So recently I was cruising through some TEDx talks and came across Robert Eckstein's presentation on "Engaging Men as Allies in Preventing Violence Against Women".
Eckstein currently works at the University of New Hampshire. His responsibilities include being part of a research group called "Prevention Innovations". The primary mission of this organization is to create and evaluate tools that help with the prevention of sexual violence, relationship violence and stalking.
I think what he has to say is food for thought..His ideas to engage more men in the prevention of Violence Against Women, are what he calls "small and simple; starting with day-to-day things".
Here are his thoughts on how we get more men to care about these important issues:
Make the issues more relatable. More personal. Bring the issues close to home.
Consider the women in your life. A partner, sisters, friends, daughters, mother, aunt, grandmother. With the stats that 1 out of 4 women will be abused by a relationship partner and 1 out of 6 women will experience an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime...How many women would be on your list of those you know?
The reality is that most everyone will have somebody in their life that either has or will be directly impacted by abuse or violence. So how DO we engage more men in the prevention of violence against women?
The following question can be answered by anyone but I hope the men reading this will take special notice:
Do you think the women you care about see you as an ally in the cause of prevention of violence against women?
When it comes up; how do you talk about rape?
When it comes up how do you talk about domestic violence?
When there's a case in our community or news feed; do you express your opinions about the case and if so how do you do it?
Do you know what victim blaming is?
Do you know what rape myths are?
Do you make an effort to avoid endorsing these ideas?
In the most general of terms; what type of language do you use when you talk about women?
Do you automatically become defensive in discussions related to violence against women?
Do you automatically become defensive when you hear discussions around male privilege? If so have you ever thought about how this comes across to women you care about?
Do people look at you and say, "This is someone I can share my story with, without feeling judged and blamed?...Who I can share my story with and feel confident that they will listen and provide support?
Considering these questions can be beneficial for anyone - but if men will consider their answers to these questions, perhaps they will become more conscious of the role they play in the lives of women and the prevention of violence against women.
If you've got 15 minutes to spare - the time will be well spent in watching the full TEDx talk here.
Take a look and see what you think about his suggestions and then share your thoughts in the comment section below. If you like what you see, click "Like" and don't forget to share this video and post with men in your lives to get the conversation started.