From Canada to Korea, Brazil to China, Spain to South Africa, Pakistan to the United States, men are finally challenging a grave epidemic and a terrible form of terrorism. It is not a disease, nor what we normally refer to as terrorism. But that doesn’t matter for the thousands of women who are murdered each year and the millions who suffer physically and emotionally. For this is men’s violence against women. It is an epidemic that shows up in many forms: Women beaten by their husbands. Sexual harassment by men at work. Sexual assault on a date or at home. Murder.
In some countries, so widespread is domestic violence against women by men that everyday acts of hitting are not even considered violence. In other most countries, the majority of men do not commit these acts of violence, although a significant minority do. But that majority of men have until recently been silent. Through this silence we have allowed the violence to continue. This is because men control governments and police, legal systems and religious institutions, corporations and the media. And it is because men respect what other men say. Or what we do not say.
The result is that millions of women live in fear and terror. Who are these “terrorists”? They are ordinary men from all social backgrounds and of all ages. Rich and poor, men who toil in the fields and men who sit behind desks. They are our friends and perhaps our fathers or our sons.
Why does this violence exist? It is not because men are bad, nor because we are naturally violent, nor because some men are crazy. It is because we have created cultures where women are not valued and where men exercise power and control in the home, on the streets, and in our places of work. It is because we raise boys to be tough and not show tender feelings. It is because we have defined manhood as having power. And, strangely, it is because many men secretly fear not being “real men” or not having enough power. These men use violence to prove to themselves and to the men and women around them that are “real men.”
Until now, men have been part of the problem. But around the world, there are men who strongly believe that we must end our silence and work alongside women to end the violence.
How can we end men’s violence against women?
* We must commit ourselves, from our homes to the highest levels of government, to full equality between women and men.
* We need laws that clearly prohibit all forms of physical and sexual violence. We need to train police and judges to enforce these laws.
* We should support services for women who are escaping violent relationships, and support men who are committed to stop using violence.
* We need educational programs in our schools so young people can learn that violence against women is unacceptable, to learn how to create healthy relationships, and to learn respect for one another.
* We need to redefine manhood so that a man can be both strong and gentle, so men can learn healthy ways to express emotions, and so men can learn to take equal responsibility with women for raising our children.
* And we need public education campaigns such as the White Ribbon Campaign.
Begun in 1991 in Canada, the White Ribbon Campaign has now spread to more than thirty countries around the world. Each year, for one or two weeks, men and boys wear or display a white ribbon. (In most countries this is around November 25, proclaimed by the United Nations as the International Day for the Eradication of Violence Against Women.) The white ribbon is a public promise never to commit, condone, or remain silent about violence against women.
The White Ribbon Campaign is politically non-partisan and includes men across the political and social spectrum. It is led by the men (or men and women) in each country and each community. They hold public meetings, or sponsor television or radio ads. They put up posters, or distribute ribbons and information at schools, workplaces or markets. They encourage boys and men to find their own ways to speak out in their schools and communities. They raise money for women’s groups and work closely with them to support their goals. They are supported by unions, professional associations, student groups, corporations, religious institutions, the media, non-governmental and governmental organizations.
These men and boys learn to challenge sexist language and behavior that demeans women. They learn to examine their own actions and beliefs. They learn to listen to the voices and experiences of women.
Why are men speaking out against the violence? It is not an act of collective guilt. No, it is an act of collective love. Love and respect for the women in our lives: our mothers and daughters, our wives, our sisters and our friends.
This year, in Korea, this year in Canada and around the world, men and boys are standing side by side with women. And with one voice and with all our strength and power, we are saying this: We will end this disease. We will free our homes and countries of this terror. No woman should live in fear. Working together, we will end this violence.
An Act of Collective Love: Why Men Are Working to End Violence Against Women
Presented at the launch of the South Korean White Ribbon Campaign
Seoul Korea, November 23, 2003
Guys Guide to Feminism…The Talk
Yes, you’ve heard the rumors: Brad Pitt and Ryan Gosling are teaming up with Steven Spielberg to make the movie version of this year’s indie-hit book. Ah, rumors… Which brings us to the reason for
"Guy’s Guide to Feminism … The Talk" because this is exactly how you’ll get co-author Michael Kaufman to your campus or community for an incomparable night of humor, serious conversation, story-telling, and hard-hitting analysis. Get in touch: email@example.com
MICHAEL’S FACEBOOK PAGE
The Possibility of Dreaming on a Night Without Stars
First published by Viking/Penguin, now out as an eBook for Kindle, Apple iBook, Kobo, Nook, and other tablets. Click here to read reviews, download a free excerpt, or order today
- In Australia on the Path to Greatness
- The Real Republican Strategy: Crazy Like Foxes?
- Do Men Hate Women? (Talking About Misogyny)
- Education after Steubenville: The 4 Rules of Sexual Consent
- International Women’s Day….A Letter of Love From Men
- Thousands Gathering at United Nations With One Message: End Violence Against Women & Girls!
- Feminism: Helping Men Be Free
- Valentine’s Day: Flowers Are Fine, But Here are 6 Keys to Good Relationships!
- Men: Which Side Will You Be On? Sexual Violence in India
- Eight Steps to Presidential Greatness
- Republican Party Rape Advisory Chart
- What is Healthy Masculinity?
- Rape & Women’s Voice
- Saudi Arabia: How About a Segregated City for Men?
- Olympic Dreams, Olympic Myths
- LOCKED-OUT SYNDROME STRIKES WOMEN & MEN!
- My Message in the British Parliament: Women Should No Longer Stand Alone
- International Women’s Day…A Letter of Love From Men
- Men for Women’s Choice
- The Five Reasons Why Men Should Control Women’s Reproduction
- APOLOGIES (To Anyone Who May Be Offended By This Blog)
- Killing in the Name of Honor
- Why Are (Some) Men Still Afraid of Feminism?
- The Astoundingly Simple Truth About Masculinity and Goodness
- Men and the Search for Love
- White Ribbon: 20 Years, 1000s of Campaigns to End Violence Against Women
- White Ribbon Campaign: 20 Years Working to End Violence Against Women
- Occupy Minds, Not Real Estate! (And Set Up a Much-Bigger Tent)
- The 0-0-0 Plan for Ending Sexual Harassment!
- In Norway, Gender Equality DOES Extend to the Bedroom
- Occupy the Future! (The 8 Keys to Being the 99%)
- The Guy’s Guide To Feminism
- Soften Up, Men!
- The Two September 11s
- A Man With The Greatest of Hearts: Jack Layton, 1950-2011
- London Burning, Governments Cutting, Wall Street Plunging
- Terror in Norway: An Extraordinary Letter from Oslo
- Summer Sports: Women Rock, Fathers Weep
- 9 Steps to a REAL Father’s Day
- SlutWalk: Anger, Celebration & the Conversation We Need to Have
- Letter from Scotland
- The Stupification of America . . . and Beyond
- An Open Letter from God to Sarah Palin
- The Top Ten List You Wouldn’t Want to Be On
- Nuclear Manhood
- Signs of Hope in Istanbul
- International Women’s Day…a Letter of Love From Men
- Julian Assange: Hero? Creep? Victim? Victimizer?
- Italian Men, Berlusconi, & the Forward March of Women
- Valentine’s Day: Flowers Are Nice, But Dish Out the Respect!
- Hear the Sound of Freedom!
- Why Protests Keep Spreading
- The End of Men
- People as Political Props: the Real State of the Union
- Amazing White Ribbon Campaigns in Australia, New Zealand, South Pacific … and Antarctica
- December 6, 1989: The Day Canada Changed Forever
- Interview on engaging men to promote gender equality
- Watch Michael on “Men’s Room”
- Letter from Rio de Janeiro
- US Campus Men’s Conference
- The One Thing We Really Should Do This New Year
- Letter from Riga, Latvia
- Letter from Italy
- Letter from Istanbul, Turkey
- Letter from Jerez de la Frontera, Spain
- New Approaches for Ending Sexual Harassment at Work
- Letter from India
- An Act of Collective Love: Why Men Are Working to End Violence Against Women
- Manhood and War
- Letter from China
- Free Book Download: “Cracking the Armour: Power, Pain and the Lives of Men”
- Better Fathering Will Help End Violence
- New Web Site With New Resources
- Building a Movement of Men Working to End Violence Against Women
- The White Ribbon Campaign – Breaking Men’s Silence To End Men’s Violence – Statement of Principles
- The 7 P’s of Men’s Violence
- Better Fathering Will Help End Violence
- Being a man doesn’t have to be a struggle
- Men must abandon notion they are violent by nature
- No public Twitter messages.