amongst books

amongst books

Friday, July 04, 2008

ending violence against women

that should be a reasonable thing to support, right? but something in me squirms a bit here. nope, i don’t want women to be hurt in any way. of course not. what squidges me about any violence against women campaign is that it leaves out men as victims of violence. i have seen stats that say men are the ones who commit most acts of violence and maybe that’s true, to be honest i haven’t done the research, but what i do know is that all humans are subject to violence, be they male or female. i also have encountered a number of men who have been abused by women, forced into sex as young boys by female relatives for example and other acts that would be classified as violence if they were targeted at women.

there’s a lot of pressure in society for men to keep mum about stuff that happens to them. this may be one of the reasons why stats show that it's mostly men who commit violence. society has a double standard when it comes to dealing with violent acts towards men. as a rule, men have been taught to keep silent about it.

i don’t think campaigns against violence which exclude people based on gender are healthy or helpful. as fellow human beings we should all be against violence, no matter if it is toward a male or female or any other gender. i’m actually pretty tired of this whole male/female polarization and categorization. who is a man? who is a woman? just because you see a person who looks male or female on the outside doesn’t mean this person identifies as such.

i’m tired of the gender wars. i’m tired of seeing men as a group blamed for societal evils rather than as individuals. just as i'm tired of stereotypical attitudes towards women or gays or transgendered people.

there are bad people out there, there are sick people out there. there are women who will drown their own children. we don’t say that all women have potential for murder because of that. there are women fighting in wars today too. as a child growing up in Toronto, i was terrorized regularly by vicious young sadists who ran in gangs, gangs of females.

violence, sadly and heartbreakingly, is everywhere and it crosses all lines: gender, ethnicity, colour, religion, geography, age and ideology.

end violence? yes, that would be wonderful. i’m all for that. but let’s free ourselves from the gender paradigm. let’s give every human being a safe space in which to feel able to admit the violence they’ve encountered and to help them. let’s make the streets safe for all of us and the homes too. let’s deal with the fact that so much violence is actually domestic, happens at home. that our sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, grandparents and friends may be victims of violence. let’s help them all and not be focussed so much on what their gender is. let’s love one another.


Pearl said...

hear, hear.

Tinsku said...

Totally agree with you. Hopefully, if I'm ever a mother, I'll be wise enough to find a way to teach my kids that hurting a living being is wrong and everyone should be respected, it's not something anyone should have to earn.