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News and Advocacy

Ambassadors

Josh Kennedy

“We want young men to be free from harmful social pressures, and we need to support them by focusing on building resilience and promoting respect.”

“I’m very proud to be an Ambassador for the Jesuit Social Services – The Men’s Project. A fantastic cause dedicated to helping young men develop into resilient, respectful adults and to live healthy and happy lives.”

Tim Winton

Tim Winton (Credit Denise Winton)

“It’s pretty clear that blokes need to live more conscious and fulfilling lives.  For their own sakes. And for the safety and happiness of those around them.   But in order to step up and learn, men need some help.  They need to be supported and heard.  And they also need to be challenged and stretched, to make room for fresh ideas and some hard lessons.  We owe it to our sons and our daughters and wives and sisters.  We owe it to ourselves.  Because better men can make better lives for all people.

I’m really glad to be a supporter of the Men’s Project.”

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Parents tip sheet

The Men’s Project recently collaborated with leading girls’ rights agency Plan International Australia and Promundo, a global leader in engaging men and boys in promoting gender equality and preventing violence, to produce a guide for parents to help boys embrace healthy, positive masculinity.

The guide offers parents nine simple, practical tips to talk to their sons about healthy masculinity, and encourage positive beliefs and behaviours from an early age, including: how parents can use play to define positive values, challenge gender stereotypes, be clear about consent and more.

Nine ways to encourage healthy masculinity

  1. Encourage personal expression with toys. Introduce boys to a range of toys and activities, including those that are ‘gender neutral’ and thought of as ‘for girls’.
  2. Use play to define positive values. Show through role play that being able to express a range of emotions, including being afraid, or compassionate and caring is positive for both boys and girls.
  3. Challenge harmful stereotypes around clothes. Encourage boys to be their authentic selves by allowing them to experiment with fashion and self expression.
  4. Be clear about consent. Let boys know they have to ask permission to touch others, and they have the right to say no if they don’t want to be touched.
  5. Find media with good role models. Choose books, TV shows and media that break gender norms by showing boys and girls who have interests and emotions that challenge stereotypes.
  6. Speak up when you hear disrespect. If family or friends say something problematic around your son, speak up in that moment and have a conversation about values.
  7. Find positive role models. Identify role models in your family, community or media who demonstrate healthy, respectful ways to be a boy or man.
  8. Talk the talk. Help boys feel supported that they won’t be judged for sharing their concerns or fears, and encourage them to empathise and connect with others.
  9. Walk the walk. Challenge your own perceptions of gender roles and model behaviours you want to encourage.

Download the tip sheet Raising sons to embrace healthy, positive masculinity.

FAQ

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 over 40 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.

Help

1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)

24 hour, National Sexual Assault, Family and Domestic Violence Counselling Line for any Australian who has experienced, or is at risk of, family and domestic violence and/or sexual assault.

MEN’S REFERRAL SERVICE 1300 766 491

Takes calls from Australian men dealing with family and domestic violence matters. http://mrs.org.au/

MENSLINE AUSTRALIA 1300 78 9978

Supports men and boys who are dealing with family and relationship difficulties. www.mensline.org.au

LIFELINE 131 114

24 hour, national hotline that can help put you in contact with a crisis service in your State.

POLICE or AMBULANCE

000 in an emergency for police or ambulance

TRANSLATING AND INTERPRETING SERVICE 131 450

Gain access to an interpreter in your own language (free).

KIDS HELP LINE 1800 551 800

Telephone counselling for children and young people.
E-mail and web counselling www.kidshelp.com.au