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Men Working to End Violence Against Women

Jackson Katz, a keynote speaker at the May 9, 2002 Workplace Violence Conference III (presented in Arvada, Colorado by Colorado Attorney General’s Office, Colorado Bar Association, and FindtheGood.org) calls himself an anti-sexist male activist. Since the 1980s, Jackson has researched and developed education programs on gender violence prevention, targeted at men and boys.

Jackson is:

  • founder and director of Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) Strategies;
  • creator of Tough Guise: Violence, Media, and the Crisis in Masculinity;
  • director of the U.S. Marine Corps’ first worldwide gender violence prevention program;
  • a former all-star football player; and
  • the first man at University of Massachusetts Amherst to minor in women’s studies.

In addition to his keynote speech at the May 9th conference, Jackson presented a breakout session — his workshop “More Than a Few Good Men: Strategies for Inspiring Men and Boys to be Allies in Gender Violence Prevention.” The workshop introduced the participants to creative ways of conceptualizing men’s roles in what historically have been considered “women’s issues.”

Jackson talks about violence in America as being overwhelmingly a gendered phenomenon.  He claims that any attempt to understand violence requires an understanding of violence’s relationship to masculinity and manhood. Jackson believes that traditional masculinity needs to be looked at critically and in news ways. “The time is long overdue for us to have a national conversation about the way our culture teaches boys and men – across class, race, and ethnic distinctions – to think about and act toward women. We are raising generations of boys in a society that in many ways glorifies sexually aggressive masculinity and considers as normal the degradation and objectification of women.” (Jackson Katz, Los Angeles Times, June 25, 2000)

Jackson also believes that the media needs to be looked at critically because it represents masculinity in a steady stream of images connected with dominance, violence, and control.

The work Jackson does through MVP focuses on men as change agents, not as perpetrators. His training programs help men understand that the women in their lives (mothers, daughters, wives, etc.) live with the threat of men’s violence. The aim of the program is to help them develop the courage to speak up about this and to work towards changing men’s peer culture.

For more on Jackson Katz and his education programs see www.jacksonkatz.com.