Men4Respect - Young men's program
Men4Respect is R4Respect’s young men’s program. Young men are challenging their peers to think differently about gender roles and relationships to promote positive values and actions by men.
Young men's program
R4Respect’s young men’s mentoring and education program enables young men to challenge violence-supportive attitudes and actions with other young men and boys. The aim is to build understanding of more positive forms of masculinity – to overcome the culture of male dominance and instead build gender equality and a valuing of diversity.
We don’t believe that young men need to redefine masculinity. Rather, young men need to reclaim masculinity – the positive and respectful ideals of being a man.
Men4Respect supports young men and boys from diverse backgrounds to foster healthier relationships, develop a healthy sense of masculinity and to build quality relationships between the community and the Youth Workers. The program focusses on consent, empathy and being a positive bystander.
Youth Workers engage young men aged 14 to 21 years, helping them understand the line between what is healthy and what is harmful in relationships and redefining what it means to be a “man”.
We are empowering young men to have the skills to understand what consent and respectful relationships look like, to have empathy towards women and to be active bystanders whenever women talk about their experiences of sexual assault.
How did Men4Respect start?
The Men4Respect program is informed by evidence about peer education and violence prevention.
In 2019, the Australian National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS) commissioned an evaluation of Men4Respect’s companion program R4Respect’s peer-to-peer work.
ANROWS found that young leaders have significant power to change other young people’s negative attitudes about violence against women. Yet they also found that young men’s attitudes towards gender equality remained difficult to shift. In response, YFS initiated Men4Respect.
The team has identified that a lot of young men already know what a respectful young man looks like. They are now addressing why it isn’t appealing for many young men to be respectful.
Does Men4Respect work?
Yes. An evaluation of the Men4Respect pilot showed the program successfully:
- challenged young men’s and boys’ myths about gender-based violence
- promoted positive attitudinal change among young men and boys
- built young men’s and boys’ skills and confidence to challenge disrespectful behaviours
Participants expressed positive change in relation to attitudes towards control and consent within interpersonal relationships.
16% initially agreed that “men should take control in relationships.” This dropped to 0% after participating.
35% initially agreed that “if a woman sends a nude image to her partner, she is partly responsible if he shares it without her permission”. This dropped to 10% after participating.
After participation, most young men and boys reported they were willing and able to challenge disrespectful behaviours.
70% felt they knew how to challenge disrespectful behaviours.
50% said they would challenge disrespectful behaviours.
The program is delivered through educational sessions and group activities.