Dec 052008

As part of our continuing coverage of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, today we are highlighting efforts to involve men in ending  violence against women.  As we have noted before, this is not a problem that can be solved by women alone, men must become involved in order to truly achieve positive change.  This year we are pleased to see numerous efforts around the world to include men in this very important campaign:

In Mexico:

Posters such as the one here popped up on bus stops and billboards along my route to work across central Mexico City last week.

They feature men well known in Mexico — journalists, sports personalities, actors and singers — asking that their fellow males stop beating up and abusing women.

The captions on this poster say: “From man to man, more respect, let’s learn to listen to and work with women. Let’s be more fair, more like men,” and “Punches? Against a woman? Never!”

The campaign is being run by the National Women’s Institute.

In South Africa:

The South African NGO Sonke Gender Justice (Sonke), works within a human rights framework to promote gender equality and reduce the spread and impact of HIV and AIDS.

To increase men’s commitment to gender equality, Sonke Gender Justice is currently implementing its One Man Can (OMC) Campaign in all of the country’s nine provinces and a number of 8 Southern African countries.

The purpose of the OMCC is twofold: to challenge the attitudes and behaviours held by men that compromise their own health and safety as well as the health and safety of women and children; and to encourage men to become actively involved in responding to gender based violence and the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Sonke Gender Justice currently implements OMCC workshops with various groups of men in communities across South Africa and has provided training on the OMCC to a broad range of key stakeholders including government departments at the national and provincial levels as well as to traditional healers, faith based leaders, the police, youth serving organizations, in and out of school youth, teachers and other CBOs and NGOs.

In Montenegro:

A coalition of interested parties in Montenegro is marking a global campaign against sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) by encouraging fathers and father figures to set an example to young males.

The Montenegrin initiative was launched by the UN refugee agency and partners to coincide with the annual 16 Days of Activism to Eliminate Violence Against Women, an international campaign originating from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991. The 16 days began on November 25.The father project, drawing on material provided by the United States-based Family Violence Prevention Fund, has been developed and funded by UNHCR, sister UN agencies, the Montenegrin government, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Fund for an Open Society and popular local sport coaches, Petar Porobic and Igor KolakovićIn the deeply patriarchal Montenegrin society, the campaign calls upon fathers and father figures, including teachers, mentors, uncles, older brothers and sports coaches to lead by example and teach boys that all forms of violence against women are wrong. It emphasizes the importance of the father as a role model to the son.Some 10,000 campaign posters have been distributed in schools, health centres and social welfare centres around the country. Several sports associations are supporting the campaign, with players wearing campaign T-shirts before matches. Billboards broadcast the messages of tolerance and respect, while TV and radio spots are being aired for free.

In New Zealand:

Men are being encouraged to wear a white ribbon and take a stand against domestic violence today.

White Ribbon Day, started by a men’s group in Canada in 1991, has now been designated by the United Nations as the official day to mark the campaign to eliminate violence against women.

The day has been organised by the Families Commission and more than 500,000 ribbons will be handed out. The ribbons were packaged by Rimutaka Prison inmates, with $357,000 funding supplied by eight government departments, including the Social Development Ministry, Justice Ministry and police.

It was hoped the campaign would challenge men’s attitudes toward violence, Social Development and Employment Minister Paula Bennett said. “The vast majority of Kiwi men are decent blokes, loving dads, and caring partners. But there is no escaping grim statistics that show most violence by men against women takes place in the home.”

In Scotland:

Police in Dumfries and Galloway have asked men in the region to “stand up and be counted” in a campaign against domestic abuse.

Officers in the region are called out to between three and four such incidents every 24 hours.

Deputy Chief Constable George Graham has urged men to join in the national White Ribbon campaign.

He said that the majority of men were not violent and they had to speak out against such crimes.

Mr Graham said the campaign was an opportunity for people to promise they would never “commit or condone” violence against women.

“Across the UK 25% of all violent crime is domestic violence and violence against women,” he said.

“You can see that if we can get men to stand up and be counted it would make a big difference.”

 December 5, 2008  Posted by on December 5, 2008

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