|Photo by Thirdman on Pexel.|
By Eneojo Innocent
Men and boys can be great allies in the race to stop gender-based violence. Ending the menace that is gender-based violence is a global priority and requires a collective effort.
Here are 10 ways men and boys can fight gender-based violence.
1) Create A Safe, Violence and Trauma Free Environment for The Children:
Avoid violence against intimate partners. This breaks the cycle of violence and shows children that violence is not okay.
2) Build Father-Child(Ren) Bond In Your Home:
Genuinely caring for and being involved in how the family runs, the way chores are handled, the health and well-being of each member of the family, and the importance of bonding with spouses and children helps to reduce the rate of violence against women and girls and fosters a better emotional bond and balance.
3) Strip Away Toxic Masculinity And ‘Manliness’ Ideas:
Fathers should help their sons dismiss the societal misconception that the context of masculinity and manliness is rooted in strength, dominance, and a lack of emotions. Doing this may change attitudes to seeking and receiving sexual relations, build a better expression of emotions and thus, reduce violence against women and children.
4) Learn to Listen:
Men should teach boys to speak up and create a healthy listening atmosphere. People should be allowed to speak and be heard when they share a story detailing their abuse. Men should also encourage boys to speak up and act when girls and women are abused or disrespected.
5) Ask If You Can Help:
As a man or a boy, if you suspect that a woman (or anyone else) close to you is being abused or has been sexually assaulted, gently ask if you can help…then ask how you can.
6) Understand and practice consent:
Any activity of sexual nature carried out without the other party’s consent is considered sexual violence. Men and boys should recognize this and ensure that they know and understand why consent is vital.
7) Avoid Behaviors That Humiliates and Harms Women and Girls:
Men and boys should avoid abusive behavior such as rape, assault, catcalling, sexism, bullying (online or in person), slut shaming, revenge porn, sex trafficking, etc.
8) Start A Conversation:
Share your experience with sexual violence – when you can – to help dismantle the stigma, stereotype, and taboo associated with gender-based violence and sex conversions concerning men.
9) Become A Connected Ally:
Make a conscious effort to recognize and speak out against all forms of sexual abuse, especially those that seem subtle: catcalling, making inappropriate and discriminatory sexual comments, giving unwanted sexual attention, and sharing sexist jokes demeaning women. Also, call out every institutionalized misogyny and erasure of women in society.
10) Mentor Others:
Mentor and teach boys and young men how to be men in ways that don’t involve degrading or abusing girls and women (or anyone). Volunteer to work with gender violence prevention programs and participate actively in the 16 Days of Activism Campaign, including anti-sexist men’s programs. Lead by example.
Ending gender-based violence benefits all of us.