Engaging Men

While women and children represent the majority of victims of sexual and domestic violence, we know that men are affected as well. Men are sexually and physically abused and assaulted. They are witnesses and bystanders to violence. And sometimes, they’re the perpetrators.

Engaging men is a crucial part of the movement to address, prevent and, one day, end sexual violence, domestic violence and child abuse. 

Joyful Heart launched our Engaging Men program in September 2011 with the airing of an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit called “Personal Fouls.” It was the first in 13 years that dealt directly with the issue of the sexual abuse of male children and adolescents by a trusted coach. Little did we know that it would air for the first time just weeks before the tragedies at Penn State, Syracuse and Poly Prep in Brooklyn were brought to light.

For the broadcast of this watershed episode, we worked with two of the leading organizations to engage and support men, A CALL TO MEN and 1in6, to produce a public service announcement and make resources available to find support, information and opportunities to get involved in efforts to end violence. The episode—which re-aired with a PSA from Mariska Hargitay in January 2012—reached over 11 million households.

These efforts helped launch a national conversation about the fact that 1 in 6 men have had an unwanted or abusive sexual experience and that engaging men—both men who are survivors and men who are bystanders to violence—is a crucial part of the movement to address, prevent and end violence and abuse. It also ignited Joyful Heart's commitment to engage men in these efforts.

Engaging Men Partner Organizations

Since the launch of our Engaging Men initiative, we have been honored to continue and expand our partnerships.

  • With 1in6. Joyful Heart partners with 1in6 to distribute informational materials for male survivors and the friends, family and partners, as well as professionals, who care for them. You can download and order these materials here. 1in6 also provides consultation and issue expertise on the subject of male sexual abuse in our efforts to influence storylines on television. You can also check out 1in6 posts on Reunion Online every week.

“The passion and thoughtfulness that the Joyful Heart Foundation bring to the field is unparalleled. We could not be more proud of our relationship with them.”

- Steve Lepore, Founder and Executive Director 1in6

  • With A CALL TO MEN. We collaborate with A CALL TO MEN, one of the nation’s leading organizations to engage men to end violence against women and girls on a number of our Engaging Men initiatives. A CALL TO MEN is one of our partners with the Verizon Foundation on the Your Voice Counts campaign and staff members regularly consult with Joyful Heart to bring expertise on men’s involvement in ending violence to trainings and workshops about our issues, including our educational program at Collegiate High School in New York City. A CALL TO MEN is also a pivotal partner of NO MORE, bringing men’s voices and perspectives on violence into the movement to end domestic violence and sexual assault.
  • With the Verizon Foundation. We’re proud to partner with the Verizon Foundation on the Your Voice Counts campaign. Together with James Brown, Mariska Hargitay, A CALL TO MEN, Verizon’s Hopeline and NO MORE, the Your Voice Counts campaign is aimed at engaging men to speak out against domestic violence. This campaign invites all of us, along with influential leaders and organizations, to use our voices to help end domestic violence once and for all.
  • With Peace Over Violence. Patti Giggans, Executive Director of Peace Over Violence, is a regular contributor to Reunion Online, sharing news and events related to POV's efforts engaging men to end violence and abuse. Patti is also the founder of Denim Day, a worldwide campaign to support survivors of sexual assault and spread the message that there is no excuse and never an invitation to rape. Through Denim Day, Peace Over Violence has been engaging bystanders, including men, since 1999. Joyful Heart has been honored to help bring Denim Day to New York City.

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