When talking to young men (your sons, brothers, nephews, students, athletes, and youth in your community), there are many ways you can begin the lifelong conversation about their role in ending and preventing violence against women:
- Ask young men to tell you what they think it means to be a "man." It helps the conversation if you know where they are coming from.
- Tell young men that they can be strong and sensitive, masculine and emotional, without using violence.
- Teach young men that they have the power to change themselves and their world in positive ways - through kindness, acceptance, and appreciation of everyone.
- Teach young men to express anger without using violence.
- Teach young men that violence against women is not acceptable. They have the power and the right to speak out and react appropriately and respectfully when they see violence happening on any level.
- Encourage them to challenge jokes, media images, comments, and behaviors that seem abusive or violent toward women.
- Suggest that young men talk to women and girls about their experiences. It is important to listen to women express their needs and realities.
- Remind young men that violence against women is everyone's issue. We need to work side by side with one another - men and women, all races, all cultures - in a unified commitment to one common goal of a safe and peaceful world for everyone.
- Remind young men that they do not need to buy into the violent role models depicted in the media. Young men are bombarded daily by images and messages that may subconsciously become part of their reality. They may not be aware that they are engaging in subtly offensive behaviors or using hurtful or inappropriate language.
- Remind young men that they are responsible for all of their choices and behaviors. Encourage young men to discuss and really think about their own behaviors. Nobody can "make" them be violent and there is never a justifiable reason to hurt, abuse, or threaten someone else.
For more information on teaching young men about ending violence against women, visit the Family Violence Prevention Fund Web site.