Tag Archives: SPOILED

MAVA Mumbai



Based in Mumbai, Men Against Violence and Abuse – MAVA – is a group I discovered while doing research for my play SPOILED. One day I cold-called Harish Sadani, MAVA’s founder and ‘chief functionary’, from Delhi, seeking information about how boys and young men in India develop attitudes toward women and what some typical experiences were.

harish2Harish was gracious and helpful, sending me links and information. When I traveled to Mumbai last year, we had a long lunch together. He fielded all the questions I could think of and supplied both hard data and an authentic, local perspective. You could say he answered some of the questions I didn’t even know to ask.

In the process, I learned about MAVA’s work and their small, meaningful, unglamorous but incredibly important behaviour-changing interventions. The organization is not huge, it is not fancy, it is not well-funded, it is not luxuriously appointed or thickly-staffed. But little by little, the activities of groups like MAVA have a chance at changing longstanding, deeply held attitudes.


MAVA Needs Help

If you want to cut right to the chase, watch this short video. MAVA needs funding for its “ASPIRATION” project for young men and boys. Take a look at what you can do through Global Giving. I gave. I promise you it will be money well spent – the whole appeal is $5,000, so even very small amounts will help. If you want more information, keep reading. You can always come back to the video. Or just watch the video for fun.

In India, men are the perpetrators of the vast majority of acts of violence against women: beatings, sex-selective abortions, rape, routine harassment (‘eve-teasing’). Their sense of self requires dominance over women in ways large and small, filling both home and workplace with distorted relationships.

stories-of-change2Men are also victims of a sort, however, trapped in a socially created role that deprives them of opportunities for shared emotion, manifestations of vulnerability, and the satisfactions of child-rearing.

MAVA believes that changing the attitudes of men, especially young men and boys, is key to changing this harmful pattern.

So what does MAVA actually do?

MAVA initiatives focus on redefining masculinity, empowering women, and helping humanize men. They work with very accessible youth-friendly techniques and have trained hundreds of community facilitators and mentors. They make men aware of stereotypical gender norms and help them see more balanced, less confrontational alternatives.



  • provides one-on-one counseling with men and women suffering distress because of gender violence, marital discord, or harassment.
  • runs a telephone hotline for youth with questions or problems on relationships, sexuality, or violence.
  • conducts Gender Sensitization Programmes for community groups, workplaces, colleges, NGOs and residential colonies. These programs use a wide range of techniques to encourage participation and an honest exploration of gender roles.
  • organizes Yuva Matri, a sensitizing and educational program for young men which has now spread to six districts in Maharashtra and won numerous awards.*
  • provides pre-marital guidance workshops.
  • publishes Purush Spandan in Marathi, an annual magazine with factual information, short stories, and essays on topics of dowry, beauty, vices, and sexuality, all designed to introduce new ways of seeing men and women.

The Stories of Rahul, Shafique, and Aijaz

Rahul, Shafique, and Aijaz are among 45 boys from 3 communities who are being shaped and mentored by a dedicated team from MAVA. Boys 13-17 are being enabled to talk to peers in their communities on matters of gender discrimination and abuse of women. As MAVA says:

Rahul16, is studying in final year at a government-run high school. Staying in a dilapidated slum in South Mumbai with his parents, one brother and a sister, Rahul has many times witnessed violence on his mother inflicted by his alcoholic father. After joining a gender-sensitization camp, Rahul reflected on the various discriminations faced by his mother and even sister. He has started voicing his angst on this and has decided to intervene in any further instance of violence against his mother.

Shafique, 17, son of a commercial sex worker has seen how his biological father has neglected his mother and stopped supporting his educational needs. At weekly interactive sessions by a social organization, he has shared his pain while growing up as a boy. Determined to change the situation by taking a job after his studies and upholding his mother’s dignity, Shafique now aspires of a society where women are not subjected to any kind of violence or where women do not live in fear of violence.

Aijaz, 14, stays in a community where many disadvantaged Muslim boys like him are deprived of basic developmental needs like healthcare and education. After attending workshop sessions conducted by youth leaders, he has realized how girls from the neighborhood are more disadvantaged than the boys. He has expressed that for changing the conservative outlook of his brethren in the community, he should begin the change first with himself. He has stopped speaking swear words and through songs and skit guided by a youth mentor, he has started ventilating his thoughts to peers in his neighborhood, spreading messages on women’s safety.

These are the kinds of individualized but powerful interventions which will, one family at a time, bring about psychological and behavioral change.

And there’s always their FB page which, if you’re into that sort of thing, you can like. Share. FB stuff.

And for those awards that I mentioned:

*Yuva Maitri was selected as the Grand Prize Winner for providing the most innovative solution to Preventing Violence Against Women at the 2010 global Ashoka Changemakers (US) competition. See more details here.

*Yuva Maitri was also selected as a ‘Best Practice in Public Service Delivery’ by the Government of India. Read about it here.


WSLR Interview



Redressing gender imbalances, life in India, CEDAW, the making of the play SPOILED, and many other topics were covered on the WSLR program “On the Red Couch.

Listen here. Rachel and I would love to know your thoughts.

Contact me at scott@elizabethscottosborne.com or Rachel through On the Red Couch.


News Flash!

SPOILED on Screen 

Spoiled2.mp4.Still.Scene 1

 A video of SPOILED will be shown TONIGHT – Friday, March 6 – in New York at the International Conference on Masculinities. We are thrilled to be a part of this large gathering of social scientists, policy makers, practitioners, researchers, and activists, all working together to enhance gender justice.


Here’s some of the info from our program to put the performance in context.

Violence, Masculinity, and the Making of SPOILED

All the stories in SPOILED are based on recent incidents in India and the USA. Two girls, living in a home with no toilet, were raped and hung up in Badaun after going outside at night. A young man in Santa Barbara shot six people, citing, among other things, his rejection by girls. A woman in the US military was repeatedly assaulted by a fellow officer. An Indian girl, judged a little too brazen for her gender and caste, had her face slashed. A Danish woman was raped near the Delhi train station.

Scott Osborne moved to India in 2011 and was struck by the gender disparities and prevalence of violence against women throughout the country. Seeking to bring greater attention to this issue, she worked with girls and continued to research the topic. This quickly led her beyond direct work with women and girls to an interest in the gender construct of men and boys. A chance meeting in 2013 with Elizabeth Hess, actor and playwright, kicked off the inspired collaboration that would ultimately become SPOILED. Together they realized the value that a dramatic performance could bring to this complex topic.

Spoiled2.mp4.Still.Scene 8

Some facts:

  • In the USA, 98% of rapists will never spend a day in jail. (www.rainn.org).
  • In rural Bangladesh, 57% of the population has either perpetrated or been the victim of partner violence. (Why Do Some Men Use Violence, 29)
  • Fifty-nine percent of men in Mexico see nothing wrong with a girl under 18 working as a sex worker. (Evolving Men, 53)
  • Forty-one percent of women in Rwanda report experiencing intimate partner violence. (Evolving Men, 43)
  • In Sri Lanka, 96% of male perpetrators of violence experience no legal consequences. (Why Do Some Men Use Violence, 45)
  • In 2012, 26,000 American men and women were sexually assaulted by their own countrymen.(DOD FY 2013, Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military)
  • In many countries in Asia, half of all rapists first perpetrated rape as teenagers. (Why So Some Men Use Violence, 39)
  • In the USA, a fifth of all sexual assaults will be committed by juveniles. (www.rainn.org)
  • Common reasons men rape? ‘Sexual entitlement,’ or ‘fun;’ the men and boys are ’bored.’ (Why Do Some Men Use Violence, 44)

Who is raising these boys? And aren’t we all responsible for producing such harmful attitudes?

The root causes of this sexual violence are complex but need not be permanent. Childhood experiences, especially abuse and neglect or witnessing the abuse of women, are powerfully tied to later perpetration of sexual violence. Alcohol abuse, especially binge drinking, is closely associated with sexual violence. Men who hold attitudes of male privilege and entitlement, and men who pay for sex, are consistently more likely to perpetrate rape. Cultures with few legal repercussions for intimate partner violence invite its continuation. But it is possible to remedy all of these risk factors. Focus on attitudes and entitlement. Set a nonviolent life course as early as possible. Bring alcohol use into the conversation. Include school-based programs. Involve men and boys in the discussion.

We are in debt to many organizations working to change the root causes of these unhealthy behaviors, as well as to the parents and teachers who encourage and model healthy gender roles every day.


Research includes:

Evaluation Study: Working with Men and Boys on Prevention of GBV (Rozan, 2012)

Evolving Men: International Men and Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES)

(Coordinated by the International Center for Research on Women and Instituto Promundo, 2011)

Felony Defendants in Large Urban Counties (US Department of Justice 2009)

The Making of Sexual Violence: How Does a Boy Grow Up to Commit Rape? (IMAGES)

National Crime Victimization Survey: 2008-2012 (US Department of Justice)

Uniform Crime Reports (FBI 2006-2010)     DOD FY 2013, Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military

Why Do Some Men Use Violence Against Women and How Can We Prevent It? Quantitative Findings from the United Nations Multi-Country Study on Men and Violence in Asia and the Pacific (Partners for Prevention, 2013) ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Thanks to the many people who helped us with these stories, and especially to Madhumita Das of ICRW, Rajesh Batra of Alpha Montessori, and Harish Sadani of MAVA, who gave so freely of their time and expertise.