The men and boys under the various support programs run by Samoa Victim Support Group are walking the talk, that engaging men and boys to end violence against women and girls is possible. And it starts with us.
Leading the changes are none other than the SVSG Junior members who have represented SVSG in the 6-nation project with Spain, India, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Netherlands and Samoa titled:“Breaking the Cycle: Men and Boys Engage to End Violence Against Women.”
The young men have been helping out at the Campus of Hope during the weekends, cooking for the children while teaching them the basics on food preparation.
The roles might be reversed as the matrons got to rest while the young men cooked for the children, but the important message Franziska and Mane wanted to put out there is that, gender role stereotype is a social norm that can be changed.
At the office, the parents of a troubled young man could not believe the changes in their son who was referred from the Courts to serve his community hours with SVSG. He has become a handy man in the office; sweeping, mopping and washing dishes. Who said that only women and girls can do these household chores? The young man has developed skills from the odd carpentry work he helped out with the office and kept him out of trouble.
And at the Men’s Advocacy Program for offenders of violence referred from the Family Court to undertake anger management programs with SVSG, the young and old joined the conversation on engaging men and boys to end violence against women. The Program had provided a safe space for the men to share on what they have done wrong and what they could have done better. “It all starts with us”, was their bold admission.
The men are now taking on an advocacy role by continuing the conversation in their homes and village communities.
So come the 3rdto 13thSeptember at the Men Engage Train the Trainer session in Sri Lanka, Franziska and Mane will be proud to present on the progress made by the men and boys under SVSG’s program towards the project “Breaking the Cycle: Men and Boys Engage to End Violence Against Women.”
Because according to the Chair of the SVSG Board Mrs. Georgina Lui, “we are not only changing behavior, but we are also changing social norms affecting violence against women, girls and children in Samoa.”