Prevention Strategies


Engaging Men and Boys

Historically, the movement to end men’s violence against women was organized and led by women and girls. While it is clear that violence against women impacts the lives, well-being, and safety of women and girls, this issue is not only of concern to women. Since most people who commit violence against women are men, men must also be engaged and participate in activities to prevent sexual and intimate partner violence. We know that the vast majority of men are not violent, but if we are to end these types of violence, they must take part in changing the behavior of those who are.

Engaging men and boys in the work to end intimate and sexual violence is considered to be best practice in terms of primary prevention strategies. This work is being done in many different ways across the world. The following principles help guide the work to engage men and boys (Men Can Stop Rape):

  1. Recognizing and challenging unhealthy aspects of masculinity that are socially constructed.
  2. Supporting gender equity and other forms of equity
  3. Replacing risky and violent masculine attitudes, behaviors and decisions with behaviors, attitudes and decisions that respect the self and others.
  4. Learning skills to constructively challenge unhealthy masculine attitudes and behaviors in others.
  5. Act as a role model for other men, both younger and those who are your peers.

Click here for more useful information about engaging men and boys in the work to end gender-based violence, and to learn more about how you can get involved.

For more information regarding South Carolina initiatives to engage men and boys in the work to end intimate and sexual violence contact Damond Ford, Communication and Prevention Coordinator, at

Engaging Youth

Engaging youth in the movement to end interpersonal violence is an incredibly important primary prevention strategy. Social change led by young people s not all about young people—it affects their communities, their families, their cities and their world as a whole. Development in the sophistication of youth-led initiatives has led to the creation of more sustainable outcomes, most of which are focused at a community level.

The Cycle of Youth Engagement, created by Adam Fletcher for CommonAction, breaks youth engagement in social change down into five steps. These steps are easily applied to engaging youth in the primary prevention of sexual and intimate partner violence, and they are as follows:

  1. Listen to young people- Whether through one-on-one conversations, group discussions, youth action research, youth created media or artistic expression, youth can tell us about the violence they witness among their peers. They can also share with us their thoughts about stopping that violence.
  2. Validate young people- validate their feelings and observations through active conversation, offering sincere comments, criticism and feedback.
  3. Authorize young people- give them the knowledge and opportunity they need to address these types of violence within their peer groups. Provide them training, create positions for them within an existing violence prevention initiative, or help them create their own initiative.
  4. Mobilize young people- give youth the opportunity to become engaged and actually have the authority to make decisions surrounding their movement.
  5. Reflection about young people- this list should be an ongoing exercise, with each step being used to reflect and then use that reflection to move on to the next step.

Click here for a link to Break the Cycle to see a list of youth-led engagement projects surrounding the prevention of sexual and intimate partner violence.

Bystander/Upstander Intervention

These specific intervention techniques are very important aspects of primary prevention of sexual and intimate partner violence. The term bystander refers to an individual who may notice a situation or behavior that could lead to a negative end result, and are faced with the choice to help, do nothing, or actively contribute to the negative consequence. Upstanders are those who chose to do something, however seemingly insignificant it may seem, to stop that act of intimate partner or sexual violence from occurring.

We know that there are a number of things that often stop a bystander from actively becoming an upstander, perhaps the most important of which is that they just don’t know how to approach the situation. Equipping young people especially, but any member of society, with the information and skills necessary to step in and say something or do something to stop the act of violence from occurring, taking their own personal safety into account first and foremost.

Upstander intervention includes proactive and reactive solutions, from simply posting a Facebook update condemning the perpetration of intimate partner and sexual violence, to actively interfering in the committal of the act itself, however the upstander is able to do so. Do you walk up and say something about inappropriate the behaviors of a potential perpetrator are? Or, do you approach the couple and change the subject to something else to ease tension? There are a number of strategies bystanders can use to play an active role in preventing the occurrence of these crimes.

Click here for more information about Bystander/Upstander Intervention, including more in-depth evaluation and specific programs and campaigns.

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