With another bombshell revelation in the news this month, Harvey Weinstein has used his place of power and influence to use and abuse a countless number of women. The response has been powerful with millions of women sharing their heartbreaking courageous stories on social media with a #METOO campaign shining a light on the epidemic of male violence and sexual assault.
Harvey Weinstein follows others recently in the news as well: Bill Cosby, Donald Trump, Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly, Uber, NFL, and more stories emerging about the abuse of power within Catholic Church. Though this revelation is a shock to many, the 67% of women who have been physically or sexually abused in our society are not surprised at all.
You don’t have to be an overt sexist to be part of the problem. As men, we have been socialized since we were very young that women were less than. Tony Porter in his powerful Ted talk says,
“See collectively, we as men are taught to have less value in women, to view them as property and the objects of men. We see that as an equation that equals violence against women. We as men, good men, the large majority of men, we operate on the foundation of this whole collective socialization. We kind of see ourselves separate, but we’re very much a part of it. You see, we have to come to understand that less value, property, and objectification is the foundation and the violence can’t happen without it. So we’re very much a part of the solution as well as the problem. The center for disease control says that men’s violence against women is at epidemic proportions, is the number one health concern for women in this country and abroad.”
As men, we must own our misogyny and our violence towards women and begin to change the heartbreaking all too common narrative. Silence is not okay! This is a man’s issue and we must first address the violence within ourselves before we fix what is broken elsewhere.
Sadly, its normally those who have been most harmed, impacted and abused by men who are the ones who have had the courage to speak out against it. As men we have had the privilege to be blind to our own abuses against women as we have been living in the “Male box” (society’s unconscious blind blessing of misogyny) or as Tony Porter calls it the “Man Box.”
Feminist and women’s rights advocate’s long-standing perseverance and moral outrage have called us to more, as the Greek biographer Plutarch once said, “Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.” For years’ women have been leading us and teaching us how to address our own violence, yet the many courageous women I know are tired of fighting a man’s battle, that must be addressed within ourselves. Those of us with privilege and power must pick up what moral indignation we have long left behind and stand up to other men (Look up Jackson Katz “Bystander Approach”) when this sad cultural norm comes bursting into our lives.
Men are at a crossroads and must take ownership of their own violence against women and against each other. Men who have not addressed their own issues of violence and abuse will surely continue it, intentionally or unintentionally. Tragically, throughout history, Harvey Weinstein’s and other men in power’s behavior has been more the norm than the exception, and while men may not be actively sexually harassing or assaulting women, through ignorance and silence, it is being enabled. Turning the tide from power and control over others in intimate relationships to one of equality and mutual respect will take all of us!
My colleague Dr. Nancy Murphy and I have created one way to address the violence of men and to engage men in their own stories of abuse. This new Online training course is called “What about the Men?”.
- Do you know of any men in your life that are wanting to grow? And push themselves towards deeper healing?
- Are you a professional who wants to help your male clients own their unaddressed wounds?
- Are you a concerned parent or hopeless/hopeful partner? Do you want to learn more about the inner world of men?
This course is something you sign up for if you want to empower yourself or begin your own journey of owning your socialized misogyny. But frankly, I don’t care too much if you buy our course or not as much as I care about you beginning to interrupt a long-standing evil against women. What does it mean for you to begin this journey of healing? The owning your own sin? How can we interrupt this violence against women and begin honoring a gender who we have been a large part of subjugating?
©Andrew Bauman 2017 all rights reserved