Remember that silence is affirming. When we choose not to speak out against domestic and sexual violence, we are supporting it.
“Dominant groups are rarely challenged to think about their dominance, because that’s one of 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. And this is amazing how this works in domestic and sexual violence, how men have been largely erased from so much of the conversation about a subject that is centrally about men.” – Jackson Katz
When we as men fail to speak out against issues of violence and discrimination against women, especially when we witness it, we provide a quiet acceptance and affirmation towards those who continue to perpetrate these types of behavior. At the same time, it can be uncomfortable to speak up, especially if you are challenging the words or actions of a friend, colleague, neighbor or family member.
As men, we are conditioned to avoid placing ourselves in positions that could potentially make us feel vulnerable or weak. Consider options on how you could start a conversation with someone in a comfortable and non-threatening manner. Maybe you’ve noticed a friend or neighbor who makes disrespectful or sexist comments about women in social settings. Perhaps you’ve become aware that women are not given the same leadership opportunities as men in your workplace. Challenge yourself to speak up and voice your concerns, assuming that if you do not, no one else will.