Men’s Engagement

What is men’s engagement?

Men and boys play a critical role in helping to prevent sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. Men can choose not to perpetrate acts of violence and challenge those men who do. They can also challenge ideals and attitudes which support violence against women.

Why should men care?

Because men abuse: Men commit the great majority of domestic and sexual violence. Even when men are victimized, other men are most often the perpetrators.

Because men are abused: We often don’t think or talk about it, but it’s a fact. Men are not immune to the epidemics of domestic and sexual violence. Nor are male survivors safe from the stigma that society attaches to victims. When reporting abuse, male survivors are often doubted, called gay, or blamed for their own victimization. Frequently they respond, as do many female survivors, by remaining silent and suffering alone.

Because violence confines men: Taking into account that 97% of domestic and sexual violence is perpetrated by men, it becomes virtually impossible for women to distinguish from “safe guys” and men who are dangerous, and may potentially abuse. The result is a society with its guard up. Relationships with men are approached with fear and mistrust. Intimacy is limited by the constant threat of violence.

Because men know survivors: At some point in every man’s life, someone close to him will likely disclose that they are a survivor of abuse. Men must be prepared to respond with sensitivity, compassion, and understanding. Ignorance on the part of men can only hinder the healing process and may even contribute to the survivor feeling even more victimized. A supportive male presence during a survivor’s recovery, however, can be invaluable.

Because men can stop abuse: Abuse is about maintaining power and control. For abuse to stop, men must be empowered to make different choices. All men can play a vital role in this process by speaking to other men about behaviors that support abuse, and by raising awareness about the damaging impact of abuse.

What can men do?

Define your own manhood: Consider how common messages like “don’t take no for an answer” play a role in creating unhealthy and unsafe relationships. Choose what kind of man you want to be.

Understand from a female’s perspective: Ask a woman you know how the fear of violence has affected her daily life? Does she know someone who has been assaulted? How has it affected her? Listen and learn.

Get a guy’s perspective: Ask a friend  how it might feel to be feared because of his gender? How would he react if a woman or girl in his life ‐ his mother, a sister, a girlfriend, or a friend ‐ was assaulted?

Take note of pop culture’s messages: Daily, we’re surrounded by movies, TV shows, music, magazines, and video games that sometimes communicate harmful messages about masculinity and relationships. Ask how images in popular culture affect how you view yourself and women.

Choose your words carefully: When you put down women, you support the belief that they are less than human. It is easier to ignore a woman’s decisions or well‐being if she is seen as inferior. Choose respectful language.

Support survivors of abuse: Violence against women will not be taken seriously until everyone knows how common it is. By learning to sensitively support survivors in their lives, men can help both women and other men feel safer to speak out about being abused and let the world know how serious and common the problem is.

Pledge to be a man of strength: Pledge to use your strength for promoting gender respect, and not for hurting others.

Stand up: You may never see domestic or sexual violence in progress, but you will hear attitudes and see behaviors that degrade women and promote a culture of violence. For example, when your friend tells a rape joke, let him know it’s not funny.

Get involved: Join or donate to an organization working to prevent violence against women. Rape crisis centers, domestic violence agencies, and men’s anti‐rape groups count on donations for their survival and always need volunteers to share the workload.

 

To get involved locally, call the Saginaw County Men’s Campaign Coordinator at 989-399-0007  ext. 106