Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Why accountability is necessary 2/9

The concern about accountability arises from the potential harm that aspiring allies can cause. Thus it is necessary to revisit some of the dangers of engaging men in violence prevention. It is evident from research on social movements that the involvement of dominant group members can reproduce inequalities within movement organisations, such as in this case, violence prevention movements (Messner et al. 2015). The power and control located in the wider societal context of unequal relationships will often play out within alliances (Margaret 2010). This includes how decisions are made and whose voices are heard. Consequently, when men and women work together in social movements, they must find ways of addressing their differences and the relations of power within which they are embedded (Tamasese 1998). Given that men are socialised into dominant ideas about what it means to be a man and a sense of entitlement that often goes with their privileged position, how do they counter the likely bias that will come to the fore when they work with women against men’s violence?

The involvement of men in violence prevention needs to be undertaken very cautiously because many such men continue to express sexism and deny that they continue to be part of the wider problem of gender inequality (Atherton-Zeman 2009).  The purpose of accountability processes is to address this sexism and male privilege which men bring with them when they get involved in violence prevention work. Castelino (2012), for example, has documented some of the concerns that women have about the involvement of men in violence intervention and prevention, including, taking resources away from women’s services, shifting the focus from women to men, focussing on new forms of masculinity rather than on the structural relations of gender and depoliticising feminist analyses. In the remainder of Part One of this paper, I examine these and other issues of concern.

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