Work with Young Men
It is difficult for many people to work with young men because they see them as a source of violence. But while young men—especially young men of color in the United States—are often blamed for many of our social problems, they are more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators. And it is not possible to work effectively with young men unless we believe they are part of the solution to creating safer communities, not just part of the problem.
“Young men” refers to a diverse group of people with very different experiences of violence. The violence in the lives of young, low-income men of color will differ in important ways from the violence in the lives of white male youth in the suburbs. Without taking this diversity into account, and without talking with young men about their thoughts, feelings, and understanding about what might be done, we cannot effectively involve young men in our efforts to stop the violence. We have to be able to hear young men’s stories, their experiences, and what they want for their lives.
Given the diversity of this population, there is no single, simple set of rules for working with young men. The guidelines and suggestions below are a starting place. Use them cautiously, always paying attention to what is going on with the young men you are working with. Young men themselves should be the teachers and decision makers guiding prevention work.
In developing initiatives with young men, it is important to look at:
- What we know about young men and violence
- How boys become men
- Ways to engage young men in violence prevention
There are many exercises and readings on this site that can assist you in developing and improving violence prevention work with young men. You may want to review the exercises and readings in the Resources section to help you develop and improve your violence prevention work with young men. In addition we recommend the following readings and exercises as a general introduction to the topic
Promoting Prevention, Targeting Teens: An Emerging Agenda to Reduce Domestic Violence is a publication by the Family Violence Prevention Fund covering risk factors for young women and men and some promising prevention approaches.
Young Men’s Work: Stopping Violence & Building Community by Allan Creighton and Paul Kivel (Hazelden 1995/98) is a practical guide for working with young men on violence, relationships, and community. For ordering information go to www.paulkivel.com.
Last modified 2004-09-07 02:39 PM