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Report Suggests Healthy Masculinity As Positive Solution To Men's Violence And Unhealthy Life Choices

WASHINGTON, Feb. 5, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Helping men to develop a healthy masculinity can be a key factor in ending violence against women, according to a new report that is part of a nationwide, two-year initiative to find solutions to one of society's most critical problems.

The Healthy Masculinity Summit Report was released today as part of the antiviolence initiative, the Healthy Masculinity Action Project, which was organized by six national nonprofit organizations: Men Can Stop Rape, National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, Men Stopping Violence, Coach for America, Women of Color Network and A CALL TO MEN.

"We need to eradicate the outdated view, expectation and stereotypes of what it means to be a man," said Neil Irvin, executive director of Men Can Stop Rape, the lead organization on the Healthy Masculinity Action Project, also known as HMAP. "A man can be caring, respectful and embrace a nonviolent masculinity.  Together we – men and women – can end violence."

The report documents the results of the Healthy Masculinity Summit, which was sponsored by the Verizon Foundation and held in Washington, last October to launch HMAP. Hundreds of men and women from across the country participated in conversations about the potentially positive impact of healthy masculinity. The promotion of men's nonviolence and healthier life choices was considered across a wide spectrum of societal areas: athletics, the workplace, faith, technology, business, youth development, education, communities of color, fatherhood, mental health, gender-based violence, LGBTQ communities, media, and trafficking.

The conversations sparked dialogue, crystalized conclusions, developed descriptions, and created strategies to engage specific male audiences through healthy masculinity. Examples include:

  • Fatherhood: Healthy Masculinity looks like a father unapologetically asking other men for support as he navigates his way through fatherhood.
  • Gender-Based Violence: Many people are unable to make the connection between preventing domestic and sexual violence and healthy masculinity, which makes it necessary to educate both men and women.
  • Communities of Color: It is critical to engage communities about the importance of healthy masculinity in the context of the school-to-prison pipeline, as this is where young men – particularly those of color – are categorized and unreasonably punished for displays of unhealthy masculinity taught to them by the same society that incarcerates them.
  • Athletics: In order to persuade male athletes and coaches that healthy masculinity is of value, we can ask them how they would characterize healthy masculinity and discuss the role they believe it plays in sports.

Together, the collection of insights and observations derived from the more than 20 summit conversations serve as a compendium of critical knowledge that will shape the work of HMAP.    

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