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Southeast Asian Regional Workshop on Men’s Role in Violence Against Women

The Southeast Asian Regional Conference on Men’s Role in Violence Against Women was organised by the KAUSWAGAN Community Social Center (Cebu Doctors’ College Community Extension Services. It was held in Cebu, Philippines, on the 16th – 20th April 2001.

The workshop gathered various NGOs from countries in the South East Asia to discuss the role of men in issues of violence against women. The Malaysian participants were Women’s Aid Organisation(WAO), All Women’s Action Society (AWAM) and Women’s Crisis Centre Penang (WCC).

The Conference – probably the first of its type in Southeast Asia – aims to support the emerging movement of community groups involving men in advocacy and campaigns on violence against women. The Conference would explore and document current initiatives in this are and suggest strategies for greater engagement and partnership between men and women to addressed and eliminate violence against women.

The key resources person for this conference is Michael Kaufman, Ph.D., who is prominent among Canadian men working to end men’s violence and to develop new and better relations between the sexes in workplace and communities. He is the originator of the idea, and a founding member of the White Ribbon Campaign, the largest effort in the world of men challenging men to end violence against women.


  1. To examine the root causes of violence against women, including male/female socialization and education, highlighting the links between masculinity and gender based violence;
  2. To share and document the work of community groups where men are involved in advocacy and campaigns on violence against women, in order to broaden and strengthen this involvement;
  3. To share and document innovative intervention and support strategies/programs by government and non-governmental organizations for male perpetrators of violence against women, such as counselling, orientation and seminars, hotlines for men, etc.;
  4. To develop a set of preventive measures/strategies involving partnership between women and men in preventing violence and promoting a culture of peace.

Summary of Workshop

Nature and Causes of Men’s Violence
Socialization of Men that Leads to Gender Violence
Intervention Schemes Among Men Who Use Violence
Preventive Measures/Education/Strategies Involving Men and Women


  • Men have roles in preventing and eliminating violence against women.
  • The link between socialization and gender violence is a complex one.
  • Causes of men’s gender-based violence are not due to socialization alone. Power and inequality are also relevant.
  • To use or not to use violence is every man’s choice.
  • In working with men, the term “men who use violence” – and not “violent men” – should be used.
  • There is no excuse to men’s violence against women. Its use is not justifiable under any circumstances.
  • Men using violence should be accountable for their violent behaviour and its consequences.

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Nature and Causes of Men’s Violence (M. Kaufman)

  • There are competing explanations to men’s violence against women: biological (nature) versus psychological/social (nurture).
  • Anthropological research points out that violence is not a human inevitability.
  • Regardless, violence is used by men to have power over women.
  • Causes of men’s violence (the 7 “P”s):
    – Patriarchal power
    – Privileges
    – Permission
    – Paradox of men’s power
    – Psychic armor of manhood
    – Pressure cooker
    – Past experiences

General responses

  • Key persons in the medical and legal systems are trained.
  • Women’s crisis centers are established.
  • Support from men in terms of fund provision is sought.
  • Quality environment in the workplace and school is sought.
  • Good and systematic research is put in place.
  • Images in the mass media concerning masculinity and femininity are modified.

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Socialization of Men that Leads to Gender Violence


  • Dwelt on macro systems factors:For example:
    “Singapore society socializes men to take responsibility and dominance.”
    “National military service for men.”


  • Focused on the family system factors:For example:
    “Vietnam society accords high respect for men, but not for women and children.”
    “Family integration and unity attracts greater priority than individual concerns.”


  • Focused on factors concerning the agents of socialization: the family, school and the mass media systems; and peer groups and cliques.For example:
    “Filipino teachers reinforce traditional gender roles in schools.”
    “The roles of the media in perpetuating violence are two way: either it encourages violence or merely reflects the violence prevailing in society.”

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Intervention Schemes Among Men Who Use Violence


  • Institution-based (Crisis Center) and outreach (police, local authorities and villagers).
  • Offered a general description of strategies and activities.


  • Hotline counselling for men. In details, described male clients and then compared them with female clients across a number of indicators.
  • Some lessons and insights offered:
    “It is untrue that men do not seek assistance.”
    “Men struggle with non-traditional power relationships.”
    “Need to balance between male services and law enforcement.”


  • Institution-based (Crisis Center) and outreach.
  • Described the framework underlying the work, providing an emphasis of the elements at four levels (individual, family, community and state). Stressed that the elements are dynamic.
  • An observation offered:
    “Physical abuse tends to occur less than emotional abuse because drinking and gambling activities among their men are not marked owing to religious prohibition.”

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Preventive Measures/Education/Strategies Involving Men and Women


  • Cambodian Men’s Network
  • Offered ideas and a framework on how to get men involved, but admitted that it is difficult to encourage men to participate.


  • Christian Healing Encounter Empowering Service (CHEERS)
  • Offered a brief description of their counselling services characterized as non-directive and client centered.
  • Discussed the Basic Human Methods covering fur phases (experience, understanding, judgment and decision making).
  • Some lessons and insights offered:
    “Lack of proper values.”
    “Old traditional values have been discarded.”


  • White Ribbon Campaign
  • Traced the development of the campaign, talked about organizational issues and resources generation; and activities.
  • If the Campaign would be adopted, it was recommended that the effort should be:
    “Covering men from a wide social spectrum.”
    “Centered on violence against women alone.”

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This workshop was funded by The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) through its Southeast Asia Gender Equity Programme (SEAGEP).

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