Men's Action for Stopping Violence Against Women (MASVAW)
Men’s Action to Stop Violence Against Women (MASVAW) is an alliance of men and organizations working on gender issues, committed to reacting to and reducing incidents of violence against women. Through cultural and advocacy campaigns, MASVAW raises awareness and recruits new network members who will work for institutional changes in gender relations. MASVAW is primarily active in the state of Uttar Pradesh.
MASVAW started in 2001 when male activists involved in supporting a state wide campaign on violence against women realized that this issue was not just a women’s issue but an issue that involved society at large. In order to focus men’s attention on this issue, and to build a larger coalition of concerned and active men, a series of meetings were held and the MASVAW campaign was launched. Male workers and activists in these social development organizations have been the backbone of MASVAW, and starting from these nuclei, the message of MASVAW has now spread to schools and universities, to villages and to urban communities. Farmers and businessmen, students and teachers, journalists and their readers from segments of society are all associated with MASVAW. MASVAW groups are now active in 40 districts of Uttar Pradesh and three districts in the neighbouring state of Uttaranchal.
Objectives and Values
Violence against women (VAW) has perhaps been commonplace in India all through history. But in the last few years there has been an increasing visibility of VAW as a result of the work of women’s groups. Men have usually looked down at these efforts; domestic violence is justified as a husband or father’s prerogative and a ‘family matter’. There is social acceptance of marriage as a license for spousal abuse and the overwhelming concern is to keep such incidents "within the family". However MASVAW understands that violence against women is not only a women’s issue but an issue of concern for society at large. We also hold that it is the responsibility of all members of society, men and women to ensure a violence-free society for women. Men are culpable not only as those who most often inflict the violence, but also as those who endorse it through their silence. Therefore, men's roles in preventing and eradicating this pervasive form of social injustice has to be more pro-active. Starting from this belief MASVAW works towards gender justice and seeking gender equality in society with the twin objectives of
- Increasing awareness among men about the different forms of VAW and that VAW is a larger social issue
- Motivating men to shun violence, protest against violence, support survivors and provide new role models