Violence Against Women – A Men’s Issue

You might call it an epidemic. Violence against women is certainly a disease – a disease of the soul, of the heart, of the mind; a disease corrupting our society. And it is widespread. But an epidemic also infers a sharp increase in cases, exceeding what is expected. Violence against women is nothing new. It has been present in painful proportions throughout the history of the world. We might be seeing a sharp rise in reported cases simply because we no longer accept it as normal, thank God, and more women and girls are reporting it (see Jonathan Derby’s analysis of reporting rape in India in The Hindu, as an example). Regardless, the problem is unfathomably large. It’s consequences are catastrophic – in the lives of individuals and in society.

Yes, it is a disease. And the symptoms of this disease are rape, domestic violence, female genital mutilation, sex-selective abortions, unequal pay, demeaning jokes, preferential treatment toward boys, human trafficking and slavery, among others. The United Nations reports “at least one in three women is beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused by an intimate partner in the course of her lifetime.” In their book, Half the Sky, Sheryl WuDunn and Nicholas Kristof share that it “appears that more girls have been killed in the last fifty years, precisely because they were girls, than men were killed in all of the battles of the twentieth century.” (xvii)

The realities we face are disturbing. They are horrific. They demand our attention. They demand our outrage.

As we travel, we will continually return to the reality of violence against women, but we want to spend a few weeks to bring attention to the problem from the beginning. To do this, we’ll share videos and resources, as well as our own personal reflections as we wrestle with how to makes sense of and respond to violence against women. We’d love your thoughts, so comment-it-up. And if you have your own story to share, or other resources, or experience working in communities where violence against women seems more prevalent, we love guest-posts. Let us know.

To begin, watch this TED Talk, as Jackson Katz destroys the assumption that violence against women is just a women’s issue.


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