Ten Simple Prevention Steps for Men
- Learn from men who are currently doing prevention work
Visit A Call to Men to learn about men in the United States, and around the world, who are striving to reduce intimate partner and sexual violence. A Call to Men has tons of resources and videos created specifically for men who want to take action. The more we know the better we can be.
- Engage in challenging conversations with your friends, family, and peers
There are great documentaries available to help start important discussions around masculinity, social influences on men, and victims/survivors experiences with sexual violence. The Mask You Live In, Tough Guise, The Hunting Ground, Audrie and Daisy, and Boys and Men Healing are all powerful films guaranteed to spark conversation. Some of these films are available on streaming services. From challenging conversations come culture change.
- Refuse to tell or laugh at sexist jokes AND speak up to a friend who behaves in a sexist, racist, or homophobic way
What you say matters and sends messages. If you or a friend make a sexist joke those around you take that as your belief. You can call out this inappropriate behavior by simply saying “that’s not funny.” For other examples of what to say, check out this witty video that highlights the role men can play to prevent street harassment: Sh*t Men Say to Men Who Say Sh*t to Women on the Street.
- If you see something, say something by being an active bystander
Being an active bystander means you are looking out for those around you and will intervene on situations that look suspicious, uncomfortable, or even potentially unsafe. There are many ways to intervene, NoMore and It’sOnUs offer scenarios with different intervention strategies and bystander tips. There are so many ways you can be an active bystander, just remember it is important that you stay safe too when intervening. It is on all of us to keep each other safe, if you see something speak up.
- Discuss expectations with your sexual partners
Communication is the key to consent. Consent is the key to healthy, happy, good sex. Consent is simply getting and giving permission to do something. If someone say no, then don’t do it. If they say yes and you also want to do it, then go on and do it! For even more information on consent read the article Driver’s Ed for the Sexual Superhighway: Navigating Consent. Make sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to sex. To learn more about what you are comfortable consenting to and how to talk about it try filling out this Yes, No, Maybe: A Sexual Inventory Stocklist worksheet.
- Are you a sports fan? Combine your love for sports with sexual violence prevention
We often see stories in the news involving athletes and sexual violence. Sports culture is very powerful and influential. What if this power and influence could be used to develop healthy relationship skills for youth while they play the sport they love? Well it can! If you are a coach you can use the Coaching Boys Into Men curriculum to help your team of youth learn valuable skills for respect. This curriculum is free to download, so even if you are not a coach you can share this resource with your community’s sports team leaders.
- Reflect on what being a man means to you
Society has many expectations around what it means to be a real man. Some of these expectations are limiting, unrealistic, and even harmful. Men are often told to behave and act in specific “manly” ways to be seen and respected as a man. What really matters is how you personally define being your own man and what your values are. Watch this video to learn more about the idea of the “Man Box.” Hear Terry Crews speak on his reflection of how he used to think about masculinity here.
- Become involved in policy work
Your voice and vote has power, use it! There are laws and polices around sexual violence, especially harassment, at the federal level, state level, and at your local businesses and schools level. Politicians even take stances on sexual violence. Use your voice and vote to show you find these policies important. MNCASA is here to help you begin your policy involvement with our Back to Basics: Policy 101 resource.
- Support victims/survivors in your life
Chances are you already know at least one victim/survivor, whether you are aware of it or not. The best thing you can do is simply believe someone when they tell you they have seen sexually assaulted. Your role is to listen and provide the support they ask for. Visit MNCASA’s website for more helpful tips on ways to support victims/survivors.
- Ask your local sexual violence advocacy agency how you and/or a group of your colleagues could assist in prevention efforts
One of the best ways to actively do prevention work is by doing the ground work. There are many different ways you can be involved and volunteer for your local advocacy agency. Host a donation or fundraising drive, attend their events, volunteer to cook, clean, do yard work, or participate in their prevention programing. As mentioned above your support speaks volumes.
- BONUS! Be accountable and apologize
We are all going to make mistakes and potentially cause harm at some point in our lives. What matters is we own our actions, recognize when we are wrong or cause harm, genuinely apologize for the mistake, and change our actions moving forward. None of us will be perfect, but we can always strive to do better.
Prevention Preventionists National
Last modified: 7/7/2022