Practical things men can do

Violence against women will only cease when men join with women to put an end to it.

Practical things men can do to help end violence against women:

1. Listen to women.

Who knows better about violence against women than women who experience it? Learn by asking a woman who trusts you how violence has affected her life. Then, if she feels comfortable to talk, sit back and listen.

2. Learn about the problem.

The basic rights that most men enjoy — safety in their homes, ability to go out at night, a job free of harassment — can be a source of fear for women. Women are most at risk from men they know — husbands, boyfriends, fathers, relatives, employers, and caregivers

3. Learn why some men are violent.

Men are not naturally violent. Studies over the past century have found that half of the tribal societies studied had little or no violence against women, children, or among men. Men’s violence is a result of the way many men learn to express their masculinity in relationships with women, children, and other men.

4. Wear a white ribbon.

Change will occur if we each accept personal responsibility to make sure it happens. As men who care about the women in our lives, we can take responsibility to help ensure that women live free from fear and violence. Wearing a white ribbon is your personal pledge never to commit violence against women.

5. Challenge sexist language and jokes that degrade women.

Sexist jokes and language help create a climate that accepts forms of violence and abuse. Words that degrade women reflect a society that has historically placed women in a second class position. One of the most difficult things for men is to learn to challenge other men.

6. Learn to identify and oppose sexual harassment and violence in your workplace, school, and family.

Flirting and joking are fine only if they are both consensual and wanted. Unwanted sexual advances or sexually oriented remarks or behaviour that are not welcomed by another person are not acceptable.

7. Support local women’s programmes.

Around the world, dedicated women have created support services for women who are survivors of men’s violence: refuges, rape crisis centres, counselling services, and legal aid clinics. These and other women’s organisations deserve men’s support and our financial backing.

8. Examine how your own behaviour might contribute to the problem.

If you’ve ever been physically violent against a woman, if you’ve committed sexual assault, then you have been part of the problem. If this happened long ago, admit what you did was wrong and make amends if possible. But if such behaviour has any chance of continuing, then you urgently need to get help getting to the root of your problem.

9. Work towards long-term solutions.

Ending violence against women won’t happen overnight.. Changes in attitude, behaviour, and institutions take time. We must look at how we raise future generations. We must teach our children, by example, that all forms of violence are unacceptable, and that for boys to become men, they do not need to control or dominate women, men, or children.

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