent Intimate Partner Violence and Men’s Violence Against Women and Children:
- A Call To Men
- Coaching Boys into Men, Coaches Corner
- Founding Fathers
- Jackson Katz, Educator, Author, and Social Critic
- Men Against Sexual Violence
- Men Can Stop Rape
- Men Stopping Rape- Designed to organize and mobilize men to stop rape
- National Organization for Men Against Sexism (NOMAS)
- Paul Kivel, Violence Prevention Educator
- Rus Funk, author of Reaching Men
- White Ribbon Campaign- Based in Canada and works well in U.S.
- Working with Men and Boys to End Gender Based Violence
MoSt Clubs: Finding the Right Facilitator
Most Clubs are an evidence informed practice for engaging men and young men. The informaiton below is provided by Alex Leslie from the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center to help those interested in starting and sustaining MoST Clubs:
Though many across Ohio will be working with young men using the Men of Strength Club model, some will create their own initiatives for engaging adult men, young men/teens, or young boys. Most of this will apply for those seeking facilitators for other men/boys programs as well.
What makes someone a good program facilitator? Why do we have such a difficult time finding men to facilitate Men of Strength Club and/or any other program we have to reach men?
Where are they?
The man that is best for your MoSt is the one that you probably have had in mind for other initiatives for engaging men. He’s the man who already teaches, coaches, or shapes boys’ lives in your area; he’s the businessman who wants to give back to the community and has joined your board; or, he’s the graduate student in your area with a great deal of passion for ending violence against women but little job experience. No matter what, it will take time to “grow” the man that you need to complete the
The fact is that there is no perfect man for the job of doing sexual and intimate partner violence prevention. By virtue of being born male, most men don’t care about these issues as much as most women. That doesn’t mean, however, that the men you have in your area aren’t interested in helping; or don’t have some skills that can be helpful. Some men will come to the work with a great deal of experience and/or passion for working with youth, but may be lacking in awareness of sexual violence and/or sexism prevention programming. Others may come to the work being passionate advocates for ending violence against women, but have little experience in working with youth. It’s rare to find someone who has both abilities, but both can be cultivated. For example, it may be that you require a youth worker from another agency (an after-school program employee or a teacher in your school district) to go through your agency’s volunteer training before they become a facilitator. On the other hand, you may want to put a volunteer or student through a crash course in youth development, or have him sit in on other groups/classes so he can learn better how to connect with younger people.
Just as it takes incentives (pizza, a trip or party, community service hours) to get young men to participate in MoSt Club, many successful programs are run by adult men who get paid a stipend for facilitating or who are able to work MoSt Club into their current job duties with little difficulty. There are a few facilitators who accomplish great things on a voluntary basis, but generally, in Cleveland, we have found that using a modest stipend can work as a tool for accountability.
The most important:
In their long term study of resiliency-based programming, Werner and Smith (Emmy Werner and Ruth Smith; multiple publication of 50 year longitudinal study) concluded that for “at risk” youth (though I don’t encourage the term “at risk”), the personal relationship with a caring adult was the single most important factor in their continued success, including in the ability to change behavior, like becoming an ally in preventing violence against women.
This goes a long way to explain that our number one priority for a Men of Strength Club facilitator is that he is able to effectively build relationships with teens. Not that he says everything perfectly, or in the correct way; indeed, teens will probably forget most of what he says. Instead, that he connects with them, because they will remember the relationship.
Men Can Stop Rape’s Core Principles for Working with Men:
Put trust and relationships at the center
Meet young men where they are
Check your own assumptions
It’s okay to wait on tough issues
Focus on stories
Make action easier
Have regular check-ins
Provide male role models
Get involved in other ways
The more of these principles/abilities you notice in your potential facilitator, the better.