Where Do Men Fit In #MeToo Conversations About Sexual Violence?

Conversations about sexual assaults and harassment have exploded across social media since the #MeToo campaign exploded on the internet Sunday evening, with thousands of women sharing their stories.

Some argue, however, the onus shouldn't be on women to prove the problem remains widespread — men should be a part of the conversation as well.

Ryan Avola, who runs iGuy empowerment workshops in Vancouver teaching young boys to think critically about masculinity, said men need to take the initiative for change.

But starting those discussions can be a challenge, Avola told CBC Early Edition host Rick Cluff.

"There is still a lot of backlash from men, young men too, when we start to deconstruct ideas of masculinity and especially violence against women," Avola said. "A lot of the reaction is kind of, 'well, this is the way it is' or 'this is not my problem, I don't do this. I'm not that man.'"

Open conversations

Part of tackling violence against women is talking about it openly with men and boys, Avola said.

The iGuy workshops are for boys aged eight to 12 and involve discussions about views of masculinity, societal pressures and gender-based harassment.

'When we started building those blocks about stereotypes and masculine stereotypes, we start seeing this picture of a man that is strong and tough but also maybe aggressive and loud and powerful," he said.

"That spirals into a conversation about violence — not just in our boy groups around bullying and aggression but what that means for girls in our schools and women in our lives."