Giving Compass' Take:

• Gary Barker advocates for engaging boys to end violence and sexual harassment against women by showcasing healthy and productive relationships.

• How can funders go beyond financial support to address this issue? 

• Learn why female economic empowerment requires working with both men and women

In interview after interview, those of us who study and work to end gender-based violence point to the issue of power. Men do this – these men did this – because they have power over women.  And indeed, these men have the power of celebrity, of money, of patriarchy.

But the kinds of harassment, the kinds of domination, the kinds of violence these men are using, is sexual. And that’s where we get squeamish. If we want to raise a generation of boys who respect women and girls, and other boys and men, we have to talk about power and equality, and we have to talk about sex and sexuality. And we have to make sure we’re talking to everyone.

At Promundo, the non-profit I direct, we speak with and work with boys and young men around the world. While there are massive differences in how they learn about sex, and whether they have access to honest information and whether adults talk to them about sex or not, there are often commonalities.

One of the educational activities we often use asks boys and girls to role-play a romantic relationship based in respect, and ask other groups to role-play relationships based in violence or domination. Whether in Rio de Janeiro, Pittsburgh, Managua, or Kabul, they frequently they have trouble depicting a relationship based in trust, equality, and non-violence. Their representations of violent, abusive relationships are startlingly real. But most of them tell us they have never seen a couple relationship based in trust.

The powerful men who abuse or harass women and girls (or men and boys) need to know that we will continue to speak out, that we will march and call them out, and hold them accountable.  And the boys and girls watching us need to know that we will talk to them every way we can about healthy and pleasurable sex, about respect and consent, about true equality between men and women, and about affirming that manhood is not defined by abuse and power, but by care and respect.

Read the full article by Gary Barker about sexual harassment from the United Nations Foundation.