What do you mean by ‘good men’?
We believe that good men live respectful, accountable and fulfilling lives free from violence, which benefits not only them but all of society – children, women, friends and families.
By using the word ‘good’ we do not mean to perpetuate a binary opposite of good vs. bad. It rather is the attempt to keep our language accessible for a wide range of audiences with the aim in mind to support boys and men be their best selves.
Are things getting worse for boys and men?
The last few decades have seen rapid and drastic economic, social and environmental changes. Many of these changes have been for the better, particularly in terms of progress towards gender equality.
However we believe that too many boys and men are struggling to live safe, healthy and fulfilling lives today.
We see this in the fact that the number of males suiciding has increased over 26.6 per cent in the past ten years, while the male prison population has increased by 25 per cent since 2012.
Looking to the future, changes in the workplace have the potential to exacerbate some of these trends by causing insecurity in working arrangements particularly for men. A 2015 CEDA Report identified approximately five million Australian jobs that could be replaced by computers within the next couple of decades. Separate analysis by the ABC has found that the easiest to automate jobs are more likely to be performed by men.
Are you excusing men for their violent behaviour and poor attitudes towards women?
No. Any violent behaviour is unacceptable as are the poor attitudes towards women that can influence or lead to violence. Our focus is on ensuring that men are held to account for their actions as well as promoting positive attitudes and culture change around gender so that violence is prevented in the first place.
What is your experience in this area?
Jesuit Social Services has worked with boys and men for 45 years. Our work includes:
- work with boys and men involved in the criminal justice system, including those leaving prison
- establishing Victoria’s first dedicated counselling service to working with young people struggling with concurrent mental health and substance abuse problems
- the Support After Suicide program which provides free individual and family counselling to people bereaved by suicide and runs a specialist men’s group
When will you see results?
Work to change culture and attitudes is multi-faceted and takes time to have an impact – that is the lesson learned from successful campaigns like those to reduce smoking. We expect this to be the case for our work with boys and men.
However, specific innovations to intervene early and respond to violence should be in a position to be evaluated after two to three years.