As most of you are aware, we are in day four of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence campaign.
Today Melissa over at Shakesville had an excellent (as always) post about what men can do.
I urge you to go and read it in its entirety. Much of the post struck home with me. For example:
See, the thing about men who are violent toward women is that they don't respect women, or what they have to say, or even their basic rights—and when you consider that the responsibility for preventing violence against women has traditionally been left to women, you start to see the problem. We need other men to communicate to them loudly and clearly and constantly that violence against women is totally unacceptable. We need male allies, just like the LGBTQ community needs straight allies, just like people of color need white allies.
Yes, I consider myself a feminist, and of course I abhor the thought of violence against women. That being said, I haven't really done much else. I have made the occasional post about it, but honestly I am a bit uncomfortable writing on the topic and I often punt, if you will, to Melissa. If I see something that offends my sensibilities, I usually email her and she will write a post about it. I will probably keep doing that because she is a better writer than I am and she does have about a few thousand hits more a day than I do.
So, back to the question: What can I do?
Well, this list (via A Call To Men) is a good place to start:
10 Things Men Can Do To End Men's Violence Against Women
1. Acknowledge and understand how sexism, male dominance and male privilege lay the foundation for all forms of violence against women.
2. Examine and challenge our individual sexism and the role that we play in supporting men who are abusive.
3. Recognize and stop colluding with other men by getting out of our socially defined roles, and take a stance to end violence against women.
4. Remember that our silence is affirming. When we choose not to speak out against men's violence, we are supporting it.
5. Educate and re-educate our sons and other young men about our responsibility in ending men's violence against women.
6."Break out of the man box"—Challenge traditional images of manhood that stop us from actively taking a stand to end violence against women.
7. Accept and own our responsibility that violence against women will not end until men become part of the solution to end it. We must take an active role in creating a cultural and social shift that no longer tolerates violence against women.
8. Stop supporting the notion that men's violence against women can end by providing treatment for individual men. Mental illness, lack of anger management skills, chemical dependency, stress, etc… are only excuses for men's behavior. Violence against women is rooted in the historic oppression of women and the outgrowth of the socialization of men.
9. Take responsibility for creating appropriate and effective ways to develop systems to educate and hold men accountable.
10. Create systems of accountability to women in your community. Violence against women will end only when we take direction from those who understand it most—women.
Thanks Liss, for the suggestion and the work you do.