Engaging Men in Men’s Violence Prevention

Exploring the Tensions, Dilemmas and Possibilities
What is the role of men in addressing men’s violence against women? In recent years, there have been numerous articles, discussion papers, books, conferences and government policy statements advocating the greater involvement of men in working against men’s violence and towards gender equality. The involvement of men in violence against women prevention movements has become institutionalised in the philosophies and policies of many international organisations (Flood 2005). In the Australian context, VicHealth (2007a) have also noted the recent shift from focusing on men as perpetrators of violence to involving them as partners in primary prevention strategies. A number of writers have argued that in associating men with violence, we should also ensure that men are part of the solution (Lang 2002a; Ruxton 2004; Flood 2005).
The aim of this discussion paper is to raise some questions and to encourage debate about the impact on gender equality of increasing men’s involvement in campaigns to end men’s violence against women. To address this issue, I have conducted a critical review of the literature on working with men as partners in violence prevention projects. I have also located this literature within theoretical debates about men’s privilege, men’s interests and men’s resistance to change. Finally, I consider the potential costs and benefits of working with men in projects to end men’s violence, with particular attention to the limitations of strength-based and male-positive approaches to engaging men and the need to formulate principles to lessen the dangers of men’s involvement.
This document written by Bob Pease, Chair in Social Work

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