"Being in a room with like-minded men": an exploratory study of men's participation in a bystander intervention program to prevent intimate partner violence.
The bystander approach suggests that individuals can intervene to
interrupt situations leading to violence and has previously been used in
sexual assault prevention. This article applies the bystander approach
to interpersonal violence. An exploratory study was conducted to assess
a workshop designed to prevent intimate partner violence that utilized
the bystander approach with male participants. Quantitative and
qualitative methods were used to measure male participants'
attitudes regarding bystander intervention behaviors and attitudes after
participating in a workshop designed to encourage bystander intervention
behaviors. A total of 41 men completed posttest surveys, and eight
participated in face-to-face interviews. Important findings indicate
that many participants expressed anxiety in social situations that
inhibited bystander behavior and that many men desired more
opportunities to talk in open forums such as the workshops with other
Keywords: IPV prevention, bystander intervention, interpersonal violence, workshop on IPV
Social norms (Research)
|Publication:||Name: The Journal of Men's Studies Publisher: Men's Studies Press Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Social sciences; Women's issues/gender studies Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2011 Men's Studies Press ISSN: 1060-8265|
|Issue:||Date: Wntr, 2011 Source Volume: 19 Source Issue: 1|
|Topic:||Event Code: 310 Science & research|
|Product:||Product Code: 9101226 Domestic Violence (Families) NAICS Code: 92219 Other Justice, Public Order, and Safety Activities|
|Geographic:||Geographic Scope: United States Geographic Code: 1USA United States|
The impact of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) on the lives of girls
and women is extensive, resulting in myriad physical and psychological
damage, including fatality. The most recent information available from
the Bureau of Justice Statistics indicates that in 2005, 1181 women and
329 men were killed by an intimate partner in the United States. In
addition to death, as many as 42 percent of all women who experience IPV
since age 18 reported a physical injury (Tjaden & Thoennes, 2000).
Various psychological problems are experienced by women as a result of
IPV, such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder,
phobias, sleep and eating disturbances (Bonomi et al., 2006; Coker et
al., 2002). Many IPV survivors also suffer from challenges with
interpersonal relationships and sexual intimacy (Hughes & Jones,
2000; Jones, Hughes, & Unterstaller, 2001).
The occurrence of IPV, particularly physical assault, rape, and stalking, are clearly gender-based. The National Survey on Violence Against Women found that 25 percent of surveyed women, compared with 8 percent of men, reported that they were raped and/or physically assaulted by a current or former spouse, cohabiting partner, or date in their lifetime (Tjaden & Thoennes, 2000). The nature of the violence also differs by gender, as women report more serious levels of violence such as having an intimate partner beat them up, choke or try to drown them, or use or threaten to use a gun (Tjaden & Thoennes).
Due to the salient role of gender in understanding IPV, researchers and practitioners have recognized the need to involve men in ending violence against women (Foubert & Newberry, 2006; Foubert & Perry, 2007; Wantland, 2008). This charge has come not only from women, but increasingly from men within the movement. For example, national and international organizations like Men Can Stop Rape (mencanstoprape.org), and the White Ribbon Campaign (www.whiteribbon.ca) enlist boys and men to take a leadership stance against violence and to challenge narrow views of masculinity that promote violence and aggression. It is evident that effective IPV prevention programs must approach men not as potential perpetrators, but as potential helpers, allies, and bystanders (Foubert & Newberry, 2006). Based on this perspective, the "bystander approach" to IPV prevention is gaining popularity, as it enables all men the opportunity to help prevent violence. In this paper, we will review the literature on engaging men as bystanders in IPV prevention and then present the results of an exploratory study with men who participated in a male bystander education program.
ENGAGING MEN AS BYSTANDERS
The bystander approach suggests that individuals in a community can intervene when faced with situations involving interpersonal violence (Banyard, Moynihan, & Plante, 2004; McMahon, Postmus, & Koenick, 2011). The concept of bystander intervention is well established in the field of social psychology and is utilized internationally, largely to explore individual's reactions to witnessing crimes and emergencies (Banyard, Plante, & Moynihan, 2004; Fischer, Greitemeyer, Pollozek, & Frey, 2006; Latane & Darley, 1968; Levine, 1999). Evaluations of bystander intervention programs in the literature largely focus on the issue of sexual violence, but offer a foundation for the development of effective IPV-focused bystander programs.
Banyard (2008) has rigorously developed and tested a sexual violence bystander intervention model over time and through an experimental evaluation, Banyard, Moynihan, & Plante (2007) found that participation in the program yielded increases in "prosocial bystander attitudes, increased bystander efficacy, and increases in self-reported bystander behaviors" for students (p. 478). Increases in positive bystander attitudes and behaviors were discovered with the general student population (Banyard, Moynihan, & Plante, 2007); "high risk" students such as athletes and members of sororities and fraternities (Moynihan & Banyard, 2008); and student leaders (Banyard, Moynihan, & Crossman, 2009). Although still evolving, the literature on utilizing a bystander approach as a strategy for sexual violence prevention is promising and therefore may also be applicable to IPV prevention.
Masculinity, Social Norms and Bystander Behavior
The research on bystander intervention and IPV indicates that in general, men are less likely to intervene as bystanders (Banyard, Plante, & Moynihan, 2007; McMahon, Postmus, & Koenick, 2011). Of particular importance, the literature suggests that conceptualizations of gender, namely masculinity, are closely related to men's willingness to intervene (Burn, 2009; Carlson, 2008; Casey, 2010). While it is theorized that there are multiple forms of masculinity, the dominant, or hegemonic, masculinity in our culture is characterized by heterosexuality, strength, and sexual prowess (Connell, 1995; Katz, 2006). Evidence suggests that men are required to "do gender"or act in ways that demonstrate the hegemonic notion of masculinity- in certain group contexts (West & Zimmerman, 1987). To take a public stand against violence would require men to subvert and challenge hegemonic notions of masculinity. For those men who do not agree with certain behaviors that promote violence, they may be inhibited from taking action as bystanders due to the perceived social norms of other men. For example, Fabiano, Perkins, Berkowitz, Linkenbach, and Stark (2004) demonstrated that the primary factor impacting men's willingness to intervene to prevent sexual assault was their perception of other men's willingness to intervene. Carlson's (2008) qualitative study with 20 college men revealed that a major barrier to intervening in IPV situations was the men's concern that other males would perceive them as weak or gay. Casey (2010) interviewed 27 men and also found masculine gender norms to be a barrier to ally behavior, with participants expressing concerns that they would be perceived as a "cock block" if they intervened with other men.
These studies demonstrate the salience of social norms when addressing bystander behavior. According to social norms theory, people behave according to the way they perceive others to behave (Perkins, 2003). Behavior is often based on individual's misperceptions of others' attitudes or behavior as well as perceptions of their approval or disapproval of behavior (Berkowitz, 2005; Haines et al., 2005). Typically, perceptions of risk behaviors (such as engaging in abusive behavior) are overestimated, and perceptions of protective or healthy behaviors (such as engaging in healthy relationships or intervening with abusive situations) are underestimated (Berkowitz, 2005). Consequently, there often exists a dissonance between individuals' perceptions and reality. As a result of these misperceptions, individuals may feel pressure to adopt the over-perceived behavior or to refrain from the under-perceived behavior (Haines et al.). This misperception is what Berkowitz (2005) terms "the false consensus" based on the idea that, "the majority is silent because it thinks it is a minority and the minority is vocal because it believes that it represents the majority" (p. 194). The applicability of social norms theory to IPV was recently supported by Neighbors et al. (2010) in their study with 124 batterers, as they found that the men overestimated the prevalence of a number of violent behaviors committed by other men, and that these misperceptions were related to their own abusive behavior.
Based on social norms theory, successful interventions need to provide accurate information about people's behaviors and encourage the minority to become vocal. Consistent with this theory, effective bystander intervention programs for IPV for men need to address the role of masculinity in intervening, as well as discovering mechanisms to establish healthier social norms.
In sum, the bystander approach is gaining popularity among IPV prevention programs across the country, yet there is little empirical evidence as to its effectiveness as a primary prevention strategy. In particular, there is an absence of knowledge about the process of becoming a bystander, and if and how individuals are able to translate skills learned during bystander education programs into action. Thus, this exploratory study focuses on examining the outcomes and process of a pilot bystander education program for men. The research questions are the following: 1. What is the impact of the program on men's attitudes, and behaviors? 2. What motivates men to attend a bystander education program? 3. What facilitates or hinders their ability to translate their knowledge into action once out of the program?
This study explored a pilot program designed to educate and empower men to take steps against violence in their lives and communities. The goal was to educate men who were interested in learning more about abusive relationships in order to become mentors for friends, family, and the community. The objectives were for male participants to examine their own values and attitudes in order to better understand their behavior and how it affects violence against women; be more apt to listen to women in their lives regarding how violence had affected them; curb sexist behavior, speech, and attitudes that may help create a climate where forms of abuse are accepted; and instill a sense of responsibility and empowerment that will enable men to take a stand when witnessing instances of abuse (NBDVAC, 2008, [Brochure]).
The recruitment campaign sought to enlist local male community leaders and residents in a diverse, urban area in the northeast to become ambassadors against IPV in their places of employment, in their family, among their peers, and elsewhere in the community. Men were recruited through community organizations, places of worship, and schools. The first phase of the project, which is the focus of this study, included the delivery of four workshops held throughout the community with 10-15 men in each group, for a total of 48 participants. Three of the workshops were held with community based groups and the fourth was held for male faculty, staff, and students at the state college located in the city.
Each training program lasted approximately two hours long co-led by a male and female facilitator with extensive backgrounds working in the field of IPV. The curriculum was developed by the local Domestic Violence Awareness Coalition with input from a variety of experts in the field and the curriculum produced by "Men Can Stop Rape" (Mencanstoprape.org). The training included discussion and activities to define IPV, explore the role of gender constructions and their relationship to violence against women, and introduce the term "active bystander." Participants discussed various ways they could act as effective bystanders in a range of scenarios, such as hearing a victimblaming statement after a news broadcast of a domestic violence case, or witnessing a violent episode between family members. As a conclusion, each participant was asked to develop a personal goal based on the training program.
The research design for this explorative, pilot study included multiple methods, combining both quantitative and qualitative techniques (Tashakkori & Teddlie, 1998). First, the men who participated in the workshops were given a post-test survey to determine the impact of the training on their knowledge, attitudes and behaviors related to IPV. Second, a subset of men were invited to participate in individual interviews approximately six months after completing the training to determine what impact the program had on their attitudes and behaviors related to IPV.
Participants and Procedure
Survey sample. A total of 48 men participated in the workshops and 44 completed posttest surveys, for a response rate of 92 percent. Three surveys contained missing data and were therefore eliminated, for a final sample of 41 participants, including 30 men recruited from community settings and 11 from the university. At the conclusion of each workshop, all participants were invited to provide feedback on an anonymous, brief, one page survey. A total of 64 percent of the men who participated in the workshop knew someone who had experienced abuse, and within the university sample (n = 11) this number was 91 percent, indicating that those men who participated in the workshop likely knew someone who had been affected by IPV. About half of the men in the total sample received previous education on IPV (51%) and 54 percent of the men in the university sample received previous education.
Interview sample. The interview sample was a subset of workshop participants; only those who participated in the university-based workshop were included due to limits of time and funding. All interview participants were recruited at the workshop by requesting consent to be contacted at a later date for an interview. Sixteen men attended the university workshop and of these, eight men participated in the face-to-face interviews approximately six to nine months after participation in the workshop. All of the participants had affiliations with the university--three students and five staff/faculty members.
The interviews were approximately 30-60 minutes in length and were audio recorded to be later transcribed verbatim. The interviews were conducted by two graduate students and were held at a place that was convenient for the interviewees, such as their campus offices and the campus center. At the beginning of the interviews, participants were given an informed consent sheet and pamphlets for the university department which provides free and confidential counseling to all university students, faculty, and staff in case the interviews evoked any uncomfortable emotions.
Survey instrument. The survey instrument was designed by the researchers in conjunction with the administrators of the program and representatives of the local domestic violence coalition. The survey included eight questions about participants' perceptions of the impact of the training, including their attitudes (2 questions) and behavioral intent to act as bystanders (6 questions). Examples of the behavioral intent questions include, "After this training, I am less likely to use sexist language" or "After this training, I am more likely to talk to other people about domestic violence." A mean bystander behavioral intent score was created based on these six items. Additionally, the survey included two demographic questions- whether the individuals had received previous education on the issue and whether they knew anyone who was currently or had been in an abusive relationship.
Interview instrument. The interview instrument was designed as a semi-structured guide by the principal researcher based on a review of the literature and with input from program administrators. It consisted of eight questions, including what motivated the men to participate; utility of the program, opinions regarding men and IPV; how their lives have been impacted by participation in the program; if any skills from the program were used; how much information regarding active bystanders was retained; what some challenges are to being an active bystander; how more men can become involved; and other general feedback regarding the program. Each of the questions was multi-leveled with embedded prompts, such as, "Since the training, have you had any opportunities to act as an active bystander? If so, what was challenging? What worked? Did you use any skills from the training?"
Survey analysis. Survey data were entered into SPSS 16.0. Descriptive tests were run for each variable. A mean score was compiled for the six items that asked about the participant's likeliness to engage in positive bystander behaviors, with higher scores indicating a greater likeliness to intervene. Demographic information including whether the participant was in the university or community based training; whether the individual had received previous IPV education; and whether the person knew someone who had been abused were all dummy coded. T-tests were run to determine if scores were significantly different by any of the demographic items.
Interview analysis. The interview transcripts were analyzed separately by the two authors. Cross-case analysis was used to group together answers from different respondents on common issues (Patton, 1990). Using an inductive approach to analysis, the interview results were reviewed for emerging themes. Based on the review of previous literature, sensitizing concepts were used to help guide the content analysis and give the researchers a general direction in which to look (Patton). Sensitizing concepts included motivation for men to join, the impact of the program, factors that facilitated or impeded bystander action, and general feedback about the training. The researchers independently coded each of the eight interviews and then discussed the findings until consensus was reached.
The results of the survey indicated that men reported a positive impact on their bystander knowledge and behaviors overall. Men agreed that they learned new information from the training (M = 4.12, SD = .75) and that they viewed domestic violence as a serious problem (M = 4.59, SD = .55). The mean scores for the six bystander behavior intentions ranged from 4.27 (SD = .80) for "I believe I can make a difference related to IPV after this training" to 3.85 (SD = 1.04) for "I am less likely to use sexist language after this training."
The mean score for the bystander behavioral intention scale indicated that men were willing to engage in bystander behaviors after the training (M = 4.01; SD = .69). Independent sample t-tests revealed that this score was not significantly different by type (university or community), nor for those who had previous IPV education. However, those who reported knowing someone who was abused reported significantly lower scores, representing less willingness to intervene as a bystander (t = 2.13, df= 38.551, p < .05).
The results of the qualitative analyses can be grouped into the following themes: Motivation, Impact of training, Bystander anxiety, and Future directions.
Motivation. During the interviews, the reasons that men presented for attending the training varied, but all eight respondents expressed some degree of interest in finding out more information about how men could help work on issues of IPV. A majority of the men (n = 6) had previous experience learning about IPV, either through classes or previous work experiences. One of the men who did not have any prior experience with IPV was asked to attend by his friend who was one of the program facilitators. Another respondent said he was curious about the topic.
Unanimously, this group of interview participants expressed the belief that men have a role to play in ending IPV. Four of the eight respondents said that since men are the ones who contribute to or cause the violence, they should be the ones who work to resolve it. For example, one respondent said, "I think men have a huge role because we are predominantly the perpetrators. I think there has to be a whole level of awareness that's garnered." Three of the respondents described men as having a "primary" role or responsibility in working to prevent IPV. Participants expressed a variety of ways in which they believe men have a role to work against IPV, including raising awareness among other men, actively confronting situations that are sexist or promote violence, being critical of the media's portrayal of women, taking a public stand against IPV, and being supportive to women.
Impact of training. The response to the training as described in the individual interviews was not as positive as the survey results in terms of skills or knowledge obtained. The eight interview respondents identified themselves as an "experienced group" and stated that because of this, they did not necessarily learn factual information about IPV from the training. In fact, none of the men reported learning any new information from the training, and perceived the factual information as "basic," "DV 101," and a "rehash" of information they had already acquired, although they believed the facts would be useful to men who did not already have a background in the area. However, many of the respondents believed that the workshop reinforced their knowledge about IPV. For example, one respondent said, "I wouldn't say that the workshop was the beginning. I'd say it's been one stepping stone in just developing better awareness and figuring out what to do in our personal life and professionally."
In terms of their attitudes or views on violence against women and sexism, most of the eight men in the interviews did not report perceiving a change based on the training. A majority expressed the view that they already had attitudes and beliefs that were anti-sexist, and that the training supported their perspectives but did not alter them. However, one respondent reported that he did go back from the training and looked at some of the relationships in his family differently, recognizing some abusive or potentially abusive situations. Another respondent indicated that after the training, he has been viewing the media differently, noticing sexism more prominently.
Half of the interview respondents (4 out of 8) reported that the training positively influenced their attitudes about intervening as a bystander. For example, one respondent reported that the training allowed the men to recall instances in their own lives when they did not step in and for him that was an important lesson. Other men said they were reminded that there are certain instances when they can intervene or say something when another person is making a sexist comment.
Three out of eight interview participants also reported a change in behaviors due to the training. One respondent decided to bring up the topic of abuse with his niece, since he was concerned about the boy with whom she is involved romantically. He said that the training helped him frame how to talk with her, and rather than lecturing or giving her directions, he expressed his care and concern for her well being. He explained that after the workshop, "I felt a little more of an obligation to really make sure that she had rights and understood ... so as opposed to me saying that I didn't like him, that's why I wanted her to stay away, it was more of I love her and I wanted to make sure that she was safe."
A second respondent took written information on IPV that he had received at the training and gave it to a friend who was in a violent relationship, and talked with her about it, and he believed that it helped her feel supported. A third respondent also reported attempting to intervene in a situation with a male neighbor where there seemed to be violence occurring in his family. He explained that he has provided support to the family but he is not sure how to intervene or how to approach his neighbor to talk about the situation specifically.
A fourth respondent reported that he regularly intervenes, most often through his role as a staff person with students, and views these as "teachable moments." He indicated that he continuously challenges students on their sexist language or behaviors, even when walking down the hall in the student center. He did not necessarily attribute this action to the training, however, although he believed his decisions to intervene were supported by the training.
Five of the eight men who were interviewed emphasized that the most useful part of the training was not necessarily the information that was conveyed, but rather, the opportunity to talk with other men about these issues and to feel supported in their efforts. These respondents described the training as an unusual opportunity for men to get together and discuss their role in ending violence against women. For example, one respondent said, "It's kind of not really a normal conversation piece between guys so it was interesting to see their reactions ... and just kind of like seeing what other males think about the program." The men expressed feeling that it was a "safe" and "supportive" environment in which to have this dialogue in an honest manner. One respondent said, "The men did talk and spoke pretty candidly, to the point where there was actually even disagreement in our group on certain subjects. I thought that was good. It was good to get that out there."
Additionally, the men discussed feeling reinforced by "being in a room of like-minded men" where they experienced a sense of solidarity. One respondent explained, "I was surprised to see some of my former bosses there. So we kind of clicked more because we were supporting something that men are hardly seen to support, which was the domestic violence workshop. It strengthened our relationship even more...." Another respondent said, "It's reinforcing to know that there are other men who are willing to take that same standpoint and say, I do wanna be an active bystander, I am going to speak out against this behavior that perpetuates domestic violence. It's useful just to see that there are other people who are gonna think the same way. Because a lot of times ... you don't wanna be the one that steps out from that group and says, wait."
Bystander anxiety. The interviews provided an opportunity to gather more in-depth information about the process of acting as an engaged bystander, which was not captured by the survey. During the interviews, seven of the eight men expressed anxiety about intervening as a bystander in situations related to violence against women, and believed this prevented other men from acting as well. This theme was unanticipated yet strongly expressed. Two types of anxiety were evident in the interviews: anxiety about confidence and skills. The issue of confidence anxiety was strongly related to masculinity. Five of the eight respondents identified gender roles as prohibitive of bystander intervention for men. The respondents discussed how the topic of violence against women is often uncomfortable for men to address or to bring up in conversation and that is it largely due to the fear of being perceived as weak or gay by their male peers. One respondent said, "Men don't wanna be seen as pansies or weak or homosexual or some negative thing if they're gonna speak out against some topic, or they seem like they're wimps". Another respondent said, "It takes a whole other level of self confidence and faith in yourself to be an active bystander."
In addition to lacking confidence about intervening, some of the men (n = 5) expressed anxiety about not having the skills or knowing what to do to intervene effectively. Respondents reported feeling "worried about making the situation worse" or "adding to the problem." One respondent explained, "The main challenge is worrying about making a situation worse; doing something where it's going to cause a worse outcome than whatever is going to happen .... I think that's always in the back of someone's mind, at least from my perspective." Some of the men wondered how to intervene "constructively" in a way that would "dissuade the level of anger and confrontation."
Future directions. When interview participants were asked what else could be done to engage men as bystanders, several suggestions were offered. One almost unanimous comment (n = 7) was to provide ongoing opportunities for men to come together to talk about the issues, continue dialogue about men's roles, and further develop skills. These seven men all expressed the belief that a one-time training was insufficient to sustain positive change. One of the respondents explained that his awareness of the issues was raised right after the training but that after some time it "went back down to pre-awareness." These respondents expressed the desire to have continuous opportunities to become involved and to feel connected to one another as well as other men who would be interested.
Additionally, the respondents expressed the need to involve other men in the movement to end violence against women. For example, one respondent said, "They need to hear and see other men talking about these issues to really maybe start to make a connection that it's something they can actually assist with." Four of the eight men talked about recruiting others to join their efforts as a critical piece of moving forward. A few of the respondents said it needs to start with one man at a time, recruiting others to join the movement. For example, one respondent said, "I think you have to ... almost find people who will infiltrate groups. Find someone who's passionate about it--a brother in a fraternity or a member of a group and have them start to do some of the homework." Many of the respondents expressed the belief that engaging other men is a hard task that will demand creative approaches. They suggested having appealing events to attract men such as offering beer and wings during a football game and then using halftime to discuss the issues; providing opportunities to engage in community service; offering continuing education credits to participate in training; and conducting small groups where men could get together to talk.
DISCUSSION AND IMPLICATIONS FOR FUTURE RESEARCH
Although only exploratory, this preliminary study suggests that bystander education may serve as a potentially useful tool to engage men in working to end violence against women. The results demonstrate that there are indeed men who are interested in taking a stand against IPV. Overwhelmingly, the men in the survey viewed IPV as a serious problem and those who were interviewed expressed the belief that it is men's responsibility to do something about it. The survey results indicate that participants believed that they could make a difference regarding IPV after the training, and they reported positive bystander behavioral intentions.
It appears that men who know someone who was abused may be more likely to voluntarily participate in a bystander training, and that additional efforts are needed to recruit other men. Interestingly, however, men who reported knowing someone who was abused also reported less likelihood to engage in bystander behaviors after the training program. Perhaps this is because after witnessing the negative impact of IPV on another person, they have additional doubts about their own efficacy in being able to intervene, or concerns about the possibility of failing. Further research should explore this relationship and the way it impacts men's abilities, efficacy and perceptions related to bystander behavior.
The survey and interviews revealed that men came to the program with varying levels of experience with and knowledge of IPV, as nearly half the sample had received previous IPV education. Hence, this suggests that bystander education programs may need to be flexible and creative in providing basic information to those who have not previously received it yet also offer more advanced levels of information for other participants with a more substantial background. Therefore, a program offering progressive levels of information that build upon one another might be useful. Additionally, there may be ways in which men with more education can receive training to then deliver it to other men.
Despite the fact that the men in the interview sample had voluntarily participated in the training and viewed themselves as above average in their knowledge and experience with IPV, they still expressed anxiety about acting as engaged bystanders. Although limited by the small sample size, the results of this study clearly indicate a need for bystander education programs to provide concrete, specific skill development. This is consistent with Banyard, Plante, and Moynihan's (2004) finding that a willingness to intervene is a foundation upon which concrete bystander skills and techniques must be offered. IPV prevention programs need to include a definition of what it means to be a bystander, what behaviors are relevant within that particular community, and how men can intervene in realistic, safe and effective ways, including specific language and resources to use.
Additionally, the findings from this study suggest that the role of masculinity must be regarded as salient when constructing and delivering bystander education programs. The findings from this study suggest that hegemonic masculinity and dominant social norms may prohibit men's involvement in IPV prevention on a number of levels. On a conceptual level, IPV may still be regarded as a "women's issue" rather than one of men's responsibility. Additionally, many IPV prevention programs have historically approached men as potential perpetrators, and thus a defensive reaction is to be expected to some degree. Introducing the concept of men as bystanders provides an opportunity to shift the way men can visualize their involvement in IPV. The discomfort that men expressed with discussing IPV may be related to the view that it is a women's issue but may also be related to their anxiety with confronting fellow men about their behaviors. The fear of being viewed as "different" or "unmasculine" was clearly conveyed in the interviews, and hence exercises that challenge men to unpack the meaning behind this are needed.
On another level, the role of masculinity has implications for the way in which men are recruited as well as the format of the program. One of the unanticipated findings from the interviews was the sense that the power of the training was not necessarily in the information imparted, but rather, in the opportunity to gather with like-minded men and to feel supported in their efforts to take a stand against IPV. There was a clearly expressed sentiment that it was important to the men to be able to connect with one another. This supports social norms theory, which maintains that successful interventions need to correct the misperceptions that those who promote healthy behavior (i.e., bystander) are in the minority (Neighbors et al., 2010). This suggests that bystander education efforts should consider small group formats where men can feel comfortable and supported.
Additionally, the men expressed the desire for ongoing opportunities to gather and to reinforce their support for one another. The results suggest that in order to successfully engage men as bystanders, there is a need to be creative in developing ways to deliver information in settings that are comfortable, interesting, and accessible to men, such as organizing a football night, gathering for beers, or showing a movie. This supports the need for coalition building by those who deliver bystander education with other groups that are populated by men, such as religious or cultural groups, philanthropic societies, and other community organizations.
Limitations and Conclusion
A number of limitations must be considered when interpreting the results of this study. It should be viewed as a preliminary study with results that are not generalizable. Both the survey and the interviews were convenience samples with small numbers. Replication is needed with larger groups.
The survey provided only limited utility for the study. The one-shot post-test only design is notoriously weak as there are a number of threats to validity, such as relying on retrospective reports and the lack of a comparison group (Mertens, 1998). Additionally, only a small number of questions were asked and were largely process evaluation type questions. Future surveys can rely on some more standardized tools developed to measure change in rape myth attitudes (see McMahon & Farmer, in press) and bystander behavior (Banyard, Moynihan, & Plante, 2007).
The interviews also contained a number of limitations. First, the sample size was obviously small and not generalizable, and further replication is needed with larger sampies. Additionally, they were conducted only with one sub-group of university staff or students that had participated in the workshop, which present threats of self-selection bias. The research conducted thus far on IPV and bystander attitudes and behaviors is almost exclusively conducted with university samples, and there is an urgent need to extend this to community-based samples. Community-based studies with an exploration of the role of culture, education, immigration, religion, and other demographics is completely absent from bystander literature at this point.
Another challenge with the current study is that many of the interview participants expressed that they had prior knowledge or education about IPV which made it difficult to assess how much information was learned by the participant, and what the effects would be on a population without prior knowledge about IPV. Those without background information on IPV may be less receptive to the message of the program. However, participants without a background on IPV may also benefit more from the workshops to gain this knowledge, where the sample used in this study appeared to learn less because of their prior knowledge. Because of this discrepancy, it is important to conduct further studies in order to determine the needs of groups with varied education.
Lastly, social desirability bias is always a threat when addressing issues such as IPV. This was perhaps compounded by having female interviewers with male participants, as they may have felt particularly uncomfortable in sharing information about masculinity and their own behavior with women. Future research should consider including measures of social desirability as well as matching the gender of interviewers with participants,
Despite these limitations, the findings provide important preliminary results upon which future research can build. Most noticeably, the reports of anxiety to becoming an engaged bystander is likely an issue in many populations. Additionally, the social norms surrounding masculinity must be further examined and considered when creating programs to engage men. The careful development, implementation and evaluation of bystander education programs is needed and may provide a promising approach to engaging men in the movement to end violence against women.
Banyard, V.L., Moynihan, M.M., & Crossman, M.T. (2009). Reducing sexual violence on campus: The role of student leaders as empowered bystanders. Journal of College Student Development, 50(4), 446-457.
Banyard, V.L., Moynihan, M.M., & Plante, E.G. (2007). Sexual violence prevention through bystander education: An experimental evaluation. Journal of Community Psychology, 35(4), 463-481.
Banyrd, V.L. (2008). Measurement and correlates of prosocial bystander behavior: The case of interpersonal violence. Violence and Victims, 23(1), 83-97.
Berkowtiz, A.D. (2005). An overview of the social norms approach. In L.C. Lederman & L.P. Stewart (Eds.), Changing the culture of college drinking (pp. 193-214). Cresskill, N J: Hampton Press.
Bonomi, A.E., Thompson, R.S., Anderson, M., Reid, R.J., Carrell, D., Dimer, J .A., et al. (2006). Intimate partner violence and women's physical, mental, and social functioning. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 30(6), 458-466.
Burn, S. (2009). A situational model of sexual assault prevention through bystander intervention. Sex Roles, 60, 779-792.
Carlson, M. (2008). I'd rather go along and be considered a man: Masculinity and bystander intervention. The Journal of Men's Studies, 16(1), 3-17.
Casey, E. (January, 2010). Engaging men as anti-violence allies. Paper presented at the 14th Annual Conference for the Society for Social Work and Research, San Francisco, CA.
Coker, A.L., Davis, L.E., Arias, I., Desai, S., Sanderson, M., Brandt, H.M., et al. (2002). Physical and mental health effects of intimate partner violence for men and women. American Journal of Preventative Medicine, 23(4), 260-268.
Connell, R.W. (1995). Masculinities. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
Fabiano, P., Perkins, H.W., Berkowitz, A., Linkenbach, J., & Stark, C. (2004). Engaging men as social justice allies in ending violence against women: Evidence for a social norms approach. Journal of American College Health, 52(3), 105-112.
Fischer, P., Greitemeyer, T., Pollozek, F., & Frey, D. (2006). The unresponsive bystander: Are bystanders more responsive in dangerous emergencies? European Journal of Social Psychology, 36(2), 267-278.
Foubert, J.D. (2000). The longitudinal effects of a rape-prevention program on fraternity members' attitudes, behavioral intent, and behavior. Journal of American College Health, 48(4), 158-163.
Foubert, J.D., & Cowell, E.A. (2004). Perceptions of a rape prevention program by fraternity men and male athletes: Powerful effects and implications for changing behavior. NASPA, 42(1), 1-20.
Foubert, J.D., & La Voy, S.A. (2000). A qualitative assessment of "The Men's Program:" The impact of a rape prevention program on fraternity men. NASPA, 30(1), 18-30.
Foubert, J.D., & Newberry, J.T. (2006). Effects of two versions of an empathy-based rape prevention program on fraternity men's survivor empathy, attitudes, and behavioral intent to commit rape or sexual assault. Journal of College Student Development, 47(2), 133-148.
Foubert, J.D., & Perry, B.C. (2007). Creating lasting attitude and behavior changes in fraternity members and male student athletes. Violence against Women, 13(1), 70-86.
Haines, M.P., Perkins, H.W., Rice, R.M., & Barker, G. (2005). A guide to marketing social norms for health promotion in schools and communities. National Social Norms Resource Center. Retrieved from the National Social Norms Resource Center: http://www.socialnormsresources.org/pdf/Guidebook2.pdf
Hughes, M.J. & Jones, L. (2000). Women, violence, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Research Report. California State University and the California Governor's Office of Research and Planning. Retrieved from http://www.csus.edu/calst/Government_Affairs/Reports/ffp32.pdf
Jones, L., Hughes, M., Unterstaller, U. (2001). Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in victims of domestic violence: A review of the research. Trauma, Violence, and Abuse, 2(2), 99-119.
Katz, J. (1994). Reconstructing masculinity in the locker room: The Mentors in Violence Prevention Project. Harvard Educational Review, 65(2), 163-175.
Katz, J. (2006). The macho paradox. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks.
Latane, B., & Darley, J.M. (1968). Bystander intervention in emergencies: Diffusion of responsibility. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 8(4), 377-383.
Levine, M. (1999). Rethinking bystander nonintervention: Social categorization and the evidence of witnesses at the James Bulger murder trials. Human Relations, 52(9), 1133-1155.
McMahon, S., & Farmer, G.L. (in press). Measuring subtle rape myths: An updated version of the Illinois Rape Myth Acceptance Scale. Social Work Research.
McMahon, S., Postmus, J .L., & Koenick, R.A. (2011). Conceptualizing the engaging bystander approach to sexual violence prevention on college campuses. Journal of College Student Development, 52(1), 115-130.
McMahon, S., Postmus, J.L., Warrener, C. & Koenick, R.A. (under review). The impact of a peer education theater intervention on rape myth attitudes and bystander behavior.
Men Can Stop Rape. (2010, March 5). Who we are. Retrieved from http://www.mencanstoprape.org
Mertens, D.M. (1998). Research methods in education and psychology: Integrating diversity with qualitative and quantitative approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Moynihan, M.M., & Banyard, V.L. (2008). Community responsibility for preventing sexual violence: a pilot with campus Greeks and intercollegiate athletes. Journal of Prevention and Intervention in the Community, 36, 23-38.
Neighbors, C., Walker, D.D., Mbilinyi, L.F., O'Rourke, A., Edeison, J., Zegree, J., et al. (2010). Normative misperceptions of abuse among perpetrators of Intimate Partner Violence. Violence Against Women, 16(4), 370-386.
New Brunswick Domestic Violence Awareness Coalition, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Community Health Promotion Program, The Rutgers Community Health Foundation. (2008). 100+ men against domestic violence. Brochure.
Patton M.Q. (1990). Qualitative evaluation and research methods. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
Perkins, H.W. (2003). The social norms approach to preventing school and college age substance abuse: A handbook for educators, counselors, and clinicians. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Tashakkori, A., & Teddlie, C. (1998). Mixed methodology. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
The White Ribbon Campaign: Men working to end men's violence against women. (2010, March 5). Retrieved from http://www.whiteribbon.ca
Tjaden, P., & Thoennes, N. (2000). Full report of prevalence, incidence, and consequences of violence against women. Publication No. NCJ 181867. Available from http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij/pubs-sum/181867.htm
Wantland, R. (2008). Our brotherhood and your sister: Building anti-rape community in the fraternity. Journal of Prevention and Intervention in the Community, 36(1/2), 57-73.
Ward, K.J. (2001). Mentors in violence prevention program evaluation 1999-2000. Unpublished report, Northeastern University. Boston, MA.
West, C., & Zimmerman, D.H. (1987). Doing gender. Gender and Society, 1 (2), 125-151.
SARAH MCMAHON (a) AND ALEXANDRIA DICK (a)
(a) Center on Violence Against Women & Children, Rutgers University.
The authors would like to thank Mariam Merced, Jessica Mertz, and Judy Postmus for their work with the program and review of this paper.
Correspondence concerning this article should be sent to Sarah McMahon, Center on Violence Against Women & Children, Rutgers University, School of Social Work, 536 George Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901. Email: email@example.com
Table 1 Mean Scores of Bystander Behavior Intentions by Item Item M SD Feels prepared to 4.10 0.800 confront a friend who is abusive Feels prepared to 4.00 0.922 confront friends who use sexist language Less likely to use sexist 3.85 1.038 language Feels prepared to help a 3.90 0.889 victim of domestic violence More likely to talk to 3.95 0.947 others about domestic violence Believes they can make a 4.27 0.807 difference Note. N = 41. Rating of these items were made on a 5-point scale (I = strongly disagree, 2 = disagree, 3 = neutral, 4 = agree, 5 = strongly agree). Table 2 Bystander Behavior Intention by Demographic Characteristic Characteristics n M SD t df p Type of Sample .836 39 .408 University 11 3.86 .98 Community 30 4.07 .55 Previous IPV Education -.406 39 .687 Yes 22 4.05 .55 No 19 3.96 .83 Know an IPV survivor 2.134 38.551 .039 Yes 27 3.88 .76 No 14 4.27 .43 Note. Scores were made on a 5-point scale (e.g., 1 = strongly disagree; 5 = strongly agree).
|Gale Copyright:||Copyright 2011 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.|