I have spent several weeks writing about the problems Women are facing, asking questions and challenging the real issues at play, and calling [mostly] Men out on a lot of things. This week I want to suggest ways Men can be part of the solution to the problems Women face. Simple, helpful, approachable steps for any Man who wants to be an agent of change.
Here are 10 Things Men Can Do To Be Part of the Solution:
-Approach violence against women as a MEN’S issue, involving men of all ages and socioeconomic status, racial and ethnic backgrounds. View men not only as perpetrators or possible offenders, but as empower bystanders who can confront the abusers.
-If your friend, coworker, or relative is abusing a female – verbally, emotionally, physically, or sexually – don’t look the other way. Confront him, call him out, stand up for the woman. Urge him to seek help. If you are uncomfortable confronting him alone, find an ally. But whatever you do, don’t remain silent.
-Look inward. Question your own attitude and actions. Try hard to understand how your own attitudes and actions might be inadvertently perpetuating sexism and violence. Then work to change them.
-If you suspect a woman close to you is being abused – verbally, emotionally, physically, or sexually – gently ask if you can help.
-If you are verbally, emotionally, physically, or sexually abusive towards a woman – past or present – seek help now. PsychologyToday.com is a great resource for finding counselors in your area that take your insurance.
-Be an ally to women who are working to end forms of gender violence. Support the work of women based centers and organizations. Attend rallies and public events. Raise money for community-based crisis centers and shelters. And get your own circle involved as well.
-Recognize and speak out against homophobia. Discrimination and violence against LGBTQ identified people are wrong in and of themselves. This type of abuse is linked to sexism.
-Re-educate yourselves. Read books, watch movies, take classes, and challenge your viewpoint. Educate yourself about how large social forces affect the conflicts between individual men and women.
-Don’t fund sexism. Refuse to purchase and engage in the media (magazines, movies, television, music, websites) that portrays girls and women in a sexually degrading and abusive manner. Let your money speak.
-Mentor and teach young boys about how to be men in ways that don’t involved degrading or abusing girls and women. Lead by example and with intention.
Women don’t need to cover up more, chill out, or just have fun. We need Men as allies. We need you to stand up for us and stand with us.