to end men’s violence against women
1. LISTEN TO WOMEN…AND LEARN FROM WOMEN
Who knows better about violence against women than women who experience it? Learn about violence by asking a woman who trusts you how violence has affected her life. Then, if she feels comfortable to talk, sit back and listen. Your role isn’t to challenge her on the details, nor debate whether something really should have bothered her or not. It is to listen. Simply trust that if she tells you something hurt her, then it did hurt her.
Turn to your local women’s organizations. Read their publications. Contribute financially. Learn from them.
2. LEARN ABOUT THE PROBLEM
Violence against women includes physical and sexual assault, sexual harassment, and emotional abuse. Not all violence leaves visible scars. Emotional violence includes regular subjection to demeaning jokes, domineering forms of behavior, and sexual harassment. The basic rights that most men enjoy – safety in their homes, ability to go out at night, a job free of harassment – are a source of fear for women in much of the world.
A common myth is that most violence is committed by strangers. The fact is, when a woman faces violence it is usually by a man she knows – her husband, boyfriend, father, friend or employer.
Violence against women happens everywhere, regardless of class, race or ethnicity, and religion.
3. LEARN WHY SOME MEN ARE VIOLENT
Men are not naturally violent. Violence is something that some men learn. Men’s violence is a result of the way many men learn to express their masculinity in relationships with women, children, and other men. Many men learn to think of power as the ability to dominate and control the people and the world around them. This way of thinking makes the use of violence acceptable to many men.
Some violent incidents by men can be linked to substance abuse. But substances don’t cause violence. Genes don’t cause violence. Ultimately, it is the attempt by some men to dominate women or some men’s attempts to dominate other men or groups of men. Violence is a way of asserting power, privilege, and control.
4. CHALLENGE SEXIST JOKES AND COMMENTS THAT DEGRADE WOMEN
Sexist jokes and language help create a climate where forms of violence and abuse have too long been accepted. Words that degrade women reflect a society that has historically placed women in a second class position. By reflecting this reality they once again put women “in their place” even if that isn’t the intention. One of the most difficult things for men is to learn to engage with other men on this issue. To question sexist language. To speak up when men talk lightly of violence against women.
5. IDENTIFY AND EXPOSE SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND VIOLENCE IN YOUR WORKPLACE, SCHOOL, AND FAMILY.
Sexual harassment refers to unwanted sexual advances or sexually-oriented remarks or behaviors that are unwelcome by another person. Flirting and joking can be fine but only if they are consensual and wanted. Men can join women in opposing sexual harassment by learning to spot it and learning to say something to stop it.
6. SUPPORT LOCAL WOMEN’S PROGRAMS
Around the world, dedicated women have created support services for women who are survivors of men’s violence: safe houses for battered women, rape crisis centers, counseling services, and legal aid clinics. Women escaping violent situations depend on these services. They deserve men’s support and our financial backing.
7. EXAMINE HOW YOUR OWN BEHAVIOR MIGHT CONTRIBUTE TO THE PROBLEM
Most men will never be physically or sexually violent. But we all need to examine ways we might try to control women. Do we blame the victim for an assault? Do we dominate conversations? Do we put women down? Do we limit their activities? Do we make all the decisions in our relationships? We all must think about the choices we make.
Real change starts from within.
reposted from the The White Ribbon Campaign & the Virginia Department of Health
- Linda Meric: Sexual Harassment Persists 20 Years After Clarence Thomas Hearings (huffingtonpost.com)
- Bullying, Sexual Harassment, and Dating Violence (education.com)
- RCASA’s Friday Facts: Facts about Stalking (rcasa.wordpress.com)