We want men and women everywhere to flourish in their lives and relationships. The sad truth is that 1 in 4 women around the world experiences violence from an intimate partner during their lives.
Often, domestic abuse is seen as a women's issue. But violence against women is not a women’s issue; it’s a human issue.
If domestic abuse, and other forms of violence against women, are to end, we need men to help challenge the beliefs, attitudes and behaviours that perpetuate it - in themselves, and in other men. That's why we launched First Man Standing: over 1500 people have signed up to an online community of men committed to standing up and speaking out about violence against women – be it in their families, churches or workplaces.
What you can do
Increasingly, men are asking 'What can we do to make women feel and be safer?' There's no quick answer to such a complex problem but there are some simple things to get you going:
Pray for women and specifically that women would no longer live in fear. Pray by yourself or let us know if you'd like to join our team on a Friday lunchtime Zoom, as we ask God to protect those experiencing abuse and to end violence against women.
Think about how your behaviours, however unintentionally, impact women. These are some great tips for letting women know that you are not a threat to their safety:
1. Keep your distance
When walking behind a girl or woman at night, remember that the closer you are, the more threatening you seem. So make sure to leave a good amount of distance between yourself and her, cross the road if you're running or going faster than her. Having someone run up behind you can be frightening for anyone!
2. Don't stare
Being stared at is intimidating and unsettling. If you take out your phone or clearly focus on something else, it will go a long way to showing you’re not a threat. Why not look out the window, or call a friend to have a chat?
3. Keep comments to yourself
You might just be trying to have a bit of fun or even just giving a compliment, but it can be terrifying to lone women and girls and classes as harassment.
4. Keep your mates in line
You may not harass women, but if you stay quiet while your mates do then you’re part of the problem.
5. Be an active bystander
If you notice a woman is uncomfortable with someone’s behaviour, show your support by being an active bystander. It can be as simple as standing between a woman and her harasser to block their line of sight. Ask her if she is OK, and back up anyone else who is intervening.
First Man Standing
The truth is, trying to change behaviours will never be enough, it's the beliefs that sit beneath those behaviours that really matter. It's a little like the weeds that grow in your garden: you can cut them back a hundred times but they grow back unless you dig out the roots.
That's why we've written the First Man Standing Bible Studies, to help you explore what the Bible says about men, women, the relationship between them and, crucially violence against women. Why not gather a group of men from your church or small group, and go through the studies together?
Take it further
- Sign up to be a First Man Standing.Join over 1500 other men at the forefront of a movement for change. For those who sign up, we will send out occasional emails with information about advocating on behalf of women and opportunities for you to speak up.
- Take a deeper look at what the Bible says about being a man with our seven First Man Standing Bible studies.
- For more ideas on how to model masculinity in your everyday life, have a look at our Living as a First Man Standing guide.
- If you'd like to join our weekly Friday prayer meetings, do get in touch.
- You can help to end violence against women by donating to support our work.
As men stand up and show through their actions and words that they fully respect all women, we will change lives and transform culture.