Gender-Based Violence is ‘any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life’. (Economic and Social Council, UN, 1992)
Violence Against Women (VAW) is the result of inequalities between women and men and a culture of violent masculinity. Though not all men use violence, most have traditionally been silent on the subject, complicit through their lack of action. However in recent years, growing numbers of men have begun to speak out against VAW, understanding that it is not just an abstract problem that affects women in poor countries, but that in many cases it has also affected their own mothers, sisters, partners, daughters and friends.
Engaging men and boys has emerged as a vital strategy for ending gender based violence. While prevention and response activities are essential, the humanitarian community service providers understand that they must move beyond simply addressing each individual case of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and begin to address the societal, cultural, economic, religious and political systems that either perpetuate or allow for violence based on gender to continue. The incorporation of boys and men into the struggle to end VAW is complex, and often requires that they themselves confront their own masculinity and the patriarchal order, and question their own psychological and social identity. This requires attitudinal change, systems change and behavioural change – largely on the part of men and boys who continue to be the vast majority of perpetrators. Men and boys have to be engaged to build understanding that it is their actions and their attitudes that continue to put women and girls at-risk and they have to be engaged to put a stop to it.
This blog is one such initiative that is trying to engage boys and young men on the issue of societal peace building by addressing gender based violence. This blog is the part of MenEngage Regional website <www.menengage-asiapacific.org>