Society for Social Work and Research

Sixteenth Annual Conference Research That Makes A Difference: Advancing Practice and Shaping Public Policy
11-15 January 2012 I Grand Hyatt Washington I Washington, DC

15813 Engaging Men In Preventing Violence Against Women: Organizational and Global Perspectives

Friday, January 13, 2012: 2:30 PM
Constitution D (Grand Hyatt Washington)
* noted as presenting author
Juliana M. Carlson, AM, Doctoral Student, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, St Paul, MN
Erin A. Casey, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Washington, Tacoma, WA
Jeffrey L. Edleson, PhD, Professor, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, St. Paul, MN
Tova B. Neugut, MSW, Doctoral Student, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor, MI
Richard Tolman, PhD, Professor, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor, MI
Ericka Kimball, MSW, Doctoral Student, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, St Paul, MN
Purpose: Ending violence against women is a global priority (United Nations, 2010; WHO, 2009). Global efforts to end violence against women must address gender and gender roles and include involving men (WHO, 2007). While Flood (2010) argues that ending violence against women necessarily involves men, the role of men engaged in this work is relatively unknown on a global scale. Although very recent surveys have been completed in particular geographic areas of the world, data has not been collected to foster a global perspective on engaging men in violence prevention, or on the range of possible organizational strategies for reaching out to men to give them a role to play in addressing violence. The purpose of this study was to describe the range of strategies used by violence prevention programs around the world to recruit and deepen men's involvement in the primary prevention of violence against women.

Method: Men's engagement programs were recruited through multiple global email listservs and online communities pertaining to violence prevention. “Engaging men” was defined as "men taking action to stop violence against women and children before it begins by advocating and creating respectful relationships.” Representatives from 29 organizations identified as implementing efforts to engage men in violence prevention were interviewed. In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted in English over the telephone or via Skype. Twenty-one men and 8 women from organizations in Africa, Europe, South and Southeast Asia, North America, Oceania, and South America were interviewed. Participating organizations were involved in a range of activities, from facilitating community-based men's groups to convening national or international anti-violence coalitions. Using Atlas.ti software and techniques drawn from grounded theory (Corbin & Strauss, 2007), the resulting transcripts were analyzed thematically by two coders. Constant comparison within and between cases was facilitated by the use of matrices (Miles & Huberman, 1994) to refine concepts emerging from the data

Results: Findings describe organizational strategies to recruit men and deepen engagement. Key recruitment strategies included creating concrete involvement opportunities in which men were asked to do something specific and tangible, using accessible outreach messages that men could readily connect to, and issuing intentional invitations seeking men's unique contributions. Four central concepts emerged to deepen men's engagement: a) rooting efforts and messages in the community context; b) moving beyond one-time workshops; c) maintaining a sense of hopefulness about men's strengths; and d) starting conversations with topics such as relationships and power rather than violence. Many organizations described framing their work as promoting gender equality. However, some organizations varied in their approach of doing separate targeted work with men or joint work with men and women in the context of gender-based violence.

Conclusions and Implications: This study illustrates key strategies across contexts for meaningfully involving men in violence prevention. The findings draw attention to how organizations address the challenges of reaching men to address issues that may cause defensiveness and lack of ownership. The findings also point to strategies for augmenting and evaluating community mobilizing frameworks pertinent to global anti-violence movements.

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