Engaging men to prevent sexual violence
“Will men take action to prevent sexual violence?” That was a question I heard when I started in this work almost 30 years ago when I was among very few men engaged in this work.
I have seen a remarkable change, especially in the last ten years. Now activists and rape prevention organizations actively seek to engage men to prevent rape. Slowly, more and more men recognize that rape prevention is important work for men.
Since 2005 CALCASA’s MyStrength Campaign supports young men to stand up and speak out against sexual violence. Through that campaign and other efforts I see more men at trainings, web conferences, rallies and meetings.
Now the question has shifted to “How can we support men take action to prevent sexual violence?” There is a wide variety of great efforts and resources including Men Can Stop Rape, Young Men’s Work, A CALL TO MEN, Office on Violence Against Women’s Engaging Men Initiative, Coaching Boys into Men, and so many more.
The notion that men need to be involved in ending gender-based violence is not new by any means, but we want to take a look at how we can genuinely involve men as part of a movement that benefits everyone. Our first article is written by a male in our movement who wishes to examine how socially constructed male privilege has shaped his own experiences and also examines how other men can be a part of this movement with sincerity. We already know that some men are involved in this work and have contributed greatly, but what about the larger groups of men that are not involved? Our next two articles examine groups of men that are sometimes excluded from our messaging: queer men and “Average Joe”. Finally, we learn from one of our community sexual assault programs in Washington about the process of engaging men in their community.