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Violence Against Women Is Not Just a Women’s Issue

Female Writers Sexually Harassed, Dress policing girls

It is a known reality that violence against women is one of the most shameful human rights violation. No country can only become progressive if it liberates itself from the clutches of this horrific violence.

 “Violence against women is perhaps the most shameful human rights violation, and it is perhaps the most pervasive. It knows no boundaries of geography, culture or wealth. As long as it continues, we cannot claim to be making real progress towards equality, development and peace”

-Kofi Annan

We are all bombarded with news stories related to molestation, sexual abuse, kidnapping, rape, domestic violence, honour killings and blue-blooded murder of women all across the world. It’s sad as to how we associate violence against women as a women’s issue while it needs to be categorized under men’s issue as it is Men’s violence against women.

This may sound new to all of us who are reading this because we are all used to always blaming women for all the atrocities inflicted upon them. This whole new transformative paradigm was introduced by one of world’s famous educator, Jackson T. Kats.

Katz is an American educator, filmmaker, and author who  has created a gender violence prevention and education program entitled Mentors in Violence Prevention, which is used profoundly by U.S. military and various sporting organizations, but has now spread its wings all around the world.

Katz explains that men are not aliens from different planets who are on a mission to attack women on our planet but rather it is the male culture, peer pressure, socially constructed norms and expectations which are the main reasons why men inflict violence.

Talking about male culture, Kavitha, a housewife from New Delhi talks about how in our society men are expected to remain hard and rigid about everything in life.

She says, “The very notion of superiority and men’s power advocated in our Shastras and Manusmritis, have been the validating source for men who have been inflicting violence against women for all these years. Reading the Manusmriti, one will be devastated as to how our ancient scripts encouraged violence against women. All that it advocated was to encage women and not give them any privilege.”

Violence by men is not affixed just on women but also on men but this does not mean women do not perpetuate violence, but the fact is 99% of the violence is caused because of men.

Another important point that needs to be noticed is that how our society’s code of conduct encouraged men with power to inflict violence upon weaker men as well. Violence by men is not affixed just on women but also on men but this does not mean women do not perpetuate violence, but the fact is 99% of the violence is caused because of men. In our country we have had dejected instances where we blame the women for being inappropriate, roaming around so late, partying late night, wearing indecent clothes and for instigating men to act in a violent way and its melancholic as to how the women’s aspect is only spoken about and how the perpetrator of the crime (men), are never brought into the picture.

This is what Katz also mentions as to how reportage of such violence is never about the man but always about the woman. He gives an example, Mr.X raped Ms.Y. This is the news and this is how it is supposed to be reported but what happens these days is that, Ms. Y was raped or Ms.Y is a rape victim.

Katz accentuates how this particular way of reportage has become a problem and how a potential men’s issue just easily makes its way into a women’s issue column.

Simran Chathrath, 20, a college student from Delhi also throws light on the point that how gender issues are directly related with women’s issue. “When we talk about Gender stereotypes or issues, what comes into all of our minds is that women are fighting for their rights, they are suppressed, they are considered inferior and so on and so forth but never do we talk about how men are supposed to shed their historical assets of power and superiority and how it is men who are the reason for all these problems”.

She mentions about the Nirbhaya case wherein the whole world knew who Nirbhaya was and what happened to her but hardly 10% knew who the perpetrators were and, this is exactly why and how it turned into a women’s issue while it had to be a burning men’s issue. This is how we disengage men from considering it their issue.

Katz mentions as to how it is important for men to stand up against men for inflicting violence against women.

He mentions as to how historic it has been to see women becoming vocal about such issues and how they have come out in the open to discuss such issues boldly but how unfortunately this won’t work out to help change a man’s mentality because of the same old issues of historic and institutional idea of male power and superiority. He emphasizes that it can be changed if men stood up against men.

For example, If in a group a man passes a sexist comment, and if a friend of his condemns such a sentence and his act of being sexist, there is a high possibility that a man will listen due to peer pressure. If 3 out 4 friends condemn his act, he is bound to change and this can happen only is men consider it as a men’s issue and if the whole world throws emphasize on this issue as a men’s issue.

This is also possible only if we women do not blame ourselves for being the victims of rape, harassment, sexual abuse, domestic violence and violence of any sort.

Various men led organizations like Mentors in Violence Prevention, Men Against Violence against women, Men can stop rape, Men Stopping Violence, Man Up Campaign, CONNECT, A Call to Men have begun working towards the path of helping fellow man from behaving violent with women. Most of these organizations mission is to empower men to end all forms of violence against women by educating themselves and the community, raising awareness and creating social change. These are evidences of how men in our society have consciously begun understanding violence against women as a men’s issue and how they have begun to mobilise this cause. Now it’s time we look at things from a different perspective, join and mobilise great causes and inch forward towards change.

Reshma Ganeshbabu is an intern with SheThePeople.TV

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