Men Of Action
In the face of the social ills plaguing the Caribbean and other societies (whether these ills are perpetrated by males or females), there is one constant denominator.
Somewhere in the shadows or in the forefront, there was a man. There was a man who could have acted and should have acted to say something, do something, to take a stand. A man who, ultimately, failed to act at all or to act effectively and decisively.
In some Caribbean communities, children are neglected, physically and verbally abused by their mothers at an alarming rate while sexual abuse is largely perpetrated by males. The husbands, cohabitants, uncles, brothers, fathers, sons of the maternal child abusers may have spoken half-heartedly, threatened to act but, when it counted most, failed to act to protect the vulnerable children.
Or men who would not usually consider themselves to be child sex predators may have provided a "cover" of silence for their male counterparts before, while or after the latter raped and or sexually assaulted their child victims. Once they are comfortable that the victim is not their relative, they chose to value the 'reputation' of the perpetrator above the purity of and their civic duty to protect the young and vulnerable.
Where women and girls walk along the streets and pass a group of males and receive catcalls (and sometimes gross sexual slurs and threats of rape and sexual violation), there is usually a man in the group or somewhere within earshot who fails to say or do what is necessary to preserve a safe space for those females.
|See, Hear and Speak Out
These and other males who turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to incidents of date rape, domestic violence, marital infidelity, and the exploitation of prostituted persons and victims of sex trafficking may believe that by staying silent they are observing a "Bro Code" or abiding by expectations placed upon them from the Man Box.
Instead, they are violating a core principle of True Masculinity - that of standing up for what is Right and being a Champion for the vulnerable.
More men must challenge their peers when they boast about having used or discuss a plan to use their physical, cultural or economic strength to abuse or exploit women and girls. By getting into a discussion which identifies and debunks the myths upon which such unhealthy attitudes are based, responsible males may create opportunities to stop and prevent various forms of violence against women.
Helping men and boys understand their unhealthy attitudes and behaviours cause harm and suffering to women and girls and are in violation of international and local laws - and working consistently with them to change such attitudes and behaviours - is a catalyst to transforming societies steeped in archaic and erroneous male stereotypes.
Data from an international sample of 392 men who had attended gender-based violence (GBV) prevention events were used to examine motivations for involvement in GBV prevention work. The most commonly reported reasons for involvement included concern for related social justice issues (87 percent), exposure to the issue of violence through work (70 percent), hearing a moving story about domestic or sexual violence (59 percent), and disclosure of abuse from someone close to the participant (55 percent).
Research indicates that bystander programs are promising from the standpoint of increasing young adults' willingness to intervene and confidence in their ability to intervene when they witness dating or sexual violence.
One programme in Kenya deserves special mention in this regard. "Your Moment of Truth" is taught to boys aged 14 to 18 years in secondary schools and helps to teach and prepare them to intervene to prevent violence against women. Following the Your Moment of Truth classes, the percentage of boys who intervened when they witnessed a physical and sexual assault rose from 26% to 74%. Boys were also found to be less likely to endorse myths about sexual assault and the incidence of rape by boyfriends and friends had fallen.
Being a confident and vocal bystander means that males who are growing in True Masculinity can play a leading role as exemplars in their social circles changing the tide of family neglect, abuse and dysfunction which results in adverse experiences for male and female children alike.
Often these are men who have received healing themselves from adverse childhood experiences which led them to disrespect or undervalue women. They speak not from a place of wielding 'moral authority' but humbly, from a place of healing and hope.
|True Masculinity Protects Women and Children
Guys, see how relevant and critical this is?
According to the Social-Ecological Model, when we start by addressing false concepts of masculinity at an individual level, we can actually progress to prevent and combat various forms of violence against women in the home, workplace, community and that instituted through State policies, up to and including the prevention of human trafficking!
We can also address long-standing social ills such as the abuse and neglect of children through sharing the truth with men about True Masculinity and the need for cultivating good, wholesome Character. In this way, we shall encourage them to become Men of Action rather than silent, uninformed and unempowered bystanders.
As the above quote attributed to Albert Einstein reminds us, in spite of the troubling situations with which we are faced in the world today, something can be done to stop, prevent and alleviate the harm.
WE have decided to take a stand and to raise our voices as Men against that which is evil and in support of that which is good and right and true - and to encourage, support and empower other males to do the same.
Will YOU join us and other men who are taking this step to live in accordance with the principles of True Masculinity?
Let us refuse to be silent, uncaring and uninvolved and become the Men of Action our women and children need us to be!