If you’re a man reading this, you may think that because you don’t hit the opposite sex you’re doing your part to curb violence against women. You can and should do more, however. From becoming better educated on gender violence to changing the ways in which you communicate about women, you have the power to help stop female violence.
Increase Your Own Awareness
Violence against women is not a ‘women’s issue’, it is a human issue. As a man, it is as important for you to be as aware of statistics, data, incidents and approaches to stopping gender violence as it is for any woman to do the same. Doing so is as easy as regularly visiting human rights websites and blogs centered around this issue, as well as becoming more alert concerning acts of gender violence that take place in your own community.
Watch Your Words
Words used to dehumanize women are gateways to violence against them. Labeling women as bitches, whores, bimbos or any number of other disparaging terms promotes the idea that they are of lesser social status in comparison to men. While you may sometimes refer to women– or to a particular woman– in such a way, yet never attempt to physically harm one, know that this sort of language is precisely the same as is being used by men who do. When women are given demeaning labels, some men believe this translates into women being worth less than men. Many even justify violence against women because they believe these labels to be true and that the women they are applied to are somehow deserving of abusive treatment. Please make a conscious effort to curb your language and respect women in general conversation.
Do not allow other men to talk about or even joke about harming a woman without you speaking up against gender violence. Remaining silent during such conversations can be misunderstood as condoning or accepting violent behavior toward women. Often, men will say things to other men that they may not say in a mixed setting. It is your job as an insider to speak up in defense of women whenever you hear one of your brothers joke or make a violent remark about them.
Extract the Word ‘Pimp’ From Your Vocabulary
The word ‘pimp’ has managed to become a badge of honor. From once popular television programs like MTV’s now defunct reality show, Pimp My Ride, to the name of a popular Android app which allows users to create a backup for system files, the word ‘pimp’ has officially become a verb. Like other words with dark origins often used and debated today, many don’t seem to realize that there is nothing positive about pimping as an occupation. But allowing the use of the word in a positive, good or funny context lends to glorifying the lifestyles of the actual men who rape, beat, brainwash, intimidate and sell girls and women. Be conscious and deliberate about eliminating this word from your vocabulary and even use it as a talking point against gender violence when you hear others use it.
Talk to Other Men
At every reasonable opportunity, speak to other men about what you are doing to stop violence against women and teach them how they can also become involved by making deliberate lifestyle choices. If you are even moderately skilled at public speaking, lend your voice to a broader platform and volunteer to speak at schools, organizations and other public forums whenever possible. Be aware that young men, especially, take behavioral cues in society from other men and your voice can make a difference. It is not just up to women to fight to stop male violence and aggression toward other women. It is also up to you as a man to educate and empower yourself and other men to stop the harmful aggression toward women taking place under your noses every day.