KU News Service

Researcher taking part in survey on men's motivations to take part in anti-gender-based violence events

Fri, 04/04/2014

LAWRENCE — Involving men in gender-based violence prevention events and community mobilization is one step toward confronting a serious problem. A University of Kansas researcher is part of an international survey to find out what motivates men to take part in such events, why they do or don’t continue with them, and what they think of the organizing endeavors.

Juliana Carlson, assistant professor of social welfare, is part of a research team that is completing online surveys with nearly 300 men from more than 35 countries who have taken part in some form of organized gender-based violence prevention event. By gathering a wealth of data from the participants, the researchers hope to provide feedback to gender-based violence prevention organizations, social workers and others who work with boys and men.

“The domestic violence and sexual assault movement, which has been around since the ‘70s, has largely focused on the female survivors and male perpetrators of the violence,” Carlson said. “While in the last 15 years or so there has been a new focus on, 'How do we engage boys and men to prevent the violence from taking place?’ There hasn’t been a lot of research to see what’s effective and ask how are they getting funding and similar questions.”

The survey seeks to identify factors that influence men’s willingness to get involved in the effort to combat violence against women. The researchers are looking to find out whether a relative or loved one’s experiences with gender-based violence was a motivating factor, if fatherhood played a role or other motivating factors.

Carlson is working with Richard Tolman of the University of Michigan, Erin Casey of the University of Washington-Tacoma, independent researcher Christopher Allen and Heather Storer, doctoral student at the University of Washington-Seattle. The researchers presented preliminary findings at the American Men’s Studies Association Conference in March in Tacoma, Wash.

In addition to seeking information on why men take part in such efforts, Carlson and colleagues hope to find out the effects the anti-violence participation has on participants. Some men attend only one event, while others remain involved in anti-violence efforts for years. The objective is to find out what contributes to the decision to drop out and to learn more about the motivations of those who have remained involved. The researchers also are surveying men on their attitudes toward topics such as gender equality and will look to find out whether men involved for the long term have higher gender equality scores.

“Our goal is to get a better sense of what’s bringing men to these prevention efforts,” Carlson said. "What motivates them to continue or drop out? We want to get a better understanding of the shifts in attitudes of those involved.”

Prior studies conducted by the researchers examined organizations that provide anti-violence efforts. Questions addressed the nature and reach of those efforts to engage men in violence prevention.

The survey, available in French, Spanish and English, also will give researchers a look at regional and cultural differences in violence prevention efforts offered in various locations. The data will help guide culture-specific recommendations for providers based on their region and avoid “one size fits all” approaches.

Following the presentation of preliminary data, the research team will begin writing journal articles and recommendations based on an analysis of the findings. Carlson, whose research focuses largely on fatherhood and violence prevention, plans to analyze data from survey respondents who indicate fatherhood as a reason they became involved in violence prevention efforts. By examining questions such as where such respondents are from and what their attitudes toward gender equality and violence prevention are, Carlson hopes to further her larger goal of helping reduce exposure to early childhood violence.

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Wanna Skype? Chancellor gets creative to surprise Truman winner. See it here:
Rock Chalk! Junior Ashlie Koehn named KU's 18th Truman Scholar
Ashlie Koehn, a University of Kansas junior from Burns studying in Kyrgyzstan, interrupted helping her host family prepare dinner to make a Skype call on Monday evening.

.@KU bschool 's KIP team includes @KU _SADP students in all-ages housing project. #KUworks
Wanna Skype? Chancellor gets creative to surprise Truman winner From KU News Service: Ashlie Koehn, a University of Kansas junior from Burns studying in Kyrgyzstan, interrupted helping her host family prepare dinner to make a Skype call on Monday evening. To her surprise, Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little was on the other end of the call letting Koehn know she had been named a 2015 Harry S. Truman Scholar. Koehn is the 18th KU student to be named a Truman Scholar and the only 2015 recipient from the state of Kansas. Earlier this month, she was also named a 2015 Udall Scholar. And in spite of a distance of more than 10,800 kilometers and 11 time zones, Koehn’s thrill from hearing the news from the chancellor came through loud and clear. “Ashlie’s experience at KU epitomizes a quality undergraduate experience. She challenged herself in her coursework, exposed herself to different research opportunities, studied abroad in Germany, Switzerland and Kyrgyzstan, and participated in both student government and community service projects,” Gray-Little said. “This is quite a year for Ashlie. Her hard work is a wonderful reflection on her and also a great reflection on the university, and we all congratulate her.” Each new Truman Scholar receives up to $30,000 for graduate study. Scholars also receive priority admission and supplemental financial aid at some premier graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and special internship opportunities within the federal government. Koehn, a member of KU’s nationally recognized University Honors Program, is majoring in environmental studies, economics and international studies. Her goal after earning her KU degree is to pursue a master’s degree in economics at either the London School of Economics or the University of Reading, with a focus on the economics of climate change. In 2014, she received KU’s Newman Civic Engagement Award for her work establishing the Coalition against Slavery and Trafficking. Her involvement with the issue was sparked by Hannah Britton, associate professor of political science and women, gender, and sexuality studies, who hosted national conference on contemporary slavery at KU three years ago. “Ashlie and I met several times to think about what KU students could contribute to the issue of slavery and human trafficking, and the result was her founding of KU CAST,” Britton said. “After a year as president, Ashlie successfully handed the organization over to the next student leader. She demonstrated her strong leadership qualities by setting a unique goal and then pursuing it with her sense of passion, engagement and dedication. No matter the country or context, her leadership strength is evident in her coursework, her public service and her work experiences.” The University Honors Program works with a campus committee to select KU’s nominees for the Truman Scholarship and supports them during the application process. Anne Wallen, assistant director of national fellowships and scholarships, noted it was an amazing ruse to pull off the surprise. Originally, the call was set up to be between Wallen and Koehn. “I was totally not prepared to be greeted by Chancellor Gray-Little, but it was an amazing surprise for sure,” Koehn said. “As a first-generation student, it took time to learn the collegiate system, but my parents taught me to be resourceful and independent from a young age and KU and the Kansas Air National Guard have provided me with the opportunities to drive me into the future, both at graduate school and in my career. I plan to use the Truman Scholarship to pursue a career as an environmental economist helping to shape future trade agreements and leverage action on important international environmental issues, particularly concerning climate change.” Koehn also had a surprise of her own for the chancellor — the meal she was helping to prepare was not exactly typical Kansas dinner fare. On the menu with her host family in Kyrgyzstan on Monday was a traditional Kyrgyz meal called Beshbarmak, or “five fingers,” because you eat it with your hands. The dish is made of horse and sheep and was being prepared as a birthday celebration for Koehn’s host mom. Chancellor Gray-Little, as she signed off from Skype, made sure to encourage Koehn to enjoy her Beshbarmak. Koehn is the daughter of Rodney and Carolyn Koehn of Burns. She graduated from Fredric Remington High School in Moundridge. She is an active member of the Kansas Air National Guard and currently on leave while studying abroad in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. She is a member of the KU Global Scholars Program and a past member of the Student Senate. In addition to being named a 2015 Truman and Udall scholar, she was named a 2014 Boren Scholar and Gilman Scholar and in 2013 was named the Kansas Air National Guard Airman of the Year.

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