Thousands of ambassadors, cabinet ministers, government officials and members of non-governmental organizations gather for the next two weeks at the United Nations for the annual meetings of the Commission on the Status of Women. The focus this year is the elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls.
I’m honoured to be taking part once again. I’m even more excited by the presence of so many men and organizations working with men and boys.
But most of all, I’m excited by the across-the-board realization in the UN, among member governments, in women’s organizations and the NGO community as a whole that if we are going to end this violence, then we absolutely must engage men.
After all, it is some men who are committing the violence and the vast majority of men who have remained silent. Through their silence from pulpits and parliaments and police stations and positions of prestige and power, men have allowed the violence to continue.
As more men step forward to work as allies with women, respecting the leadership women continue to provide, we actually stand a chance of drastically reducing men’s violence against women.
My colleagues from the Men Engage Alliance, the White Ribbon Campaign, Promundo (Brazil/USA), Sonke Gender Justice (South Africa), and many others will be there. MenEngage and the UNFPA will launch a number of publications, including three briefing papers for which I was the principle writer.
One of those, “Sexual Violence in Conflict and Post-Conflict: Engaging Men and Boys,” looks at the varied roles of men in relation to this violence: as perpetrators, survivors, witnesses, peacekeepers, police and soldiers, service providers and change makers. And it looks at some of the things we must do if we’re going to successfully bring this violence to an end. Click here for the PDF.
On Sunday, Michele Bachelet, the head of UN Women, and I will be giving the two keynotes at the orientation day for teen delegates. On Monday, I speak at a panel hosted by the Norwegian Minister of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion focused on why there is still so much violence against women in societies with relatively high degrees of gender equality. And on Tuesday, I’m on a panel hosted by the Danish Minister for Gender Equality, that looks at violence and social control.
Here are links to two articles focused on engaging men to end violence against women:
“The 7 P’s of Men’s Violence” (Also available in Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, Estonian, French, Hungarian, Italian, Spanish, Persian/Farsi, Russian, Turkish, and Vietnamese at www.michaelkaufman.com/articles.)
And do check out some of my recent blogs (below): “Feminism: Helping Men be Free” and “Men: Which Side Will You Be On? Sexual Violence in India”