Content warning: discussion of family violence.
Did you know that one in four young Australian men believe that controlling and violent behaviours are signs of male strength? New research shows that one in three young men and women believe ‘exerting control over someone is not a form of violence’. Also, more than a quarter of young people consider male verbal harassment and pressuring females for sex to be normal practices.
These attitudes display an urgent need for prevention strategies that help young people to develop healthy, safe, equal and respectful relationships.
The Man Cave - a new preventative mental health and emotional intelligence program for young men – is one of those strategies. The program facilitates workshops with boys aged 14-18 in high schools across the country.
The program tries to get teenage boys thinking differently about girls by exploring the social construct of male power and male domination. It teaches that just as masculinity does not equate to big muscles and toughness, being a woman doesn't equate to weakness and vulnerability.
PRAY ABOUT IT
“Finally, then, brothers and sisters, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honour, not in the passion of lust… that no-one transgress and wrong a brother or sister in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things… For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness…” 1 Thessalonians 4:1-7
Lord, fill young people with your vision for loving, healthy relationships based on service and kindness. Give young people strong role models to help develop character. Help churches and youth groups offer real support and community to young people. Please grant wisdom to policy makers and educators as they deliver respectful relationship programs in schools. And may your love transform and your life-giving Spirit empower emerging generations to challenge stereotyped beliefs, to value one another, and to live holy and loving lives. Amen.
- The Line is a national behaviour change campaign for young people
- Are today’s standards for being a ‘real man’ leading to violence against women?
- ‘It’s time we talked’ is a community-based project that helps young people and the wider community understand and address the influence of pornography.
- This American Life has a great segment on the experience of a young woman in an abusive relationship.