Let’s start a movement of men who aren’t afraid to stop violence against women

Dear Editor,

The United Nations General Assembly designated November 25 as International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (Resolution 54/134).The premise of the day is to raise awareness of the fact that women around the world are subject to rape, domestic violence and other forms of violence; furthermore, one of the aims of the day is to highlight the fact that the scale and true nature of the issue is often hidden. From November 25 to December 10, Human Rights Day, there are 16 days to galvanize action to end violence against women and girls around the world. The international campaign originated from the first Women’s Global Leader-ship Institute coordinated by the Centre for Women’s Global Leadership in 1991.

Despite all the big talkshops and talks about supporting our women, they are still the most vulnerable group of people in today’s society. 35% of women and girls globally experience some form of physical and or sexual violence in their lifetime with up to seven in ten women facing this abuse in some countries. An estimated 133 million girls and women have experienced some form of female genital mutilation/cutting in the 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East where the harmful practice is most common.

Worldwide, more than 700 million women alive today were married as children, 250 million of whom were married before the age of 15. Girls who marry before the age of 18 are less likely to complete their education and are more likely to experience domestic violence and complications in childbirth. The costs and consequences of violence against women last for generations.

In most of the cases men are the main contributing factor to violence against women. Aren’t men tired of being one-dimensional caricatures of men someone told them to be? The kind that is quick to use their fists, feel stuck and afraid but can’t show it, the kind destined for prison or anguish or pretending to be anything less than our dreams.

I am tired of us hurting each other, ourselves and women. Because that’s what the culture of masculinity that we’ve inherited has us do. It has us hurting. Violence against women is the most widespread human rights violation in the world. It transcends age, race, religion, nationality, and class.

It might not be you or me doing the hitting or harassing, but we are still responsible. We are responsible because we belong to the current culture of manhood that allows this – a culture that says we can’t show fear, we can’t be wrong, and we are entitled to power over others, especially women. But that culture is wrong. And unless we actively work to change it, women will keep getting hurt.

A culture that tells us we’re not allowed to be afraid is a culture that denies our own humanity. And if we’re not allowed to be human, then we become something else. We don’t need to step in to protect women. We need to step in to check each other – to stop other men. Let’s start a movement – a movement of men who aren’t afraid to stop violence against women.

Yours faithfully,

Govind Singh

Secretary

Women’s Affairs

Committee Region 5

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