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Beyond The Choir

Beyond The Choir

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Beyond The Choir

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  1. Beyond The Choir Jonathan Grove Pacific Lutheran University Men Against Violence Erin Casey University of Washington, Tacoma Social Work Program

  2. Agenda • Strategies for engaging men: implications from a qualitative study of men involved in anti-violence work (Erin Casey) • A continuum of readiness: A framework for thinking about engaging men at different “stages” of awareness (Jonathan Grove) • Questions and Discussion

  3. To examine the factors associated with recent initiation into anti-violence work or activities • To identify current engagement strategies, and assess participants’ perception of their effectiveness • To learn about how anti-violence involvement has impacted men – particularly when negotiating “bystander” moments Engaging Men Study– Erin Casey, UWT

  4. The study particulars… • The sample • 27 men: 16 in (or recently in) campus-based efforts, 11 in post-college / community settings • 1 identified as Latino, 26 as White • Ages 20-72 • 1-30 months of anti-violence involvement • From several communities around the U.S. • Procedure • Participants recruited primarily through listserves, announcements at meetings and by leaders of anti-violence organizations. • Participants contacted the researcher • Semi-structured interviews: 9 in person, 18 over the phone • Qualitative analysis using Grounded Theory

  5. Limitations • Almost exclusively a White sample • Biased by participant self-selection • Small, non-random sample limits generalizability • Focused primarily on engaging men to address “violence against women.” Does not address anti-violence/anti-oppression allies more generally.

  6. I. Men’s Pathways

  7. SENSITIZING EXPERIENCE Disclosure / witness Social justice consciousness Learning opportunity Influenced by women Hearing stories OPPORTUNITY EXPERIENCE Personal invitation / nomination Personal/ community connections Looking for community Job/volunteer-position seeking Men’s Pathways: A Model MAKING MEANING Compelled to action Shift in world view Joining with others ANTI- VIOLENCE INVOLVEMENT

  8. Compelled to action Charged with a mandate Seeing an addressable need Identifying own strengths Shift in world view Awareness of vulnerability of women Using a structural analysis Reassessing the past Joining with others Feeling connected Doing masculinity differently Meanings

  9. Action Charged with a mandate “Instead of seeing isolated incidences of people that I knew who had been assaulted, [I] started looking at that as a systemic issue. And I think once I started doing that, it was like, okay, how can I not? … And I think once I started putting that together… that it’s a generalizable experience. Even people who haven’t been assaulted experience some of this fear. I just knew what side of that I wanted to be on, and I knew that… not being active about it was being silent about it, and, therefore, in a sense condoning it.” (MAV27)

  10. World view • Reassessing the past “My part in DV work is part of my redemption, a part of reconciliation with my violent past. Not guilt or shame, but redemption.” (MAV31) “In my senior year, the girl I was dating was actually sexually assaulted [by someone else], and there was a lot of gray in the sense that I didn’t really recognize fully what had happened at the time… I was really affected by that, and I felt very powerless. You know, I wasn’t able to help her. I certainly blame myself a little bit for not realizing what had happened when it initially did.” (MAV2)

  11. Joining with others • Doing “masculinity” differently It was something about just sitting in a circle with a couple of guys and talking about, you know, how men dance compared to women, like how it’s not okay to put your hands above your head when you dance or something [laughs]. Just things like that, that you would never talk about just walking through campus or anything… and I thought that was really unique and really just honest, and it kind of lifts the weight off of your chest. Because I think a lot of the times, men walk around with this shield up, this… or we talk about the male stereotype box that we’re always living in. Even if we don’t want to, we’re still put into that box, and that was the first time in my life where I didn’t have that box around me. And I liked it. It was fun. (MAV30)

  12. II. Strategies for and Barriers to Engaging Men

  13. Barriers to gaining access • Non-personal approaches (media, large events, presentations) • Male privilege / “This doesn’t apply to me” • Negative approach to men • Men not identifying with the messenger • Ambivalence about “feminism” • Structural barriers

  14. Barriers to access… “I think that me being an older student, and having lived a little bit of life, I know that just about anything that is very honest about the problem turns men off. It’s not something we want to admit to. It’s not something we want to acknowledge. It’s not something that we willingly want to be confronted with.” MAV14 “I think that in terms of getting involved in women’s issues, one of the hesitations is I think a lot of guys think the guys that are involved are like my friend… meek, pony-tailed, soft-spoken, Birkenstocks…. And they don’t want to be associated with that kind of like, asexual, sort of meek stereotype.” MAV3 “…when people talk about this kind of stuff, I mean often women, some men too, when they talk about this kind of stuff to men, [the men] are being made to feel guilty as a man. Like, ‘All this sexism exists, and… it’s your fault.’ I think that’s what a lot of men are hearing. Regardless of whether that’s what people say, that’s what a lot of men are hearing.” MAV19

  15. STRATEGIES FOR DELIVERING THE MESSAGE • Strategies used by participants to engage men they have access to: • Meeting men where they are • Tailoring conversations • Using masculinity • Men see themselves reflected • Use of Self • Positive approach to men • Survivor stories • Embedded in broader conversations about relationships, sex • Creating compelling communities

  16. Delivery: Meeting men where they are • Tailoring the message “I don’t really go in with a set strategy of how I’m going to work with a person. I kind of go in, I feel out the situation, I see what’s going on, and we might not even get into that first day. It might just be me making friends with them that day and then talking about it at a later point. But I always go back to it.” MAV15 • Using masculinity “It may even be a cultural stereotype in and of itself, but I think guys tend to…they tend to like challenges and respond to them in a positive way for the most part. So if you can sort of frame it in that idea that, ‘We don’t want you to go against the norm simply for the sake of going against the norm; we want you to step up because this is something that we think is an important issue. Hopefully we’ve convinced you that it’s an important issue, and you know we want to challenge you to be the one to take a stand.’” MAV2

  17. Delivery: Meeting men where they are • Men see themselves reflected “I think it’s really important to show that the men that are already involved in this subject are average, normal people… Because I know that when I had heard presentations before I could never really relate to the person giving the presentation about sexual assault, and it’s never someone that I could see as someone who’s really similar to me. And so … the main thing I think has worked for us is that we’ve shown the men on our campus that the people, the men of [anti-violence group] are average Joe type guys. Like they’re a lot like you. They like to go out. They’ve been to a college party before. They have friends, possibly have girlfriends. And it’s because of either they know a victim of sexual assault, or they have girlfriends, and they don’t want a sexual assault to happen to them is why they get involved. And I think like if you could show men that it’s all right to speak up about this subject, more men are going to get involved.” MAV12

  18. Delivery: Use of Self “I will kind of just allow myself to become emotional and just say, ‘You know today was really rough at the meeting… when we talked about this one woman that was sexually assaulted on our campus.’ …Or I’ll say, ‘You know it’s just sometimes so scary thinking about raising a daughter when I know in five women will be physically or sexually abused some time in their lifetime.’ …Or if I get a really intense call on the hotline, you know I’ll come back and say… ‘I got a call from [a woman] and she was saying how her boyfriend is stalking her and how she’s scared he’s going to become violent towards her.’ You know? I do it because I want…like I want people to know that those issues are real, and …they’re in front of our face.” MAV28

  19. III. EnactingBystanderBehavior

  20. Enacting ally (bystander) behavior • How frequently did the participants respond when confronted with sexist or abusive comments or behavior (determined qualitatively)? NEVER -- 22% RARELY – 8% SOMETIMES – 44% MOST OR ALL OF THE TIME – 26% • No significant differences in intervening by length of involvement. Non-significant trend towards college participants intervening more frequently than non-college based activists.

  21. Influences on anti-violence bystander behavior NORMS * masculinity * group CONTEXT Take responsibility for acting Self-efficacy around taking action Implement action Notice the event Define event as actionable PERSONAL IDENTITY OUTCOME EVALUATIONS

  22. Bystanderconsiderations There’s no flashing light or sign that says like, “Hey this is really going on.” You know, in our conversation, we may just be joking around. There’s never some point where an exclamation point appears over somebody’s head that says he’s about to make a comment.” (MAV 2) “So it gets really complex because… you don’t want to make people feel bad about laughing. You don’t want to break up a flow of conversation. You don’t want to sort of damage your relationships. There’s all these different things to weigh in that moment.” (MAV28) “The idea of the cock block is big in our college society today, that men don’t want to be a cock block to another man. And so the idea of doing that to another man is kind of like part of man law that you’re not supposed to prevent another man, no matter if you know him or not, from hooking up with someone.” (MAV12) “It’s almost easier [to intervene] when you don’t know somebody. It’s kind of a bell curve. Like its easy [when you’re strangers] and then you get to know someone, and it gets harder and harder and then at some point… you start to get so familiar with that person that its easier again, because you know that it’s not going to end your relationship.” (MAV30)

  23. About 60% of men framed their involvement, or the issue of violence against women in terms of anti-sexism or social justice work. Participants fell along a continuum of engagement with this issue, suggesting the need for multiple, tailored strategies. • Few participants spoke about their own behavior, or possible complicity in sexism – they tended to talk about “other” men. • Most men become involved because of or through their pre-existing social networks. • Although most men in the study had extensive training about and opportunities to process “being an ally” most continue to struggle with enacting ally behavior, and many identified this as the “most” challenging part of their work. Some Observations…