Role of Men in Preventing Violence Against Women
The Campus Hero Cafe is a project that aims to initiate a social change by involving male adolescents to prevent violence. Through this project, male adolescents are expected to think critically, unlearn and relearn the meaning of being a man. The title ‘Campus Hero’ comes from the objective ‘to deconstruct and reconstruct’ the cultural notion of the ‘male hero’. The project aims to portray the image of a hero as a man who is brave enough to speak out when he witnesses acts of violence against women. It aims to promote critical and honest self-reflection which is part and parcel of SRHR education. This research was conducted by CMMS and Promundo-US and funded by NWO-WOTRO Science for Global Development in collaboration with Share-Net International.
Adolescents Exposure to Porn
450 boys between the age of 11-15 from three rural districts participated in the research. It was revealed that 62% of these boys watched porn regularly. They got access to pornographic content from cyber cafes where they received the photos and videos on their smartphones by paying a small fee. 71% of the boys admitted that they had the desire of molesting a girl after having watched porn. 27% of the surveyed boys indicated that they get their knowledge about sex from watching porn.
Adolescents have a lot of questions and confusion about sex and sexuality, but they do not have any means of having them answered. Dr Imtiaz Uddin Ahmed, Co-Founder, Centre for Male and Masculinity Studies, believes that teachers and medical staff cannot answer their questions and curiosities as they only address the public health angle of SRHR.
Self reflective learning among boys was encouraged with the ‘Brave Men diary’, a tool developed by CMMS. The assignments in this diary challenged the boys to rethink their gender norms, attitudes and sexual behaviour. One of the activities involved joining their mothers so that they can personally realise what motherhood means on a day to day basis.
The boys remained hesitant to ask questions about sensitive topics related to sex. Taking advantage of the adolescents exposure to smartphones and technology, the team introduced the boys to an app that they developed to answer all their questions about sex and sexuality. The app is called ‘Challenger Mamu’, and the boys can anonymously ask anything about sex, gender, mental health or any other personal issues that they would rather not ask anyone else. The questions were answered by experts.
An end line survey revealed that the interventions had an impact on the boys, and the intervention lead to the students having more ‘gender equitable attitudes and perceptions.’
Since very few teachers are willing to give sex education in schools, by taking advantage of the digital era and adolescents exposure to smartphones, an app like Challenger Mamu could be used to increase their SRHR knowledge.
The project ended on July 2018 but the work of CMMS and its partners continue. Seeing the success of the Brave Men Campaign, the UNDP has funded CMMS to extend the campaign to fifty more schools across the country. The CMMS, together with Promundo-US will work to disseminate the results of Campus Hero Cafe project at the national and international levels.