For decades, those working to prevent intimate partner violence have recognized the need to address the narrow definition of masculinity.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identifies “harmful norms around masculinity and femininity” as a risk factor for child maltreatment, teen dating violence, intimate partner violence, sexual violence, youth violence and bullying.1
These “harmful norms around masculinity” involve a definition of masculinity based on power over others, violence, sex, status, and aggression. Men are forced into a narrow definition of what is considered a “man.”2
Working to engage men and boys in the prevention of domestic violence includes building a more inclusive definition of masculinity.
The CDC’s technical package on preventing IPV highlights how prevention professionals can utilize trusted male adults and peers to develop this inclusivity:
“Trusted adults and peers are important influencers of what adolescents and young adults think and expect and how they behave. Beliefs and attitudes about the acceptability of violence and about gender equity are predictive of IPV perpetration.”Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Wilkins, N., Tsao, B., Hertz, M., Davis, R., Klevens, J. (2014). Connecting the Dots: An Overview of the Links Among Multiple Forms of Violence. Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Oakland, CA: Prevention Institute.
- Kivel, Paul. Boys Will Be Men: Raising Our Sons for Courage, Caring and Community. New Society, 1999.