Boys will be boys.

I recently learned about the 16 days of Activism Against Gender based Violence which runs from every November 25th to the 10th of December created by the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute and the WHO. I also learned about the #HearMeToo movement which was started by Laila Johnson Salami and We Rise Initiative which will be used to talk about gender based violence against women and children. To support any of this movements or both genuinely, the power colour is orange and by uploading an orange background on your social media DP, dressing in orange, and making use of the colour orange and explaining it’s symbolism, you are indeed creating awareness for gender based violence.

According to the CLEEN Foundation reports, 1 in every 3 respondents admitting to being a victim of domestic violence in Nigeria. The survey also found a nationwide increase in domestic violence in the past 3 years from 21% in 2011 to 30% in 2013. According to the WHO, In a 2005 study on women’s health and domestic violence, found that 56 per cent of women in Tanzania and 71 per cent of women in Ethiopia’s rural areas reported beatings or other forms of violence by husbands or other intimate partners. In Kenya, Over 40% of married women have reported being victims of either domestic violence or sexual abuse. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, 1 in 2 women have been a victim of rape, sexual harassment. Congo, eastern Congo is referred to as the rape capital of the world, every passing hour, 48 women are raped. In Papua New Guinea, an estimated 55% of women have experienced forced sex, in most cases by men known to them, according to a 1993 Survey by the PNG Medical Research Institute. In India, according to a National Family and Health Survey in 2005, total lifetime prevalence of domestic violence was 33.5% and 8.5% for sexual violence among women aged 15–4. A 2014 study in The Lancet reports that the reported sexual violence rate in India is among the lowest in the world, the large population of India means that the violence affects 27.5 million women over their lifetimes. In Spain, domestic violence in 2016 recorded 6,863 registered victims of this type of aggression, a 5.1% drop from the previous year. Of these victims, 62.5% were women. In America, On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner. In a year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men. 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men experience severe intimate partner physical violence.

Violence against women, children and men all over the world is a men’s problem.

There is a common thing women and men share in the society that has been the cause of activism and needing change which is VIOLENCE. Men and women have been subjected to violence and abuse from other men and have learned to keep living in the cycle, repeating the same mistakes, approach and process these violent men have created for women and men to adapt/live up to. Violence against women and children is a men’s problem and I mentioned this in my last discussion about toxic masculinity and conditioning. Violence against women and children has stemmed from the encouragement of toxic masculinity and society refusing to play it’s part in accountability, men refusing to use their voice to call out other men who promote violence against women and children, men who fail to hold their friends accountable for their actions and turn a blind eye to the injustice against women. It is high time men who aren’t abusers started calling out abusive men and challenging them on why they feel the need to abuse women and children, it is high time non-abusive men started becoming worthy allies for women, children and for themselves.

Violence against women, children and men will not be reduced, neither will it be dismantled until we’ve talked about toxic masculinity, identity, gender roles, religion, culture and how to approach these topics and beliefs that forms society. Social and gender norms that create a climate in which violence is normalized has got to be talked about and refused.

Men all over the world have been the perpetrators of violence against women, children and themselves. We keep looking for ways to question victims, make theories and speculations of what victims of violence did in order for them to have attracted violence upon themselves. All over the world, domestic violence’s cognitive structure has been designed to blame the victims without little or no possibility of holding the abusers accountable for their actions! Domestic violence has been ingrained deep into the culture and has been normalized so much we refuse to believe how wrong it is. Religion and culture are two evils that corrupts the society, deceives us and forms the way we view domestic violence or any sort of violence against women and children. In Africa, it is wildly acceptable for married men to hit their wives as a means of “correction” and teaching their wives their places in their home. We never call out violent men for their behaviours but focus on women and what they did to get battered, in Africa, the excuses made for violent husbands includes; wives being disobedient, wives not cooking, wives not giving adequate sex, wives not complying, wives infertility, wives and male friends, wives earning more and just plain bullshit men are allowed to do without being reprimanded for.

In Kenya, December 1998 a Kenyan police officer, Felix Nthiwa Munayo, got home late and demanded meat for his dinner. There was none in the house. Enraged, he beat his wife, Betty Kavata. Paralyzed and brain-damaged, Ms. Kavata died five months later, on her 28th birthday. Unlike most cases of domestic violence in Africa, Betty Kavata’s death didn’t go silent, there was media coverage, protests and debates on domestic violence. It took five years of protests, demonstrations and lobbying by non-governmental organizations (NGOs), as well as by outraged men and parliamentarians before the government passed a family protection bill criminalizing wife-beating and other forms of domestic violence. We contribute to violence against women and children when we create forced marriages for them to be a part of, Nigeria is said to have the highest child brides in the world with 23 million girls married off in childhood. Violence against women and children is when we tell women to avoid getting raped and continuously accusing them of being responsible for the actions of their rapist, it is when we refuse to acknowledge men as the perpetrators of violence and strip women off their humanity in doing so. According to the WHO, almost one third (30%) of all women who have been in a relationship have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by their intimate partner. The prevalence estimates of intimate partner violence range from 23.2% in high-income countries and 24.6% in the WHO Western Pacific region to 37% in the WHO Eastern Mediterranean region, and 37.7% in the WHO South-East Asia region.

We need adult men to prioritize these issues because they are prospective role models of the younger boys.

When we look at the word masculinity, the dictionary describes it as dominance, protector, loyal, tough, driven, alpha, testosterone, machismo, vigor, manliness and violence. We continuously force these definitions of masculinity on boys and men to aspire to, we refuse to redefine masculinity and reshape maleness into something rather than dominance and violence for young men to aspire to and as we continue to force young boys and men into this box we will keep producing men who are violent. Identity, is who you are, the way you think about yourself, the way you are viewed by the world and the characteristics that define you. When we keep upholding gender roles and intentionally forcing people into becoming what they aren’t and who they aren’t, we misplace their identities and give each person a mask to where that doesn’t reflect who they truly are as a person. We force women into submission, we force them into reducing their self esteem, self worth and encourage them to be subservient so as not to clash with this definition of masculinity we have defined for the men. The cycle continues because no one is challenging the cycle and when it is challenged, we call change rebellion, we call it an act of defiance. Violence against women and children are deep rooted into the sports culture, religion, race, pornography and because of this men refuse to hold other men accountable for their actions, I know we have men who share the same concerns about violence against women and children but it takes more than concern to introduce change. We need adult men to prioritize these issues because they are prospective role models of the younger boys and if these problems aren’t acknowledged and are categorized as “women’s problems”, men will refuse to participate and talk about it and the cycle of violence just keeps on going. We need men to speak about the injustice, double standards and problems women are faced with. We need to speak about violence!

The Violence against women, children and men is a men’s problem.

“One is the key characteristics of power and privilege, the ability to go unexamined, lacking introspection, in fact being rendered invisible, in large measure in the discourse about issues that are primarily about us”. ~Jackson Katz

When we start calling out abusers and refusing to give them a way out, or dismissing their behaviour, there would be a dramatic reduction of violence against women, children and men. When perpetrators of violence and violent behaviour lose status rather than being promoted to higher places of power and being handed their positions back, there would be a radical reduction of the abuse. The average perpetrator of violence isn’t sick/twisted being but a normal person and I’m tired of giving mental illnesses to normal people who enjoy being violent, I’m tired of the excuses and I’m tired of victim blaming.

Feminists, Womanists, Human Rights Activists and Allies will keep calling #MenAreScum, #MenAreTrash until the voices of women are heard.

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For references:

Jackson Katz – Violence against women

World Health Organization

Africa Renewal

My Clothes Caused It Too

Wikipedia

Image by: Rebecca Hendin

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