What Manhood Might Be”: Men Changing Cultures to Stop Sexual Violence

- By Mary Liepold, Editor in Chief

Have you ever heard the expression “All’s fair in love and war?” Think about it for a moment. It implies not only that all the rules are suspended during wartime, but that something called “love” gives sanction to the same anarchy.

In recent years, necessary attention has been focused on rape as a tool of war. The atrocities inflicted on women, children, and men in wartime are unconscionable. But war itself is unconscionable. War destroys the patterns and the structures of everyday life. To me, it’s even more horrible that violence occurs in the context of intimate relationships in peacetime―that this IS everyday life.

If you’re a woman in urban Japan, according to WHO statistics, your lifetime chances of being abused by an intimate partner are 15 in 100. And you’re living in the safest place on earth. If you’re in rural Ethiopia, they’re 71 in 100. In most of the world, they range from 30 to 60 in 100. The familiar, and appalling, one-woman-in-three figure applies to developed Western countries like the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and even progressive Scandinavia―whence the vengeance-seeking virago of the popular Stieg Larsson books and films.

Even fans who relish The Girl’s rough justice (and I hasten to say I am not one) know prevention is the only sustainable solution to this global epidemic. And most, though certainly not all, of the violence is perpetrated by men. So we welcome a trend that is making its way around the world: a proliferation of programs that engage boys and men in changing the global culture of violence to one of cooperation, equality, and respect for all.

Activist and author Kevin Powell is among the signs of hope. He’s a V-Man, one of 16 who support the V-Day movement and blog on its website: “It is my sincere hope” he says in his most recent blog, “that . . . we can really begin to rethink what manhood can be, what manhood might be.”

That rethinking is going on in families, schools, workplaces, governments, and institutions the world around. Mike Domritz, another V-Man, uses role plays and self-effacing humor to invite audiences to question the assumptions they make in social situations. The venues for his sweetly-titled “May I Kiss You?” presentation include military installations. Read the entire article here.

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Tags: Domestic, Festival, Film, Kevin, Larsson, MOST, Peace, PeaceTimes, Powell, Stieg, More…Sundance, Women, sexual, violence


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