IT’S NOT “THEIR” ISSUES; IT’S OURS
A paradigm-shifting perspective on the issues of gender violence issues: sexual assault, domestic violence, relationship abuse, sexual harassment and sexual abuse of children.
In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.
– Martin Luther King
Gender Violence issues are viewed as women’s issues that some good men help out with (aka Allies).
Take ownership of the problem and view them as society’s problem.
In this bold, blunt talk, Jackson Katz points out that gender-violence issues are intrinsically men’s — and shows how these violent behaviors are tied to definitions of manhood. A clarion call for us all — women and men — to call out unacceptable behavior and be leaders of change.
Calling gender violence a women’s issue is part of the problem
- It gives (some) men an excuse to not pay attention
- Power and privilege often goes unexamined because it’s regarded as the “norm”
An exercise to examine our language in shifting away attention away from men
(From the work of feminist linguist: Julia Penelope)
John beat Mary
Mary was beaten by John
Mary was beaten
Marry was battered
Marry is a battered woman
This is an example of victim-blaming
What if we asked the right questions?
Don’t ask why are women facing these problems?
Ask why are so many men abuse physically, emotionally, verbally and other ways, the women, girls, men, and boys they claim to love? What’s going on with men?
Looking at the problem as a whole
The perpetrators aren’t monsters who crawl out of the swamps and come into town, abuse and then retreat into the darkness. That’s a naive notion.
What are we learning from religious institutions?
What are we learning from sports culture?
What are we learning from porn culture?
What role does family structure play?
What role does Economics play?
What role do Race and ethnicity play?
How can we be transformative?
How can we Redefine manhood?
How can we do better with socialization of boys?
Killing the Messenger
Terms like man-hater and feminazi are designed to make women who are standing up for themselves, other women, as well as men and boys to sit down and shut up. (Special shoutout to the humans who haven’t been listening and are taking a leadership position on this issue)
Powerful Role that Men Can Play in Feminism
As men, we can say something that women can’t say; or even better said: We can be heard saying something that women often are not heard saying. We need more men that have the courage to stand up against injustice.
Battle of the Sexes is Nonsense
Most of us have women we deeply care about in our lives. We need men to stand with women, not against them. We live in this world together. Feminism not only stands for bettering women’s lives but also the little boy who is profoundly hurt by an adult male being violent to his mom, his sister and often himself. It sounds obvious when you say it out loud; doesn’t it?
Instead of focusing on perpetrators and victims, focus on bystanders. Bystander is anyone in a given situation that is not the perpetrator or the victim. For example friends, colleagues, co-workers, family members, those of us that are not directly involved in the act of abuse, but interact with those that are. Specifically for men, the goal is to have men that are not abusive, challenge those that are. To be clear, abuse isn’t limited to a physical beating. Sexist comments during a poker game are abusive and need bystanders to say “That’s not funny.” Bystander approach aims to give bystanders tools to stand up against injustice.
Break the silence!
The responsibility of breaking this vicious system should not fall on the shoulders of a little boy, it should be with adult men with power. Adult men with power should be held accountable to take leadership roles on this issue.
Deeply caring is no longer enough. We need men with the courage, strength and moral integrity to break our complicit silence to stand up against injustice. We must stand with women and not against them. We owe this not only to women but also to ourselves and our sons.