Shifting the Paradigm
Women's security issues aren't just about changing the way women and girls think and behave. It is also about changing the way the men and boys think and behave. They are as much a part of the solution as they are part of the problem. What can we do to cause a paradigm shift among both the male and female population?
I came across Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore's campaign from a few years ago, "Real Men Don't Buy Girls." Yes, the video clips of celebrities are a bit cheesy and even a bit out there at first. But, the closing message is clear - The sex slave trade is NOT okay. Looking into this campaign a little further led me to the Genesis Project (gpseattle.net) based in Seattle. Part of their mission is to get more men involved in fighting this industry. The more men who stand up and say it's not okay and think about "What if this were my mother, my sister, my daughter?" the less power the industry might have. Why did an organization and a campaign based in the US grab my attention? Because while the girls are are victims in the sex trade come from overseas, many of the men who are buying the girls are in the United States.
From the Real Men Don't Buy Girls campaign...
Patrick Stewart's response to a question at Comicpalooza. What does he think is the most important work he does outside of acting? Campaigning for men to take on greater roles in ending violence against women.
Patrick Stewart's speech to Amnesty International about his personal experience growing up in a home with domestic violence.
Further research reminded me about the actor, Patrick Stewart, and his campaign to stop violence against women. He has spoken publicly about his childhood growing up in a home where his mother was a victim of domestic violence. He strongly believes that violence against women needs to start with men.
Women's security is not just an issue that we should be looking at as "over there" in another country far, far away. Part of the problem is in our own backyard and we need to look at the problem from ALL perspectives if we are truly to cause a paradigm shift and effect change. So many women in the industrialized countries of the world are also victims of violence. Both domestic violence and the sex slave trade seem to be issues that we are always talking about yet never seeming to do enough to stop. Yes, domestic violence gets a lot of attention in Western society but all too often, the targets audience is women. But, men should be an integral piece of the discussion as well.