Since 2003, the IRC has been working to engage men in gender-based violence prevention, as a key primary intervention. While violence against women and girls takes various forms in different communities and countries, it stems from gender inequality and the patriarchal norms and beliefs that shape how individuals and groups are socialized. These cultural norms – and the institutional structures and every day practices that result from them – lead to gender-based violence.
In conflict settings, when these norms are compounded by militarized versions of masculinity and a breakdown of law and order, women and girls are at even greater risk. At the same time, periods of conflict can provide openings and inspiration for challenging old ways of being and exploring new and transformative ideas. Working with men and boys in the wake of conflict can present opportunities for reflection on negative patterns and behaviors. This kind of awareness-raising and analysis of gendered socialization can be an important step toward creating a world where women and girls are valued, equal and free from violence.
Based on our evidenced-based curriculum and best practices, we developed Preventing Violence Against Women & Girls: Engaging Men through Accountable Practice (EMAP), a primary prevention resource package that contains an ten-month individual behavior change intervention created with conflict affected communities, which aims to reduce violence against women and girls by addressing its root causes. EMAP offers an innovative primary prevention model for engaging men in transformative individual behavior change in a post-conflict context, guided by the input and realities of the women in their communities.
The EMAP package will offer practitioners a field-tested resource to guide efforts in preventing gender-based violence.