a challenge to men to support survivors of gender-based violence and to take concrete action to change our culture. MenChallenging members commit to raising money in support of survivors of violence, recruit new members, and take action. 100% of the money you raise goes to the organizations that MenChallenging supports.
Ben Atherton-Zeman and Joe Samalin started MenChallenging having worked for more than 50 years combined both nationally and internationally with a wide range of communities. They support communities in engaging boys and men as a critical part of ending gender-based violence. MenChallenging is their way of helping others just like you to do the same. So join us in finding new and better ways to support those most affected by violence and to stop violence before it even starts. Join our challenge.
What is "gender-based violence"?
Gender-based violence is an umbrella term for specific types of violence where gender is a factor. While most men choose not to commit overt acts of violence, most of these types of violence are committed by men, and most often against women, especially LGBTQ folks, women of color, women with disabilities, girls and younger women, immigrant women, and native/indigenous women, and others.
Gender violence refers primarily (but not exclusively) to domestic or dating violence, sexual assault/rape, stalking, sexual harassment, and street harassment.
Anyone can commit gender-based violence against anyone else. Men, boys, and transgender folks are also survivors and victims, and often experience specific barriers to reporting violence and to getting help. At the same time, these types of violence are most often committed by men, and most often against women and girls.
Both these facts are true at the same time, which can be confusing so here again it is in bold and italics. Sit with it for a minute if you need to.
Anyone can commit gender-based violence against anyone else. Men, boys, and transgender folks are also survivors and victims, and usually experience specific barriers to reporting violence and to getting help. At the same time, these types of violence are most often committed by men, and very often against women and girls.
Check out these resources to learn more about gender-based violence, as well as to find resources for victims and survivors of violence.
Can anyone join?
How do you decide who to support?
This is great!! I wish all men were like you!!
As men we play a critical role in either promoting or preventing gender-based violence, and we are a critical part of ending it. As men we are affected by gender-based violence in many ways. We experience and witness violence and abuse. We also commit the disproportionate majority of violence. We often excuse it, minimize it, blame the victims of it, and all too often we simply stay silent about the violence that we see around us.
Recently there has been a global explosion in the number of men and boys that are aware of gender norms and culture, and of gender violence specifically. But violence committed by men is still the norm, and is still committed at epidemic levels. And so we as men and the men around us need to do better, to do more. MenChallenging is our way of giving ourselves as men motivation to act, and concrete actions to take.
Yes. Anyone can join, regardless of who you are! While MenChallenging's primary focus is on engaging men and boys, we know we need everyone to do their part to end gender violence. Plus, we feel like it would be pretty crappy to fight for gender equality and say "no girls allowed".
MenChallenging works hard to ensure that women, transgender folks, immigrant women, native and indigenous women, and women of color remain at the center of our work, as they are often both disproportionately victims and survivors of gender-based violence and have also done the majority of the work to combat violence and oppression.
MenChallenging supports organizations that represent, are led by, and serve communities and populations that are most affected by gender violence and are most often under-resourced. We strive to highlight a wide range of partners - individual survivors, survivor activists, non-profit organizations, and others. We are always open to suggestions for who to support and how, and any other suggestions on how to increase the effect of our support. Learn more about who we are supporting here.
While we appreciate the sentiment, we feel it is important to push back on this type of praise for a few reasons.
Men who work to end gender-based violence, who identify as feminist or pro-feminist, are still a part of the system of oppression and violence that we are working to change. Very often, men are held to a very low bar on this issue, receiving maximum reward for minimum effort. We believe that changing this dynamic is a key part of addressing the inequality at the heart of gender-violence.
Also, it is important to remember that someone - including men - who works to end gender-based violence is still capable of committing violence. Very often men who do this work are assumed to be "safe", which can be a problematic and potentially unsafe assumption. MenChallenging works to hold our members and each other accountable for their language, actions, and behavior. Feel free to contact us for more information about this.