Gender-based violence is recognized as a significant health and human rights issue that prevents women, families, and countries around the world from achieving their full potential.
In addition to numerous physical and mental health effects, early childhood experiences of violence are linked to experiences of violence in adulthood.
This is true for both boys and girls, where boys who witness or experience domestic violence are more likely to perpetuate relationship violence, and girls are more likely to be victims of gender-based violence in adulthood. Evidence shows that programs that involve men in violence prevention initiatives are more effective than programs that target women and girls exclusively, and, because many of the risk factors for future perpetration and experience of violence occur in the family unit, involving fathers can have significant positive outcomes. The Responsible Engaged and Loving (REAL) Fathers Initiative aims to build positive partnerships and parenting practices among young fathers (aged 16-25) in post-conflict Northern Uganda to reduce the incidence of intimate partner violence and physical punishment of children.
A mentoring program and community awareness campaign have been designed to reach young men before their expectations, attitudes and behaviors related to parenting and relationships are well established. In order to address underlying causes of domestic violence, the intervention is designed to challenge the gender norms and sexual scripts that often trigger coercion and violence in relationships and to teach effective parenting, communication, and problem-solving skills.
[Photo Credit: Save the Children/Dickens Ojamuge]