February is Dating Violence Awareness Month
Abuse is a learned behavior and statistics show that men are the major perpetrators. In many instances, boys who have witnessed abuse in their space growing up or were harmed by abusive adults are more likely to turn into men who harm others.
I DARE YOU to take make it a point to talk to the boy(s) in your space about what it means to be a MAN and that being one doesn't involve 'power and control'.
I DOUBLE DARE YOU to speak to your friend/family member you meet up with at the barbershop, the one on the basketball court, the other one at work every day...you know...the one that freely disrespects women or openly tells you that he abuses his partner, that it's not o.k. and where he can FIND HELP or talk about his MENTAL HEALTH.
Being uncomfortable is what it's going to take to become our ally against domestic violence because clapping from the sidelines isn't it. Get uncomfortable...our boys are watching.
The Bystander Approach
Who is a BYSTANDER? If you are neither the victim nor the abuser...well...you are. You potentially are in a position to discourage, prevent, or interrupt an incident(s) of abuse, if you are witness to it. In addition to calling 911 every single time you witness an attack, here are 10 starting things you can do to become an Active Bystander:
1. Acknowledge and understand how sexism, male dominance, and male privilege lay the foundation for all forms of violence against women.
2. Examine and challenge our individual sexism and the role that we play in supporting men who are abusive.
3. Recognize and stop colluding with other men by getting out of our socially defined roles, and take a stance to end violence against women.
4. Remember that our silence is affirming. When we choose not to speak out against men’s violence, we are supporting it.
5. Educate and re-educate our sons and other young men about our responsibility in ending men’s violence against women.
6. Break out of the “man box”- Challenge traditional images of manhood that stop us from actively taking a stand to end violence against women.
7. Accept and own our responsibility that violence against women will not end until men become part of the solution to end it. We must take an active role in creating a cultural and social shift that no longer tolerates violence against women.
8. Stop supporting the notion that men’s violence against women is due to mental illness, lack of anger management skills, chemical dependency, stress, etc… Violence against women is rooted in the historic oppression of women and the outgrowth of the socialization of men.
9. Take responsibility for creating appropriate and effective ways to develop systems to educate and hold men accountable.
10. Create systems of accountability to women in your community. Violence and discrimination against women will end only when we take direction from those who understand it most, women.
One More Thing You Can Do...
If you are local to Massachusetts, on Friday 28th February you can become part of the conversation with other men and women in attendance, at our 8th Annual White Ribbon Night Gala. A night that asks more men to speak out against domestic violence and take the White Ribbon Day Pledge (as seen in video above). We need men's voices in the conversation against abuse, so encourage the men in your circle to join you and become part of the solution.
Purchase HERE! #MayaEffect Award Deadline Approaching!
To be considered for the award, you must be a high school senior and email a (1) one page essay no later than January 31st, describing ways you have sought to raise awareness against domestic violence or how domestic violence has affected you or your family (please note that all correspondence is confidential). The current award amount is $700 to be used for college tuition and will be announced the night of the Gala (which you must attend as our guest). Email us if you would like to donate to the #MayaEffect Award Fund: [email protected]ow.org or for more information.