Am I Part of the Problem of Violence against Women?

 

I read a number of feminist blogs because I really do believe in social justice.

Soraya Chemaly‘s Tumblr post today hit home. It lists many, but not all of the reasons women should be able to say “No” without fear.

Wow. Humbling in the least. I am a man and I have to ask:

Am I part of the problem of Violence Against Women?

There are times when mates of mine would make misogynistic jokes with no women in the room and I would say nothing. I wouldn’t laugh but I would not voice my feelings. Sin of omission… or sin of silence.

I now am beginning to understand more deeply that not speaking up at that time is part of the very underpinnings for a culture that thinks it is playful, funny, (erroneously) masculine, to catcall women. It is a way to degrade and assert a false superiority over women, reducing them to less than human; to reduce them to objects of pleasure via a women’s reproductive organs. It’s not just wrong, it is the same propaganda that governments use during war to dehumanize an enemy.

I read all of the pieces linked to Soraya Chemaly’s post from Sept. 4th, 2014. Sobering. The 14-year-old girl murdered for not giving oral sex, the woman who had a bowling ball launched at her, or girls/women that don’t want to smile.

It’s all harassment. Scope makes no difference. The things that are believed to be innocuous, and are not, are the foundations for violence.

I’ve read pieces about women taking measures to protect themselves: don’t leave drinks unattended, don’t accept rides from men, it’s safer to give a man a fake phone number than refuse to give one. The first defense men use is: Not all men are rapists! It started me thinking. It is true, not all men are rapists. A person would be delusional or paranoid to think all men are committing violence against women. But as Dr. Who observed while looking for an enemy that might be anywhere, “Not in every shadow, but in any shadow.” It is the same with violence against women, “Not every man, but any man.”

Am I part of the problem? By my silence, yes I was, but I will do my best to end my complicity here and now.

 

 

 

 

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