Curricula for Engaging Men and Boys
Preventing violence must include a change in the social norms that make violence acceptable.
Why Include Boys and Men?
Men and boys have the power to make a difference in the global movement to prevent violence against women and girls. Men and boys can
- Unlearn and refuse to adopt behaviors and actions that put women and girls down
- Intervene when they witness violence or hear degrading talk about women in their family, school or community
- Start or join a community or school campaign to prevent violence
- Raise sons to know what healthy communication and relationships look like
Examples of community leaders include:
- Class presidents
- Board members
- Business owners
Studies show that men and boys use violence against women at much higher rates than the opposite.1 Like girls and women, boys and men sort through the messages about relationships, violence and power they see and hear every day. As a group, men and boys enjoy certain privileges and advantages, such as greater access to certain jobs and higher wages. Individually though, like girls and women, they experience forms of oppression such as racism , classism, ableism, heterosexism and homophobia.
Not all boys and men are violent; however, they may have the power to get involved when they witness violence. Brothers, fathers, sons, nephews, grandchildren, friends, co-workers and neighbors may be positive role models. They may stand up against violence as it is happening. They may show masculinity that is non-violent and respectful of others.
1. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control. 2010. National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey. United States Department of Health and Human Services. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2011. Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance.
Consistently modeling how to respect women and girls is a primary and clear way to teach boys respect for women and girls from early on in life. Men and boys already in leadership positions can implement programs and policies that change behaviors and attitudes through a community.
Primary Prevention Approach For Men and Boys
Goal: prevent first time perpetration of dating or domestic violence. Many of these curricula challenge boys and men to look inward to:
- Educate themselves about the root causes of violence against women and girls.
- Change their behaviors that puts down or harm girls and women and to challenge other boys and men to do so, as well.
- Show their sons that healthy manhood includes kindness and displaying affection.
- Openly express all of their emotions – including sadness, fear and hurt.
Secondary and Tertiary Approaches For Men and Boys
Goal: address short-term consequences for abusive behavior and try to hold boys and men accountable for the violence.
These approaches to address men and boys can include:
- Educational workshops that meet one or more times.
- Public awareness campaigns directed at boys or men.
- Batterer intervention programs, which are for boys and men who have already been violent.
PCADV´s Curriculum Reviews
PCADV based the reviews on the growing body of evidence-based research about prevention work. In particular the Nine Principles of Prevention on the Prevention page were used to create an internal tool. This tool helped reviewers assess the effectiveness of the curricula, materials or campaigns listed below.
As a result, the reviews may offer some suggestions to broaden the impact. It is highly recommended that advocates review a number of curricula. This will help make sure a well-rounded prevention program is used that meets the needs of a community. Advocates should attempt to include as many of the nine principles as possible for each program offered.
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Ted Bunch of A Call to Men visits York's YWCA program on Sept. 24, 2013, challenging men to take a more active role in reducing domestic violence in their communities. A Call to Men is a New York-based nonprofit agency that teaches men and boys to develop loving and respectful attitudes toward women. Bunch met with Dee Baker, PCADV's Fund Development Director.