Engendering Healthy Masculinities

A “gender transformative” approach involves altering gender and sexuality norms that foster violence against women while promoting bystander intervention (i.e., giving boys skills to interrupt abusive behaviors they witness among peers) to reduce the perpetration of sexual violence (SV) and adolescent relationship abuse (ARA). This study will provide urgently needed information about the effectiveness of a gender transformative program that combines healthy sexuality skills, gender norms change, and bystander skills to interrupt peers’ disrespectful and harmful behaviors to reduce SV/ARA perpetration among adolescent males. This is a community-partnered study, in collaboration with the YMCA and Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh, involving African American adolescent males ages 14-17 living in socially disadvantaged neighborhoods. This focus is because a) racial/ethnic disparities in health are stark in Pittsburgh, b) we do not have community-based programs that focus on engaging young men around healthy masculinity and sexuality, and c) more prevention efforts in communities with high prevalence of poverty, sexual violence, and poor health outcomes are needed. We will use a community asset mapping approach to ensure that multiple community partners are involved at each site to help build trust, assist with recruitment and retention of youth, and to nurture positive youth development in each of these sites. (Funding Centers for Disease Control and Prevention U01CE002528)