Men lead the charge to protect women and girls from violence

When talking about gender-based injustice, it's easy to start forming the idea that one gender is good, and the other is bad. But our world is more complex than that, and we have to be careful not to get too dogmatic.

In fact, in some instances where girls are systematically abused, it's often the mothers inflicting pain on their daughters, while many fathers advocate for change. (Learn more about this in our story onfemale genital cutting.)

In Burundi, men are banding together
to protect the women and girls in their lives. 

Last month, in partnership with the Burundian government's Center for Family Development, FH trained eight new groups — each with 8 to 12 men — on the threats against women and girls and how to make change in their communities.

They talked about:

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  • the many ways women and girls experience SGBV (sexual and gender-based violence)
  • what can be done to help victims
  • how to reach the youth with anti-SGBV messages
  • handling SGBV cases in the courts
  • strategies to prevent SGBV

Because most perpetrators of violence in Burundi are men, it was decided that men need to be the ones to spread messages of non-violence to each other. These men were hand-selected by leaders in their communities because they didn't beat their children, wives, hired help or other people.

These men will be role models for the proper treatment of women and girls, speaking to their peers one-on-one, visiting schools and youth groups, and conducting awareness campaigns. 

“Our staff feel very strongly that these are helpful means, and the men are listening to each other,” says Philip Mato, FH's program manager in Burundi.

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