Coaching Boys Into Men Is Transforming Attitudes

New public opinion research finds that the Family Violence Prevention Fund/Advertising Council/Waitt Family Foundation public education campaign, Coaching Boys into Men, is building awareness, transforming attitudes, and prompting men to teach the next generation that violence is wrong.

The research shows a steady and significant increase in the proportion of men who have taken the action promoted in the Public Service Announcements (PSAs) – speaking to boys about violence. Twenty-nine percent said they had done so in November of 2001, before the campaign launched, and 41 percent had done so in February of this year. The spots are especially meaningful to parents, 56 percent of whom have spoken to their sons or other boys about the issue. Fifty-seven percent of fathers said they now speak to boys about violence, compared to 29 percent of men who are not fathers.

The research found near-universal agreement that men can help reduce domestic violence by teaching boys that it is wrong. Respondents who remember seeing the PSA are more likely to say that violence against women is a very important issue and that they are considering doing something about it than respondents who did not remember seeing the spot.

The research was conducted by Millward Brown, Inc. and RMA, Inc. from November of 2001 through February of 2005. The margin of error is two to four percent at a 95 percent confidence level.

Campaign History

Coaching Boys into Men includes two waves of PSAs, both created with generous support from the Waitt Family Foundation. The latest spot, titled “The Wrong Way,” features young boys approaching strangers to ask for advice about how to treat women. At the end, a narrator says, “Boys are never going to approach you. You need to teach them that violence against women is wrong.” It uses the tag line, “Teach Early.”

“The Wrong Way” was developed by the New York advertising agency, Berlin Cameron/Red Cell, on a pro bono basis. It has been airing on television stations around the country for more than a year.

A new set of campaign PSAs are being developed now, with distribution expected sometime this fall.

“Too many boys get the wrong messages about how to treat women from our culture, and also sometimes from the men in their lives,” said Family Violence Prevention Fund President Esta Soler. “With this campaign, we are asking men to take the time to talk to boys about the right way to treat women and girls. Our PSA is a powerful way to remind men that they have a role to play in stopping abuse. We are especially grateful for the more than $45 million in donated media that we have received to date.”

Localize the Spot for Domestic Violence Awareness Month

“The Wrong Way” focuses on the role men can play in shaping boys' attitudes toward women and girls. It targets men, including fathers, coaches, teachers, uncles, brothers and mentors who spend time with pre-teen and teenage boys.

The spot is available in 30-, 15- and 25-second versions.

Domestic violence agencies can work with local television stations to put a five-second local “tag” at the end of the 25-second version of the PSA. Now is the time to begin tagging the spot for
Domestic Violence Awareness Month this October.

For information or help with local tagging, contact Leiana Kinnicutt at the Family Violence Prevention Fund, 415/252-8900 or leiana@endabuse.org

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