Engaging Young Men as Allies in Ending Sexism and Violence against Girls
Over the first three years of our existence, the Young Women’s Action Team (YWAT) addressed issues of violence against girls and young women through our anti-street harassment and teen dating violence prevention work. We were aware though that we would not be successful in ending male violence against girls and young women without the help and support of boys and young men.
We had always tried to engage young men in our activities but we decided in mid-2006 that we needed to be explicit in our desire to solicit the support of boys in ending violence against girls and young women. In much the same way that we do everything in our group, we embarked on a research project so that we could hear the voices and understand young men’s perspectives on male violence against girls and young women. We decided that film would be a good way to document this research.
The YWAT worked with Beyondmedia Education, a local organization that focuses on using video and film to affect social change, to produce the documentary. Our two documentary project coordinators, Shannon Bittner and Crystal Villanueva, led us as a group through many discussions to help frame the questions that we wanted to ask and the themes that we wanted to cover.
The Engaging Young Men as Allies Project had five parts to it:
1. Developing a documentary about how to engage young men as allies in ending violence against girls and young women.
2. Creating a discussion guide to go along with the film.
3. Developing a workshop along with young men about how they can be allies in addressing sexism and male violence against girls.
4. Creating a male ally train the trainer session.
5. Documenting what we have learned and sharing our findings.
This was an important project because we believe that the only way to end violence against women and girls is to get men involved in the discussion. The statistics and our own observations show us that men cause most of the violence so they should have the biggest part in solving the problem. We have been gratified over the past few years to have cultivated terrific male allies to help further the message that violence against young women and girls is plain wrong and immoral.
You can preview our film called “Real Talk” below: