Day 1: Coaching Boys into Men, Futures Without Violence, United States
Futures Without Violence has been working to prevent and end violence against women and children around the world for over thirty years. Our program Coaching Boys into Men began as one of the first communications campaigns in the United States intended to engage men in preventing violence against women. Through a series of groundbreaking television, radio, and print ads, Futures was able to garner interest from men across the country and encourage them to take action in their communities.
Futures’ most successful messages to engage men in preventing violence against women were those that invited men to take positive action in their communities, rather than indicting them. For example, our TV PSA “Father & Son,” made explicit what we were asking men to do – teach the young people in their lives that violence against women is wrong. We tested our messaging through focus groups conducted with men across the country.
In focus groups, men indicated an increased willingness to participate in preventing violence against women, and a desire for concrete steps they could take to get involved. Following their lead, Futures Without Violence created Coaching Boys into Men, a coaches’ leadership program that equips male athletic coaches to talk with young male athletes about respecting women and girls. Since the program’s launch in 2001, Coaching Boys into Men has been implemented in schools across the country. To this day, the communications messages that were the foundation of the program continue to inform our training materials and help to reinforce the notion that teaching respect and non-violence should be everyone’s responsibility.