Advocacy means taking direct action in support of, or opposition to, a social or political policy development. Violence against women hinders the realization of a wide range of developmental goals. These goals include the elimination of poverty and the fulfillment of human rights. Men should be involved in the advocacy against gender-based violence. Gender-based violence is a crime against humanity and can be sexual, physical, psychological, and economic. Women and girls are the primary victims of gender-based violence, although there are far fewer instances of males as victims. Ending gender-based violence also requires the collaboration of all community members including men. Men and boys must be key players in the evolution of the global gender equality movement. There is a need to educate men and increase their knowledge about gender-based violence. This article will focus on how men can be involved in the advocacy against gender-based violence.
How Men can Help to End Gender-Based Violence
Men as key decision-makers at the global, regional, national, community, and family levels, hold the key to ensuring gender equality. They also hold a key to ensuring the elimination of all forms of discrimination, including gender-based violence. Engaging men in the advocacy against gender-based violence is significant in creating safer environments for women. One example of a program that engages men to participate in the advocacy against gender-based violence is the Experts Meeting on Involving Boys and Men in Achieving Gender Equality. As men and boys represent half of the population in most countries they should be allies in ending gender-based violence. However, advocacy against gender-based violence can be more successful if both men and women are engaged in challenging the root causes of gender-based violence.
Additionally, educating men in the advocacy against gender-based violence should begin at an early age before they observe and/or exhibit violent behavior. Boy’s education on this topic at school age is essential to create a safe environment for girls.
How can Men Participate in the Advocacy Against Gender-based Violence
- Start by exercising your behavioral change
- Speak out against gender-based violence
- Use all avenues including social media networks to influence others
- Volunteer to work with organizations that fight against gender-based violence.
Creating a Safe Listening Space for Women
Men can be activists against gender-based violence by listening to a woman sharing a story of violence. A girl or woman sharing her story of violence is the first step in breaking the cycle of abuse. A man can support her by giving her the space she needs to speak up and be heard. Listening is broader than listening to women survivors, it means listening to activists and experts too. It helps them know what is needed to combat gender-based violence. Men need to listen and hear all the women and girls in their lives from home to school and workplace to the whole community.
Men Should Stand Against Rape Culture
Furthermore, men should stand against rape culture to participate in the advocacy against gender-based violence. It is fueled by persistent gender inequalities and attitudes about gender and sexuality. Rape culture affects us all, regardless of gender identity, sexuality, economic status, race, and age. Certain characteristics such as sexual orientation, disability status, and some contextual factors increase women’s vulnerability to violence. Men should establish policies of tolerance for sexual harassment and violence in the spaces in which they live, work, and play. They also need to be careful about what they say about women. They should also stop behavior that contributes to a society that humiliates and harms women and girls. Language is deeply embedded in culture, the words and phrases people use each day shape our reality.
How Men Can Stand Against Rape Culture
- Creating a culture of enthusiastic consent
- Speak out against the root causes
- Redefine masculinity
- Stopping victim blaming
- Having zero tolerance
- Broden their understanding of rape culture
Men should Support Women’s Organisations
To help fight against gender-based violence, men should donate to organizations that empower women. One example of an organization that supports women is UN Women. It works to end violence against women, assist survivors, and secure equal rights for women and girls everywhere. UN Women runs a 16 Days of Activism campaign against Gender-Based Violence from 25 November to 10 December each year. Men should also volunteer for local and national crisis hotlines to find out how can they best support them. They can support organizations and charities that work with local women-led organizations to tackle the root cause of violence. They can also donate any amount towards providing critical and timely care for women and girls who are survivors.
Studies review that gender-based violence is particularly evident in places where violent conflicts, military coups, displacement, and hunger are prevalent. Therefore, men have a role to play in their communities to help gender-based violence. They should create safe listening spaces for women, and support women’s organizations that fight against gender-based violence. Men should also stand against rape culture to participate in activism against gender-based violence. There is also a need to engage and educate men to help end gender-based violence.