A Free Workbook for Young Men on Violence and Masculinities

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This workbook has been designed so that young men like you are able to relate to the issue of violence and reflect on this widespread problem. This resource is part of a series of toolkits and educational material developed by Breakthrough on social issues of human rights, gender, sexuality and violence against women, through which they try to build leadership among young people. Breakthrough’s Rights Advocates Programme in India is an intensive leadership development and capacity-building initiative to mobilize youth and communities to challenge unequal power structures, change cultural norms and bring sustainable social change within all avenues of social interaction, including within the home. Your ability to act as a catalyst in your own context leads to more effective community mobilization for promoting human rights.

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The workbook is aimed toward working on self before we begin addressing the issue of violence. In it, they try to generate critical self-reflection on the processes which are deeply embedded in daily routine and are reinforced by the religious and legal institutions in soundings.

The sessions have been designed such that the focus on the self then leads to changing what is wrong around us. They expect that the sessions will help bring realisation on the ways boys and men enjoy social power, multiple forms of privilege and a sense of often-unconscious entitlement by virtue of their sex. The sessions also try to bring about the realisation of the reasons why boys and men engage in behaviours that have bad consequences for themselves and those around them. Below is the structure of the sessions which will help explain the concept of gender, violence, power and rights, primarily to boys and men.

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  • Knowing the self
  • Knowing the self in context with one’s gender
  • Knowing the self in the context of one’s gender and rights
  • Understanding the broader context of violence and identifying it
  • Looking at violence around us in our day-to-day lives and its influence on oneself and our rights
  • Understanding the link between power, control, rights violation and identities that use of violence as a tool
  • Looking at options which are non-violent
  • Looking at how they can create change in communities


The objective of this workbook is to help you:

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  • To analyze the impact of violence in your day-to-day life.
  • To break down the norms and values that promote violence against you and others.
  • To find ways of challenging gender-based stereotypes that promote the use of violence to justify the privilege of power by men.
  • To offer suggestions and real-life examples for alternative, non-violent behaviour that young men can follow themselves.

Who can use this Workbook?

The workbook is for young men between the ages of 18 to 24 years to explore themselves by thinking. However, older people and women and girls can use this workbook, too. The workbook can be adapted by a skilled facilitator for an audience of:

  • Senior school teachers and counsellors
  • Non-government organization and community-based organizations working with youth (both boys and girls).
  • Facilitators can use these exercises with a group of 20-25 participants. The time required would be approximately the same as mentioned in the sessions.
  • However, more time might be required for a larger group and the process might have to be altered for a group situation.

You can download this workbook for free here.

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