Since 1993, MÄN has been active in the key areas of preventing violence, advancing equal parenthood, changing norms, supporting guys and acting internationally and locally for an equal world free from violence. Within these areas, we have set up unique projects and specifically designed methods for children and adolescents, young guys, men and fathers.
Statistics show almost all violent crimes are committed by men. At the same time, men also constitute the majority of victims. This is linked to society’s idea of what it means to be a man: tough, masculine, strong, unfeeling – someone who fights, not talks. To prevent violence, MÄN works to change these destructive norms.
Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) is a method to prevent violence before it happens. It was created in the US in 1993 by Jackson Katz. The method raises awareness of what violence is, how it occurs and how to stop it. MVP introduced the “active bystander” approach, to encourage people to step in when they witness violence. The method also reflects on hows stereotypical norms play a role in perpetuating a culture of violence. Today, MVP is used successfully at US schools, sports clubs and in the military. In Sweden, MÄN uses the MVP method in its education program for high school and gymnasium students. In the program’s seven lessons, different scenarios of violence are discussed to see how they could have been prevented.
To increase equality and prevent violence in intimate relationships, MÄN focuses on fathers. We help them navigate their roles as parents and encourage them to take on an equal share of the responsibility for their children and the household.
We organise fathers’ groups to allow fathers to meet each other, talk and share experiences. A trained fathers’ group leader invites participants to discuss what kind of father they want to be, how their childhood affects their parenting, why fathers are important, how to show affection or express feelings and how to share household tasks between parents. Fathers’ groups are organised at healthcare centres and often well-received. In the words of one participant: “Being in this fathers’ group has meant so much to me! It really made me feel that I matter as a father.”
We offer equal parenthood training to healthcare and maternity staff. This helps staff members treat all parents in an equal way. Topics discussed in our staff training include attachment theory, preparing fathers for parenthood, adoption, the LGBTQ perspective and dealing with violence by fathers.
Certain norms in society force men into a very limiting, traditional masculine role. This can lead to violence and assault. That is why we want to change these harmful norms and broaden the confines of what a “man” or “guy” is expected to be. This allows men to be who they are, increases equality and reduces violence.
Machofabriken (Macho Factory) consists of learning material to advance gender equality and prevent violence. It is designed for adolescents age 13 to 25. Machofabriken takes a critical look at social norms on masculinity, gender and sexuality. Project participants reflect on these norms and the way they affect our lives and relationships. Through interactive exercises and a range of short films, they then learn to question and even change norms. Machofabriken empowers participants to take charge of their own lives instead of being steered by society’s expectations.
Supporting young men
Equality and violence prevention starts at an early age. That is why one of our core audiences is young guys. We listen to their stories and help them reflect on the norms and expectations that shape their lives.
Killfrågor is an online support chat centre. Boys and young men can turn to Killfrågor with questions, worries or just to talk – about love, friendship, loneliness, sex, their bodies, violence, parents or even computer games! At Killfrågor, volunteers lend a supportive ear, help guys question harmful norms and promote gender equality. The project provides guys with a safe, supportive space to talk about their feelings and thoughts. In the long run, this helps prevent male violence in society.
We believe cooperating across borders is essential to achieve an equal world free from violence. MÄN runs two long-term projects in Russia and Belarus and is part of a cross-European project on sexualized violence. Until 2014 we also worked with the organisation Sonke Gender Justice on equal fatherhood in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana.
MÄN is active in north-west Russia to prevent men’s violence against women. Since 2001, our comprehensive project has focused on working with men to prevent violence, treating perpetrators and providing shelter for women and children who were victims of violence. We cooperate closely with Sweden’s women’s support centre movement (through Unizon) and a group of Russian partners.
“New Men Belarus” is a project to promote gender-equal parenthood. Since 2013, MÄN has supported its Belarusian partner organisations in finding sustainable ways to involve men as fathers in their children’s lives. “New Men Belarus” organises training´s on how to run parent groups or fathers’ groups and promotes equality amongst young people to challenge harmful gender norms.
Across Sweden, local MÄN chapters and countless volunteers organise activities for an equal world free from violence. This can range from setting up fathers’ groups or reaching out to adolescents in school, to creating theatre plays on masculinity norms or discussing violence and equality in locker rooms at sports clubs.
More info on our local activities in Sweden can be found in our Annual Report.