This profile was prepared when Charles Maisel was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2001.
The New Idea
Only some men hurt women, and most do not. In this large, hitherto silent majority Charles sees a solution. He aims to change the attitudes and behavior of all men by building a strong movement against domestic violence among those "everyday heroes" who oppose it. Charles's method is unique because it focuses on prevention and puts men in major roles, while also engaging women. While other projects try to empower women or confront abusers, Charles engages nonviolent men as collaborators in homes and communities across the country. He identifies "positive" men at the grassroots level, then works with them to enhance their good qualities and values and to find ways to support women. At the same time, Charles encourages women to identify the positive men in their homes and communities and to participate in savings programs that help them become less financially dependent on men. His immediate goal is to reach one million men, and his ultimate objective is to end violence in South Africa, particularly against women and children.