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It's a men's issue, and a peer group issue.

I have been a global nomad my whole life and have mulitples sets of friends in different places. I have never come across domestic violence amongst friends in conversation, but I have come across guys using prosititutes which I find equally bad and have always criticised. I have failed to ever change the mindset when an entire peer group seems to accept this as normal. I have found the behavior behaves in peer groups similar to the discussions of Nicholas Christakis on obesity and smoking and believe the behavior needs to be thought of as a peer group and not on an individual level. Christakis said the best way to quit smoking was to get your friends to quit, maybe the same is true for violence.

Photo of James McBennett
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Making gender abuse a women's issue gives men an excuse not to pay attention. Men commit the act, if we are endlessly focused on what women are thinking and doing, we can't expect to achieve transformative change. 

Jackson questions how we use language
John beat Mary.
Mary was beaten by John.
Mary was beaten.
Mary is a battered women.

The first question is about John while the other three are primarily about Mary. In the latter two, John is dropped from the conservation which is how most people unfortunately speak.

When Women stand up for themselves, it is sometimes not taken seriously or not believed or for some other reason not listened to. Men need to stand up with women, so both genders speak together.

How do we  get men in the company of other men with no women present to speak out against violence against women? Instead of laughing along, how do you get one man to interupt the conversation and say I don't agree with that, much alike if someone made a racist, or homophobic comment. Can a peer culture exist where men who act out against women will lose status?

"In the end what will hurt the most is not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." Martin Luther King


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Photo of Rafael Carabano

thanks for sharing this post James. What makes me reflect is when he states "calling gender violence a women issue is part of the problem" because men can just basically ignore them. despite they have a gender as well. This is an issue about society, a violent society, a society that chooses to ignore unfortunately many violence acts that surround us. Just because it doesn't impact us directly apparently. But when it does affect us, then we start pay attention and worrying about it.
We are strongly in need as a society to look outside our own environment. Stop thinking that is a women issue or a race issue. This is for me a key concept as part of this challenge: create awareness! provide valuable and accesible information to out communities.

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