On April 24, 2017, Sayfty partnered with the UN Inter-agency Network on Youth Development's Working Group on Youth and Gender Equality to use social media for digital advocacy. I organized and hosted a panel #sayftychat on Twitter to discuss the Role of Young Men and Boys in Addressing Sexual Violence. For this chat I selected 4 panelists. 2 were organizations specifically working with young men and boys, Men Engage and NextGenMen. The other 2 guests were experts on consent culture and had extensive experience working with young men and boys. This was a 1-hour twitter chat from 11am EST - 12pm EST. The goals of the digital change making chat were:
1. To engage a global audience in raising awareness on the role of young men and boys in addressing sexual violence
2. To shareexpertise, insights and best practices
3. To collaborate and share resources across borders
4. Generate and share solutions to the global problem of sexual violence and engaging young men and boy to address it
The chat was extremely successful and engaged more than 35 participants from all over the world including countries like India, US, UK, and Australia. In an hour we made more than 50,000 impressions and had a passionate and engaged group of activists discussing the Role of Young Men and Boys in addressing sexual violence.
In specific, we discussed the following 5 questions:
1. Why is it important to engage young men & boys in addressing sexual violence?
2. What are some good practices for group education to shift knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors with boys and young men around gender-based/sexual violence?
3. What are some common beliefs and men's attitude around gender-based violence?
4. What are the costs of patriarchy to men?
5. What are some barriers to young men and boys engagement in addressing sexual violence?
We had a really good discussion and some of the key highlights of the chat were:
- It's important to engage young men and boys in addressing sexual violencebecause we cannot address this global pandemic by leaving half the population out. Sexual violence impacts boys and young men too and hence it's important to bring them into the picture. It's important to teach boys thatgender is not and cannot be founded in dominance. And sexual violence happens to boys too and therefore we must empower them to seek support. Kids especiallyrespond to cues from peer and therefore we must teach them early on.
- We must start young and teach consent in all things. Sharing toys, posting pictures of others etc. Have more mixed-gender discussion groups to encourage conversations and provide safe spaces. Be better role models as parents and model it in our behavior. The focus shouldnot be on telling girls and young women not to get raped, but teaching boys and young men that rape can take many forms and consent is key.
- Some common beliefs and men's attitudes around gender-based violence includes "Look at what she was wearing, she was asking for it." Showing violence and hitting their woman is being "Man Enough". The women must have done something wrong to call this upon herself Sexist jokes and comments are also aa part of the problem
- Benefits for boys and young men from gender-equality include being free from stereotypes and being more confident and successful in life. It also helps boys and men to seek support in case they experience sexual violence. Helps them get a richer experience of complete humanity and be more empathetic. Ending Gender Based Violence benefits all communities and everyone in our society.
- Some barrier to young men and boys engagementin addressing sexual violence includes the pressure on men and boy to perform. Toxic masculinity prevents them from acting in accordance with their empathy. Also,lack of good role models, what work and how serves as barriers. Finally the false perception of "Being a Man" in the society.
Overall it was an engaging, fast-paced interactive session and a great example of using a social media channel like Twitter to engage and community and raise awareness on the Role of Young Men and Boy in addressing Sexual Violence. We ranked 31st amongst 619 conversations happening on Twitter that day.
Link:Recap of the chat
How to Get Involved
For future chats, you can join us on Twitter every Monday at 11am EST and follow the #sayftychat.