Approach gender violence as a MEN’S issue involving men of all ages and socioeconomic, racial and ethnic backgrounds. View men not only as perpetrators or possible offenders, but as empowered bystanders who can confront abusive peers
If a brother, friend, classmate, or teammate is abusing his female partner — or is disrespectful or abusive to girls and women in general — don’t look the other way. If you feel comfortable doing so, try to talk to him about it. Urge him to seek help. Or if you don’t know what to do, consult a friend, a parent, a professor, or a counselor. DON’T REMAIN SILENT.
Have the courage to look inward. Question your own attitudes. Don’t be defensive when something you do or say ends up hurting someone else. Try hard to understand how your own attitudes and actions might inadvertently perpetuate sexism and violence, and work toward changing them.
If you suspect that a woman close to you is being abused or has been sexually assaulted, gently ask if you can help.
If you are emotionally, psychologically, physically, or sexually abusive to women, or have been in the past, seek professional help NOW.
Be an ally to women who are working to end all forms of gender violence. Support the work of campus-based women’s centers. Attend “Take Back the Night” rallies and other public events. Raise money for community-based rape crisis centers and battered women’s shelters. If you belong to a team or fraternity, or another student group, organize a fundraiser.
Recognize and speak out against homophobia and gay-bashing. Discrimination and violence against lesbians and gays are wrong in and of themselves. This abuse also has direct links to sexism (eg. the sexual orientation of men who speak out against sexism is often questioned, a conscious or unconscious strategy intended to silence them. This is a key reason few men do so).
Attend programs, take courses, watch films, and read articles and books about multicultural masculinities, gender inequality, and the root causes of gender violence. Educate yourself and others about how larger social forces affect the conflicts between individual men and women.
Don’t fund sexism. Refuse to purchase any magazine, rent any video, subscribe to any Web site, or buy any music that portrays girls or women in a sexually degrading or abusive manner. Protest sexism in the media.
Mentor and teach young boys about how to be men in ways that don’t involve degrading or abusing girls and women. Volunteer to work with gender violence prevention programs, including anti-sexist men’s programs. Lead by example
Copyright 1999, Jackson Katz. www.jacksonkatz.com / Jackson Katz
Are you concerned about your relationship? Does your partner…
- Hit, slap, punch, or choke you?
- Threaten you, put you down or call you names?
- Have outbursts of anger or overreact to small things?
- Display unreasonable jealousy?
- Threaten you with weapons or other objects?
- Show quick or extreme mood swings?
- Have a history of abuse in past relationships?
- Treat you like a possession, saying no one else can “have” you?
- Mistreat pets or children?
- Try to isolate you from friends or family?
- Enforce stereotypical ideas of male/female roles in your relationship?
- Accept no blame or responsibility for his/her behavior?
- Act charming & likable in public while treating you badly in private?
If you can answer “Yes” to one or more of these questions, you may be experiencing abuse in your relationship. You are not alone. Abuse happens in every culture, every country, every age group, and it may be happening to you. No one deserves to be abused or threatened. You cannot stop your partner’s abuse, but you can find help and support for yourself. You can call SHRCC’s 24/7 number to access our services: 1.800.273.5066. If you are in immediate danger, call 911.
What You Can Do
- Call the police if you are in danger and seek medical attention if you are hurt.
- Talk with somebody you trust such as a friend or relative, someone from your job or house of worship, or your health care provider.
- Develop a safety plan with your children including people they can call in an emergency.
- Put together an “emergency kit” for a situation where you have to leave suddenly (keys, money, legal and important documents, medicines, etc.).
- Remember that you are the expert about your own life. Don’t let anyone talk you into doing something that’s not right for you.