The role of men in combating violence against women: the case of men for gender Equality now in Kenya
Miruka, Simon Okumba
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What is the role of men in combating violence against women? This is the key question investigated by this study, using the Kenyan organization, Men for Gender Equality Now, as a case study. The background outlines that VAW is a problem of pandemic proportions. The problem statement identifies that VAW continues despite various efforts to end it; more significantly, men's involvement in combating it is a recent phenomenon which has not been extensively documented. It is therefore necessary to highlight what men are doing and can do to eradicate VAW. The study uses the social norms theory which argues that men's violence is rooted in patriarchy and that their relative absence from the fight against VAW is a result of a socially imposed silence. It is argued that this norm can be changed. The research was conducted through secondary data review and primary data collection using focus group discussions, key informant interviews, case studies and content analysis. The study established that MEGEN uses the following methods to combat VAW: constituency and movement building, capacity building, multi-media advocacy and publicity, artistic performance, practical interventions (survivor support) and operational partnerships. These have resulted in a growing national constituency of men and women combating VAW, influenced the initiation of a regional movement of men against VAW in Africa, linked survivors to various services and led to increased public awareness on and reporting of VA W. But the efforts are constrained by negative attitude, misplaced community expectations, risks to members and institutional inadequacies. It is concluded that engaging men to combat VA W starts with enabling them to talk about it. This leads to personal transformation and commitment to eradicating V A W, in alliance with women to create a society that respects women's rights.