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Sexual Violence Prevention with Men and Boys as a Social Justice Issue

From: Flood, M. (2018). Engaging men and boys in violence prevention. Springer.

ABSTRACT: Efforts to reduce and prevent sexual assault over the past three decades have shown an increasing emphasis on engaging men and boys in prevention. For example, there is an increase in projects and initiatives aimed at men and boys in violence prevention sectors. There is also a proliferation of projects and organisations with a defining focus on engaging men and boys in violence prevention. An increased focus on engaging boys and men in violence prevention is true for the violence prevention field in general, as well as violence prevention efforts within specific settings, such as universities. In North America for example, historically most prevention efforts were ‘risk reduction’ or ‘risk avoidance’ programs focused on how young women could lessen their risks of victimisation (for a review, see Orchowski et al. 2018). However, a 2014 survey of 83 universities found that half were engaging men in prevention efforts as well through gender-neutral approaches, and one-quarter were using gender-neutral and gender-informed approaches to engage men in prevention (McGann, 2014). The violence prevention plans of state and national governments in various Western countries also show an increased attention to engaging men and boys as one stream of prevention activity. In addition, a field of ‘engaging men’ or ‘work with men and boys’ has developed internationally, involving gender-conscious initiatives and interventions aimed at men and boys (Flood, 2015a). Although gender-conscious initiatives and interventions internationally addresses various issues including parenting, sexual and reproductive health, parenting, and education, violence against women is a significant focus (World Health Organization, 2011). The field is represented at the international level by MenEngage, a network of hundreds of organisations involved in engaging men in building gender equality, and many devote energies to men’s roles in stopping gender-based violence. And finally, there is a growing body of scholarship assessing the effectiveness of this work, including systematic and narrative reviews (Barker, Ricardo, & Nascimento, 2007; Shari L Dworkin, Treves-Kagan, & Lippman, 2013; Graham et al., 2019; Ricardo, Eads, & Barker, 2011).

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