In amongst the numerous current media reports of sexual harassment and rape in India (yes, unfortunately there’s been another gang rape, this time in Mumbai), I’m pleased to have stumbled upon an organisation that’s proactively doing something to address the problem of violence against women — at the root cause of the issue.
Called Man Up India!, it’s a campaign that was launched by the Equal Community Foundation (based in Pune, in Maharashtra) on International Women’s Day in March 2013. Unlike other initiatives, it doesn’t focus on empowering women. Its actions are based on the findings of a study titled What About the Boys?, conducted on the premise that violence against women is a product of the environment in which men are raised.
As is stated in the Foreword section of the report:
“Men and boys are not born violent but are made to be what they are – violent, intolerant and controlling as part of the entitlement and privilege indoctrination. Global evidence on attitudes toward gender equality show that in most cases men are perpetuating violent behaviors they learned as children, often by experiencing it themselves in families and schools and also by witnessing violence against their own mother”.
The CEO of the Equal Community Foundation, Will Muir, goes on to say:
“In this, our first piece of formal research, we seek to find solutions for India that will help tackle the root cause of violence common around the world: the attitudes and behaviours of men towards women. We ask the question, “How can we ensure every man in India has the opportunity to study and practice gender equitable behaviour?” The results will surprise you, in part because they are logical and simple. Also because, despite being so glaringly obvious, they are rarely aired in public, and even more rarely implemented.”
The Man Up India! website lists a number of ways in which citizens, parents, teachers, and the media can get involved.
What’s more, there’s also a section where people can submit their stories about what they’ve done to make a difference and read the stories of others.
Do take a look. I think it’s a heartening and commendable campaign worthy of support, and I’m so pleased that it exists.