First Man Standing

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is First Man Standing about?

First Man Standing exists to highlight positive stories of how women and men can achieve gender justice and bring an end to violence against women. It recognises the widespread abuse by men against women that takes place in every country in the world, but aims to show that there are alternatives. By highlighting positive models of how men relate to women, we want to inspire a movement of men committed to bringing about change. By providing links to talks, videos and other resources, we also aim to equip those who want to take action to know what they can do.

2. How did firstmanstanding.com come about?

The original First Man Standing campaign was established by Restored to create a movement of men committed to ending violence against women. The original campaign asked men to:

  • Respect all women;
  • Challenge other men;
  • And sign up to the White Ribbon pledge 'never to commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women.'

This website aims to bring these messages to a wider audience and to highlight positive models to inspire change.

3. What does First Man Standing hope to achieve?

The ultimate aim of FMS is to see equality between men and women and an end to violence against women. We believe that this will begin to happen as the attitudes and actions of people, especially men, begin to change. By raising awareness and promoting positive examples, First Men Standing aims to be a significant element of the broader movement for gender justice.

4. How do my stories make a difference?

Stories are the most powerful medium for conveying messages. We want to gather stories to build up a picture of what gender-just behaviour and positive masculinity looks like. By providing a story you are inspiring others and providing a real life example of what can be achieved.

5. I'm a woman – is firstmanstanding.com just for men?

No, not at all. The fight against gender injustice has sometimes been seen as a struggle between men and women, but in reality it is a struggle of all people against prejudice. In highlighting the part men can and should play in this, we fully recognise the leadership and work of women in the past and present to create a more equal world. We want both women and men to submit stories and join us in working out how women and men can come together to bring an end gender injustice more quickly.

6. So why are you just collecting stories about men, then?

We think there are already many places for women to go to be inspired to fight for equality, such as the Inspiring Women project. There are far fewer ways for men to learn what their role in tackling sexism is and how to do that sensitively and effectively. We want to fill this gap by providing men with inspiring examples and a practical ‘toolkit’ for how to live lives of gender equality, highlighting positive male role models and behaviours.

7. Doesn’t this shut out women’s voices?

To shut out women’s voices in favour of men’s would be to exacerbate the problem that we are trying to solve. Women’s voices are not nearly prominent enough in the public domain and we are thankful for campaigns like the Everyday Sexism project which enable women’s experiences of sexism to be heard. We love to receive stories from women and their voices are of vital importance in showing men how to be better champions for gender equality.

8. Isn’t this just praising men for what they should be doing anyway?

In an ideal, gender-equal world, this website would not be necessary. Unfortunately, however, standing up for women’s rights is challenging, and both men and women encounter resistance when they try to do it. Furthermore, as sexism has been largely branded a ‘women’s issue’, few men are engaging in this debate. This website does not aim to reinforce notions of male superiority by celebrating their efforts over those of women, but rather seeks to provide men with the help they need to step up, by acknowledging those who have rejected sexism and seeking to follow their example. We aim to learn from each other and we strive to create a humble and inclusive atmosphere in which to do so.

We want to highlight good examples and to set the bar high, but we also want to recognise progress made by men who are moving in the direction of gender equality. We believe that this will help us to engage with a wider range of men who want to change but are conscious that they are still on the early stages of a journey.

9. Just how big an issue is it?

Globally, women aged 15-44 are more at risk from rape and domestic violence than from cancer, car accidents, war and malaria, according to World Bank data. Up to 70 per cent of women experience violence in their lifetime.

You can find more statistics here, which show that this is a worldwide issue which affects women of all ages, nationalities and faiths. The huge scale of this injustice means that we need as many people as possible to mobilise to end it, including both men and women.

10. What about men that are abused?

All abuse is wrong and should not be tolerated. In some countries there are organisations already established to help male victims of violence. We would encourage male victims to seek help from them.

The abuse of women by men has some of its foundations in the historic inequality of men and women - when women were (and, in some places, still are) possessions of men. This is not a foundation of abuse of men and, therefore, there must be different and very separate responses to both these terrible issues.

11. I’m currently being abused. How can I get help?

You are not alone. In many countries there is help and support for you. If you are in the UK and in immediate danger, then dial 999 and ask for the police. Otherwise, you can call the national domestic violence hotline on 0808 2000 247 who will direct and guide you. Further support and information is available from Women’s Aid.

If you are based internationally and have access to the internet then look at Hot Peach website for services available in your country.

12. Is First Man Standing just for Christians?

No. While we work in alliance with Restored, we do not exist exclusively for Christians. We want all men and women to engage with this important issue - from all faiths and none.

13. I'm a student at university and care about this issue. What can I do?

We have been working alongside Just Love to create a campaign in universities that raises awareness of violence against women and challenges the cultural norms that perpetuate harassment and abuse on university campuses. You can read more about the campaign here to find out how you can get involved.

14. How can I give financially?

First Man Standing is funded by Restored. To support this work financially, which is needed and will be much appreciated, please click here.

15. How can I get involved with FMS?

We would love for you to get involved in whatever way you can. To find out more about the many ways you can support FMS, go to our Get Involved page. If you have any questions or want to find out more, please do get in touch at info@restoredrelationships.org. We’d love to hear from you!