An Environmental Scan of Intimate Partner Violence Prevention Programs: Reshaping Masculinity
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Mount Saint Vincent University
Intimate partner violence (IPV) and toxic masculinities plague our world more now than ever before. IPV is described as a series of violent acts or threats that cause emotional, physical, or sexual trauma to romantic partners (typically women), in both casual and committed relationships (Pereira et al., 2020; Webermann et al., 2022). It often involves coercion, social isolation, and reduction of freedom in the victim’s public and private life, including emotional, financial, and medical control (Pereira et al., 2020). Given that men are the predominant perpetrators (Donovan & Hester, 2008), and most violent tendencies are learned in childhood (via social learning), it is imperative that young adolescent males be educated about violence prevention to support a decrease of IPV in future generations. Through an environmental scan of 55 programs that exist to prevent intimate partner violence from occurring in the first place, and to help reshape masculinity it is clear not only that there are organizations and programs in existence already doing this work effectively. As well these programs often train their participants to become facilitators, thereby securing their sustainability. Programs also seem to be shifting towards a more unified model of education inclusive of sex education, IPV prevention, and redefined masculinities. While this is positive, more programs need to be created that not only meet the needs of their participants but encourage them to seek out new ways of thinking and avenues for positive relational and behavioral change. The overall goal is to reduce and eradicate IPV. When it comes to reshaping masculinity, what is evident is that while there may not be one set definition for what healthy masculinities look like, there is in fact a definition for unhealthy masculinities. The key is in education and curriculum that moves toward the development of masculinities that support and nurture rather than destroy and violate.