By Marylouise Kelley, PhD., Director, Family Violence Prevention and Services Program
As director of the Family Violence Prevention and Services Program (FVPSA), a program of the Family and Youth Services Bureau in the Administration for Children and Families, I am pleased to share with you the launch of a new campaign that invites men to play a part in the movement to end domestic violence.
Te Invito, a toolkit and campaign designed to engage Latino men to end violence against women, was created by the National Latin@ Network for Healthy Families and Communities, a project of Casa de Esperanza, a FVPSA resource center. The initiative is a shining example of FVPSA’s ongoing work to prioritize training on healthy masculinity to engage men and boys to lead violence-free lives and relationships, and to develop culturally relevant programming related to domestic violence.
With Men’s Health Week June 9-15, the launch of Te Invito reminds us all of the critical role that men can play in shaping positive relationships with their children, their partners and communities. What is particularly meaningful about Te Invito is how the National Latin@ Network engaged men to share in its creation.
The campaign was informed by listening sessions conducted with Latino men and women from the St. Paul and Minneapolis metropolitan areas, where discussions about gender roles, socialization, education, violence and culture shaped the final product. Participants were asked why it is important for Latino men to be involved in ending domestic violence and how men would like to be more engaged in the work. Two overarching themes emerged from these community discussions: first, men want to be invited to contribute to the movement to end domestic violence; second, men recognized how relationships with their peers can be opportunities to teach each other about healthy relationships.
The resulting campaign materials and toolkit were inspired by the wisdom and experiences of the men and women who generously shared their time and ideas. Featuring Latino perspectives that span generations, Te Invito contains a number of resources, including customizable public service announcements, anti-violence pledges, and conversation starters about how traditional masculinity can hurt both men and women.
The National Latin@ Network and Casa de Esperanza developed the materials so that locally based organizations may use them to invite Latino men to participate in their prevention efforts. I invite you to explore everything that Te Invito has to offer, including Spanish language materials, on the National Latin@ Network’s website.
More than one in three women are survivors of domestic violence in the United States, but we know that domestic violence is not just a women’s issue. Relationship violence has far-reaching impacts—from children, to communities—and putting an end to violence against women will take the active participation of men. Te Invito delivers an important message not only to Latino men, but to all fathers, brothers, sons, and male allies in the movement to prevent domestic violence.
Juan Carlos Areán, senior director of the National Latin@ Network, says it best: “I have worked to end violence against women for more than 20 years and have seen an always increasing number of men getting involved in this cause. The Te Invito campaign is one more opportunity for Latino men to step up to the plate and work together with women to create a better future for all.”