Engaging Men is…
A critical strategy in the effort to promote gender equity and end gender-based violence. It focuses on shifting the difficult reality that all men play a role in enabling violence and abuse to one that incites the opportunity all men have to stop it. Approaches to engage men must recognize that rigid gender roles, damaging power dynamics, and experiences with trauma create the need for their own healing and also affect how they spark social change.
The reality is that our world needs more men to be agents of change. The burden of advocating for communities to be free of gender-based violence has been disproportionately carried by women, trans, and non-binary people for too long. Engaging Men is about building a robust pipeline of diverse individuals, partners, allies, and more to inspire men from all walks of life to recognize and leverage their strengths to advocate for the health, safety, and wellbeing of all people in every community.
This site is a virtual hub to advance your strategic planning, program development, and implementation to meaningfully engage men to end and prevent domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.
Watch this Introductory Webinar to Learn How to Find What You Need on this Website!
5 Principles of Engaging Men
Violence is not inevitable.
Men perpetrate violence not because all men are bad or want to cause harm, but because all of us are surrounded by messages which say that to be violent, invulnerable, and controlling are what it means to be a man. Our approaches must open more ways for men to take action and show care, vulnerability, learning, and accountability.
Men have the power to make our communities safer
Social, political, and economic systems confer men positions of power and influence. Whether it is as peers, parents, or policymakers, all men can leverage their strengths, roles and this power to advocate for the health, safety, and wellbeing of all people in every community.
Relationships are essential
It is through relationships and shared values with individuals, groups, communities, and institutions that our efforts to engage men become meaningful and sustainable; and it is through men’s relationships with their families, workplaces, communities, other men, and themselves that they can create positive change.
Trauma and healing are principal
Men learn unhealthy ideas and behaviors often through witnessing or experiencing violence in family, relationships, media, and more. To interrupt cycles of violence, approaches to engage men must teach tools to build healthy relationships, connect with cultural roots, center healing, and recognize that survivors are always present.
The process is the program
Engaging men at every stage of generating ideas, developing content, facilitating sessions, and creating plans encourages collective ownership and opens opportunities for men to take meaningful action. Efforts to engage men will fail unless they meet men where they’re at with relevant and culturally-responsive messaging that acknowledges the impact that all forms of violence–racism, homophobia, ableism, transphobia–have on men’s experiences.
Key Resource on the Purpose of Engaging Men Approaches
Masculine Norms and Violence – Making the Connections
DESCRIPTION: This all-encompassing report makes clear the connections between masculine norms and violence (IPV, Child Sexual Abuse, Homicide, and more) through deep discussion of stereotypes, messages, and social institutions.
The Role of Men in Ending GBV
- All men can play meaningful roles in the movement to end gender-based violence through healing and action, whether as fathers, coaches, colleagues, siblings, elected officials, and beyond.
Heal, learn, and grow healthy relationships with themselves and others.
Model healthy behaviors for young people and other men.
Bring other men in as allies to end GBV.
Intervene when they hear or see abusive behaviors.
Share their stories as allies and survivors.
Support survivors of domestic and sexual violence in their lives.
Hold discussions about gender-based violence and masculinity.
Build an awareness campaign or programming in their school, organization, or community.
Advocate for gender equitable funding, salaries, and policies.
Key Engaging Men Strategies
Work engaging men in violence prevention continues to grow with greater evidence & resources on ‘how’ we engage men and ‘what’ we can do. A broad spectrum of interventions and engagements can be implemented including:
Programming with men that promotes healthy masculinity, gender equality, and positive bystander intervention, and respectful relationships.
Public education campaigns, including social marketing and media that feature short and long-term calls-to-action that men can take to end and prevent gender-based violence.
Work with fathers or men who are caregivers to be positive, trauma-informed role models to boys and young people overall.
Encouraging and training men to be facilitators, storytellers, coordinators, and leaders of anti-violence efforts.
Addressing the stigmas that prevent men from receiving mental health and victim service resources.
Centering cultural responsiveness and relevance—such as language, values, history, and representation—in programming.
Building knowledge within the anti-violence movement on the connections between gender-based violence and other forms of oppression such as racism, transphobia, and classism.
Leveraging the roles that men have as leaders and decision-makers to advocate within systems (i.e. education, workplaces, government) for gender equitable policies and culture.