The Role of Men in Ending Domestic Violence

Achieving gender equality is recognized as a societal responsibility that concerns and should fully engage men and as well as women and girls and requires partnerships between women and men”. – Commission on the Status of Women Forty-eighth Session

The fight against gender-based domestic violence has traditionally been carried by women and feminist movements. However, fighting against abuse is not only women’s work. Men play a crucial role in it. Educating and directing the young generations towards healthy masculinity is the key to eradicating it in the future. And men and boys play a big part in this effort.

Understanding Domestic Violence and Gender-Based Violence

According to the United Nations, “domestic violence” is defined as “a pattern of behavior that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner.” Abuse is physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that frighten, intimidate, terrorize, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, injure, or wound someone”. 

In the United States, it’s estimated that domestic violence affects 10 million people per year. Domestic violence impacts not only women but also men and children. However, women are usually the primary victims of this type of abuse.  

Why It Is Important to Engage Men in the Process of Eliminating Gender-Based Violence

Although domestic violence can affect both men and women, historically, men have often been the perpetrators of gender-based violence. This is often influenced by harmful patriarchal systems.

Here are some reasons why it’s crucial to include men and boys in the process of eliminating gender-based violence:

Fostering Healthy Masculinity

Fostering healthy masculinity since childhood is one of the best ways to prevent adults from engaging in abusive behavior.

What is healthy masculinity?

To create a society we can all feel safe, let’s redefine what healthy masculinity is. Healthy masculinity is not this stereotype of a man who is only soft and highly emotional. They’re not someone who likes to hang out with “the girls” all the time. And they aren’t someone who lacks all signs of traditional masculine traits.

Healthy masculinity is about a man who is comfortable in his skin. A man who prioritizes himself, his safety, and his mental health. This is someone who knows how to set boundaries, is respectful, and empathetic. He models healthy, loving, respectful relationships with his partner, family and friends. Healthy masculinity knows the importance of communicating with your partner. This person doesn’t need to reduce women’s voices and accomplishments to foster his own. He rejects strict stereotypes, is self-aware and pursues personal worth.

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, the days when the fight against domestic violence was only for women and feminist activists are over. As a society, we understand that the fight is for all of us. Men and boys have a voice and play a crucial role by modeling and promoting non-violence, empathy, and respect.

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