Sunday, March 15, 2015

Real Men Do Not Hurt Others: Ending Sexual and Gender Based Violence by Working with Men and Boys on Positive/Transformative Masculinities

Nowadays, more attention has been placed on men to work together with women on gender socializing and peace building. In this session, three men shared their experiences of how they transformed masculinities from a Christian perspective. The first one, from The Center of Violence Prevention based in Quebec, Canada, emphasized children’s rights. He believed that children should be safe, strong, and free, including rights and responsibilities. When he works with children, there is no sexual segregation. Because power plays a role in every relationship, resistance always occurs when power is taken away.  Traditionally, females lack opportunities and tools, whereas males are socialized to participate in the world in different ways. Therefore, he teaches the next generation not to use power in an arbitrary way and to react tactfully in the complex societal dynamics, with the strength-based approach to gender responsiveness. In other words, men must think about their roles regarding the marginalization and injustice of women.

The second speaker from Sonke Gender Justice has been working with the Catholic and Lutheran Church for social justice in South Africa. He stated that the biblical perspective had a stronger element of masculinity. He believed that fathers and men are critical in building the capacity of the next generation in realizing gender equality.

The third speaker from Christian Aid, a development agency based in the UK, has mobilized Christian leaders for the movement of speaking in once voice about gender justice. He identified himself as a feminist who has supported engaging men and boys as essential to gender justice. However, he was also mentioned his disappointment at seeing so few men at the CSW Conference.  

Christian Aid focuses on the alternative way of non-violent masculinity for women’s rights in 40 countries for a total transformation of gender perspective. The best way to get possible solutions to work is by using partners in all of these countries as they are all under similar the cultural norms and practices.  For instance, they collaborate with the Center of Violence Prevention in Nicaragua to change the traditional perceptions of men in order to break the cycle of violence against women and foster the culture of peace. This project was formed by a group of psychologists and social professionals in 1997 to challenge masculinity and patriarchal relationships to promote equal relations. 

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