The Raising Gentle’men Program encourages boys and young men to replace stereotypical ideas of men as controlling, aggressive and gaining power through violence, with the truth that men can be gentle, compassionate and kind without risking their identities.
Some of the ideas that are challenged include:
aggressive, hyper masculine media images of men
images of men as loners who are separate from society
showing emotion or having compassion as a sign of weakness in a man
verbal communication as a feminine trait
male success defined by rugged individualism and isolation
WHY DOES COLLIER COUNTY NEED THIS PROGRAM?
More than 85% of domestic violence incidents are due to a patriarchal attitude. In December 2008, Collier County Public Schools adopted a policy prohibiting bullying and harassment of any student or employee of a public K-12 educational institution (Florida Anti-bullying bill). Studies show that a child or young person experiencing domestic violence may become the bully at school as this may be the only environment in which they have control. (Davina James- Hanman). During the 2015-16 school year, The Shelter conducted 163 Gentle’men presentations to 4,183 young men and boys in Collier County.
The overall goal of the curriculum is to promote gender equality, increase self esteem, and end violence in society by challenging erroneous or limiting attitudes and beliefs.
The activities are based on a holistic approach towards learning with a methodology and content that seeks to educate for change and violence prevention by empowering students through the acquisition of knowledge (cognitive), the application of skills (behavioral) and a change in attitude (affective).
Increased ability to understand and empathize with others
Improved social skills and competence
Increased problem solving ability
Developed sense of personal power and belonging
Acceptance of less rigid gender roles
Development of respect and tolerance for differences
Ability to use critical thinking skills to make healthy lifestyle choices