oday is International Men’s Day (IMD), the annual international campaign to raise awareness for men’s issues – from health concerns and domestic violence, to paternity rights and educational attainment levels.
In recent years some have viewed the day as unnecessary and counter-productive. As Glen Poole wrote yesterday, however, there are plenty of reasons to celebrate. One of those is that IMD does extraordinary work for a multitude of small charities, all of which desperately need donations.
Here, five of those organisations explain why International Men’s Day matters to them, and especially to the boys and men they support.
“Every year Mankind Initiative holds an annual conference on male victims of domestic abuse around the date of International Men’s Day. On Tuesday, our conference in Walsall saw 120 delegates from the police, local councils and the charity sector hear from a range of survivors, academics and professionals.
They were all there because they wanted to find out how they can provide support to the 500,000 men who are victims of partner abuse every year.
Warning: the below video contains strong language
We feel it is vitally important to hold the event around International Men’s Day because while it acts as a perfect way to focus people’s minds on male victims of domestic abuse it also provides everyone with an opportunity to think about the wider issues that affect men and boys.
Far too often issues around men and boys can be viewed in isolation when in reality many of them are interconnected. These include homelessness, being unable to have contact with their children and attitudinal. This includes as a society not seeing violence against a man as equally as bad as we rightly see violence against a woman as abhorrent.”
All Boys Rock
“With the negative attitudes and stereotypes that plague men in today’s modern society, All Boys Rock have a duty to ensure that we acknowledge the positive part that they play as role models, leaders, heads of home and more. International Men’s Day offers a perfect focus.
The free family event, being held today at City Hall working with the Mayor of London’s Peer Outreach Team to inspire young men, includes an impressive line-up of motivational speakers, comedians, spoken word artists, musical entertainment and a ‘no frills’ inspirational live panel debate with community leaders and role models.
There will also be a social games station, art workshops and other activities on the day. All Boys Rock has been created with a view to actively highlight and support the organisations who work specifically to deliver services, support, training and other activities. It celebrates, uplifts, empowers and equips men and boys to be their better selves It provides an arena that forges unity within the male population and communities which will help them to share male life experiences. Now more than ever, Britain’s boys need this support, encouragement and our firm belief that they can achieve incredible things.”
Survivors West Yorkshire
“Today we at Survivors West Yorkshire are announcing a new service for male survivors of childhood sexual abuse which will start on Monday. Ben’s Place will be built using the new emerging power of the cloud and crewed by specialists who focus their skills and learning on sexual violence recovery best practice.
Men are often positioned as the fault-lines of our species on one hand, and on the other, heroes that will take our kind to the stars. In between lies another truth, males often hide a tabooed reality – they can be victims of sexual crime too.
Male survivors need stories of redemptive resilience that match any flight to the stars. The vulnerability of males and their recovery can be glimpsed increasingly in international projects like Bristlecone. It opens the gateway to hope for male survivors to see how they can be less alone.
One small step in West Yorkshire is to gift a space where males can find their own inner journey to the ‘stars’. So what was done to them, often as children, does not limit their possibilities as human beings. A star-ship designed to support those who wish to explore recovery, in all its possibilities, beyond the limitations of either fault-line or hero.”
Rocking UR Teens
“We at Rocking Ur Teens were excited on Thursday to have run our first inspirational conference to mark International Men’s Day. We feel it provided a perfect opportunity to focus on enabling boys to:
- Increase their aspirations and break through barriers, as more young women then young men are studying for undergraduate degrees.
- Breakdown stereotypes of what male careers are, support the boys to move beyond gender biased language and actions, enabling them to fulfil their potential understand that they have the power to make a difference in their communities and beyond make positive and healthy choices, building their self-esteem, as young men are four times more likely to commit suicide than girls.
Boys need guidance to become men who can contribute successfully to society and the shaping of men is everyone’s responsibility. Supporting them in their teens gives them the start they need, a firm foundation to build upon throughout the next stage of their lives.”
“CoolTan Arts is an award-winning charity that’s been helping adults with low to moderate mental ill-health get back into the world of employment, education and social life for over 20 years. We mark International Men’s Day every year, and in 2016 mental health is more of a problem than ever. This year we’re staging an exhibition, panel discussion and poetry readings to try and delve deeper into the facts and figures around men’s mental health.
We treat all kinds of problems here – but one common factor among men is that they are less likely than women to speak to their GPs, family or friends about their mental health, so we try to tackle this by encouraging communication in our workshops.
At the heart of CoolTan are our arts workshops, where we use painting, poetry and crafts, as a therapeutic method for self-expression; while in Self Advocacy classes we talk about tough issues and how to tackle them – such as depression, anxiety and suicide. By providing a safe, friendly environment where men can break any social isolation they might be experiencing, CoolTan helps them build relationships within the community and get back on the road to recovery.”