Today, November 25, is recognized as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. There are already lots of great things being written today on the topic, so instead of re-writing some of the same statistics, stories, and concepts, I decided to use my Joker to King platform to discuss some of the ideas men need to keep in mind concerning violence against women.
- In your relationships, stop being a guy and start being a man. Guys treat relationship conflicts differently than men. Guys get angry and then lash out. Men get angry and then do everything else except lash out. Guys have actions that are driven by their emotions. Men have actions that may (or may not) be supplemented by their emotions.
- Adopt your role as a protector. Throughout time, men have been called to protect, provide, and preside. These are the three pillars of manhood. You cannot claim to be a true man if you haven’t learned to protect those around you. Physically assaulting women or laying your hands on a woman out of anger takes you further and further away from what it means to be a man who protects others.
- Teach young boys that violent actions are to be used in self-defense. I wrote about this before, but we have a strange problem in this country. We teach men how to fight, while we teach women how to defend. This fact reveals a lot about American culture. In what situations would it ever be okay for anyone to initiate violence against someone else? The answer is simple: violence is initiated only when your life is threatened. If a man’s life is not threatened, then why use violence?
- Learn how to be a better bystander. You may not be violent against women, but standing around while one of your buddies abuses his girlfriend is just as bad. When you see someone acting out of line toward women, you really only have three options.
- Option one: tell yourself it’s none of your business and just walk away. The problem with this option is that everyone involved in the situation loses, including you. When you walk away, the victim receives no help. When you walk away, the abuser gets the message that what he’s doing is okay. When you walk away, you carry that incident in your conscious forever. And in some scenarios, your silence condones the behavior. In fact, there are ten states in the U.S. that have “duty to rescue” laws in certain situations where a person’s life is in danger.
- Option two: intervene effectively. If you choose this option, know what you’re getting into. There are real strategies you can learn to diffuse situations. But you should only meet an abuser’s violence with your own violence in extreme situations…and only in extreme situations.
- Option three: contact someone who has more power than you. If you don’t have the skills to confront an abuser, that’s fine…just locate someone who does.