Gary Barker opens a conference in Belgrade

On January 31, 2012, Gary Barker, International Director of Promundo, participated in the conference Man2012: New Balkan Boy in Belgrade. The theme of the conference was the role of men in the fight against gender-based violence, the promotion of gender equality and healthy life styles for young adults.

One study which involved nearly 1,500 youth, ranging from 14 to 19 years old from 16 cities in Serbia, reveals their attitudes towards violence, gender violence, gender equality, and the prevalence of mind altering substances among young people.

The research is part of the collaboration between Promundo and CARE Balkans, who are working to adapt and implement Program H in five countries in the region. The results of this program were discussed during the conference.

The survey results reveal that, among the nearly 1,500 respondents, almost 19% of boys stated that they participated in a violent act as part of a group, 38% of them think that violence against gays is justifiable and 58% would never have a gay friend.

When asked about the behavior of women, 28% of teens justify violence against women when they deceive men and 17% believe that women’s indecent behavior is the principal reason for sexual harassment.

The survey data also shows that 42% of teens feel that distinctions must be made between male and female jobs and 17% believe that men have more of a right to jobs than women.

Gary Barker opened the conference talking about these young people who see violence as a way to resolve problems. For him, young men who see their fathers beat their mothers are more prone to dangerous behavior and the fact that they do not have a space to talk about this issue is a problem. In his opinion, these young people should be worked with to create an understanding that violence is not the answer to problems.

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