Making the Case to Men & Boys
When we talk about working with men and boys to prevent gender-based violence, the question often comes up: What's in it for men? Here are some talking points that men can use with other men and boys to answer this question.
- Violence hurts our daughters, sisters, mothers, and aunts-we need to take a stand against it.
- Violence hurts us too-some of us have suffered from violence and sexual abuse, and many men have suffered emotionally, in relationships, and spiritually from the limited notions of what it means to be a man.
- Many of us grow up with the idea that we have to be tough and aggressive to be a "real man." But this thinking robs us of our ability to be whole men. We don't need that kind of "real man"-we need real relationships with the people we care about and real peace in our families and communities.
- If we are not part of the solution to violence, we are part of the problem. Our silence makes us complicit.
- When men get involved in trying to prevent gender-based violence, we are also helping to solve other social and health problems, such as impoverished single-parent families, high incarceration rates, and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS. Sexual harassment, domestic violence, and rape all directly or indirectly contribute to these problems, so taking a stand against this violence will create healthier communities for all of us.
- Gender-based violence has tremendous economic costs for our society, such as the costs of medical care, loss of work, and law enforcement. These costs can motivate some men to get involved in prevention.
- Violence is about power and oppression. Gender-based violence is about maintaining the privilege men have over women and straight men have over gay men. Many other forms of privilege and inequality are related to this gender-based inequality: white people over people of color, adults over youth, native-born people over immigrants, for example. Challenging gender-based violence is an important way for men to challenge oppression as a whole, including the oppression they suffer.
Use this question to help you and your colleagues think about what might motivate men and boys to get involved in violence prevention, and how you can talk with them about it.
- Do you expect men to play a role in preventing violence against women without any benefit to themselves? Why or why not?
Role Play: It’s Not My Business
This exercise helps you to look more closely at motivating men and boys to get involved. It uses role playing to develop skills and talking points to motivate men who are reluctant or resistant.
Use this exercise in a group setting to explore participants’ understanding of and attitudes about men’s motivations for getting involved in preventing gender-based violence.
- Break the group into groups of four participants.
- In each foursome, ask one person to play the Male Motivator and one person to play the Male Resistor; the other two members are Observers. Please note that women can play men.
- Give the Motivators a copy of the talking points “Making the case to men and boys”
- Ask the Motivators to read the list, and explain that their task is to persuade the Resistors to get involved in violence prevention. Ask the Resistors to think of reasons why it is not their business to get involved.
- Tell the Motivator and Resistor in each group to begin the role play. Allow it to run for several minutes. Stop, and ask the Observers to give feedback to the Motivators on how well they did.
- Swap roles in each group, with the two Observers becoming the Motivator and the Resistor, and repeat steps 2 – 4.
- Bring everyone back together as one group and sum up the talking points that are most effective for motivating men and boys to prevent violence.
In Our Own Words
Read why young and adult men have gotten involved in trying to stop gender-based violence.
Go to the Discussion Board to see what people are saying about motivating men and boys and share your own experiences.
Concepts in Depth
Highlighting the Costs of Gender-Based Violence by James Lang
This short article outlines some of the direct and indirect costs of gender-based violence. With estimates of the costs of violence so astoundingly high, an economic argument can be compelling for policy makers to allocate more funds to prevention.
See Countering Objections for advice on how to respond to colleagues' concerns about working with men and boys.
Last modified 2004-10-28 11:46 PM