How Can Men and Boys Work To Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence?

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
November 26, 2010
A Boy Attends a Ceremony for Victims of Domestic Violence

In her remarks for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's IssuesMelanne Verveer said, "Gender-based violence is not solely a women's issue -- it is a development, humanitarian, and security issue that affects us all."How can men and boys work to prevent and address gender-based violence?

Comments

Comments

Ron B.
|
California, USA
November 29, 2010

Ron B. in California writes:

From boy to man. I had a Father that never unleashed anger at home, never once saw an argument between my Father and Mother, however I do recall my Mother tearing into my Father after I got a black eye from shooting his 12 guage, my Father would glance over at me, smile and wink his eye as Mom tore into him. I the 1st son, was always on the look out for the well being (traveling to & from school etc.) of my younger sister, tutoring, protection (looking back she never needed it), and to love respect and always take care of Mom. My friends were similar in values, I had no peer pressure to act out violence, use negative words that become actions, use drugs or drink. My parents were not drinkers, or angry people, so I will consider myself very very fortunate. Therefore, I believe the absence of anger, racism, gender discrimination, sexual orientation intolerance & violence played a large role into molding my own social values that I choose to live by today.

Anna
|
District Of Columbia, USA
November 29, 2010

Anna in Washington DC writes:

Ending violence against women begins in the home. Fathers should model respectful behavior for their sons. If boys see their fathers disrespect their mothers, they often repeat this behavior.

Breaking the cycle of violence is not easy, and we should stigmatize violence against women, just as we have other behaviors.

Politicians, teachers, religious leaders, celebrity athletes, and other high-profile figures -- particularly men -- in society should speak out and say it is wrong, so the next generation grows up realizing that violence against women is not normal and should not be -- will not be -- tolerated.

Myr N.
|
Florida, USA
November 29, 2010

Myr S.N. in Florida writes:

Any man that abuses women in any form should have to do Community service in an Emergency room plus jail time. I feel that seeing the result of the abuse could possibly be a deterrent. Watching what goes on in emergency with police present can leave a lasting impression.

ali
|
United States
November 29, 2010

Ali in the U.S.A. writes:

My thoughts are that you people at State need to keep the interns off the computers, learn how to safeguard the country and limit your scope to relevant matters and stop with the domestic sociology lectures.Next you'll be blogging against salt on french fries.

DipNote Bloggers reply: Ali, if you're interested in learning why women's empowerment is central to work in development -- and how it's linked to economic progress and political stability worldwide -- you might want to start here: http://www.state.gov/s/gwi.

Martin
|
New York, USA
November 30, 2010

Martin in New York writes:

Gender-Based violence in American, unfortunately, is based in something of a trickle down system. For the very fact that rights of women and other marginalized gendered groups (the lgbtq community, intersex people) are something we as American are forced to fight for, it's difficult to overcome such a power structure. When the top leaders in our country cannot fully support complete equality for gays or women, it sends the message that perhaps there is something wrong with these groups of people. This message is internalized by the average American who knows he has the ability to make more at work or marry without restriction. Even without outright bigotry and hatred, this subtle degree of separation, the notion that there is a group above and a group below makes it into the American family. It is here that gendered violence is born. When young people see the infrastructure of power, that heterosexual middle class men can act freely and are essentially granted rights other people can not obtain, it reinforces the idea that one can mistreat someone of a different gender or sexual identity. Violence comes from the assumption of superiority, that someone should, for any reason, deserve to be knocked out of the way or beaten.

If Men and Boys (Both the average men and boys, and the men and boys making the big decisions in Washington right now) want to prevent and address Gender-Based violence, we cannot accept traditional viewpoints, things such as "boys will be boys." These issues have to be brought to the front of American thinking and directly addressed-long standing ideas about better or worse lifestyles, differences between men and women, things of that nature must be challenged. It is only through provoking discussion and establishing no tolerance of violence (Both physical AND mental violence) that the issue of gender oppression can be addressed.

As a final note, things like this blog entry are wonderful tools. This is exactly what we need more of. Open, intellectual exchanges of ideas that are literally put forth by the government or the state department. Awesome!

Aishalton
|
South Africa
December 1, 2010

Aishalton in South Africa writes:

In many countries, celebrities are setting up schools for women. I am in South Africa and Oprah has a school here. What about people setting up schools for primary school age boys that would educate them til matriculation. Such an environment could start educating boys that about how real men should treat their partners, female friends etc.

Murray B.
|
New York, USA
December 1, 2010

Murray B. in New York writes:

Ancient Religions caused the violence against women. Eastern Religious leaders must rethinnk and preach new ways for their men to treat and respect women.

John P.
|
Greece
December 2, 2010

John P. in Greece writes:

@Murray B. in New York:

Very good suggestion! But unfortunately, they won’t easily proceed so.
They know that they will lose their way to manipulate political power.

They won’t move into the “adjacent angles”, in the direction of providing power to women, because they use religion as a political tool/weapon and vice versa.

I wouldn’t characterize it as a result of being “ancient”, or “new” religion. It’s a question of how you perceive how much close religion can be to politics and politics to religion. According to my opinion, politics should leave a little space for religion interferences, the same way religion should leave a little space for political interferences to their beliefs and practices, as long as they are legal though.

This is a huge difference between West and East religion-political perspectives. We, Westerns, have made it possible –or at least we still try to reach this perfection point- to separate churches, priests and religions from political decision making, because we truly believe in Democracy and we have nothing to fear. We are not afraid to understand that we have every right to believe in anything we religiously believe in –whatever we decide for ourselves- but our religious beliefs have nothing to do with the socio/political administration of People’s lives.

The East side/fanatics wants exactly the opposite!

But, you are right!

Maria S.
|
District Of Columbia, USA
December 2, 2010

Maria F.P.S. in Washington DC writes:

All is about deconstructing the gender roles learned, learning everything again, long process, basic through education and public information. And no excuse for the authors of GBV.

Lisa
|
California, USA
December 2, 2010

Lisa in California writes:

Long ago I read a book called "The Arab Mind", by a former state department official (I forget who). My comments are based on the (often non-PC) arguments I read in that book.

One of the assertions of that book was, basically, that the Arab culture has a different view of what we in the west call a 'locus of control' for their behavior.

To be overly simplistic and a bit extreme in summarizing a thousand-plus page detailed study...

We in the west rely on 'self control' and internal censure to govern people's behavior. As a result, in our culture if a man sees a woman and has an emotional reaction to her (lusting after a chick in a bikini, for example), it is his responsibility to keep his outward behavior within the bounds of what our culture accepts.

A man's honor depends upon his own behavior and his ability to act with personal restraint. The behavior of his family members has an effect, but this is muted compared to his own behavior. For this reason he doesn't have any particular compulsion to overly control the female members of his family, though he will try to keep them from doing anything overtly stupid.

In Arab cultures, the 'locus of control' is seen as external. A manly-man should do whatever he can get away with without being caught--to do less would be cowardly and thereby dishonorable.

Also, a man's honor is not entirely governed by his own actions, but by those of other individuals in his family, including the women.

For this reason, the Arab man is constantly monitoring how 'his' women behave, and trying to exert control upon that behavior because it impacts his *own* personal honor and social standing. If he encounters someone else's woman who is not behaving honorably, he must, to be a manly-man, take advantage of that situation to the fullest extent possible.

I've exaggerated a bit for clarity, but this basic idea illustrates an extremely fundamental difference in the assumptions about how people behave and where morality comes from, between the West and the Mid-east or Far-east (who excel at the notion of internal control of behavior).

'External locus of control' is part of what sustains their (to western eyes) dictatorial political structures (since the expected external controls on behavior then come through the political hierarchy). It is fundamental to their every social interaction. And while this is the case--while a man is not necessarily responsible for controlling his own behavior but is responsible for controlling the behavior of his family members--you are not going to be able to 'fix' domestic violence in the Arab countries.

And if you try to 'fix' this attitude, you're going to encounter huge resistance from the existing hierarchies in those countries, because its continuance is vital to the perpetuation of the existing power structure.

They will assert their attitude is not 'broken'.

Melissa
|
Kansas, USA
December 2, 2010

Melissa in Kansas writes:

Education of young men is important. How can a man resolve conflicts without resorting to violence? Perhaps if a man learns how his brain works, he can learn to identify signs of mental illness rather than external factors he is blaming for becoming violent. What are the triggers that cause domestic strife? How can a man plan in advance to avoid financial problems? Where can he turn to for help when his family is in need?

Many of us depend on religious institutions for doing this, but what if it is taught at a civic level? What if, instead of paying for the police and hospitals to come to the aid of domestic violence victims, we used tax dollars to pay for local marriage classes?

Finally, while being proactive may be part of this approach, another useful tool must be creating a culture that positively reinforces desired behavior patterns. There must be positive examples of strong men who treat their families well among the basic building blocks of each of our civilizations.

Oystercracker
|
United States
December 4, 2010

O.C. in U.S.A. writes:

I'm absolutely horrified to learn that little Afghani boys were hired to dance at a dinner for Dyncorp security personnel in Afghanistan. Maybe if we stopped promoting the horrific sexual child abuse of little boys then they would grow up to be normal men who will protect and defend women. This is unconscionable. How does any country have a future when their children are so cruelly exploited by the people meant to protect them. How much more depravity will be uncovered. I'm just speechless!

Antoine
|
Virginia, USA
December 4, 2010

Antoine in Virginia writes:

Men and boys who will become men can best address gender based violence by openly discussing the issue. GBV is a surprisingly common problem worldwide, women tend to be more aware of the problem because they are often taught by each other early on methods of reducing risk and how to respond to these assaults. This while a good thing to do will never solve the problem as males tend to be the violent actor.

In the US and abroad we need to educate men and boys about the sad but true frequency of GBV and how to encourage each other to use non violent and non abusive methods of relating to women.

Having men promote gender equality is a great way to reduce and address GBV.

John P.
|
Greece
December 5, 2010

John P. in Greece writes:

@ O.C. in U.S.A.

You always “find” something to accuse America. Strange!

Why don’t you give us a News source. Don’t be so sure that the flow of breaking news (according to your ears) is similar to what we receive inside or outside USA.

I mean, I don’t know what you are talking about. However, participating in DipNote is the most basic. This means a lot! That's why I am writing back to you. But, don’t be so sure that (things)it’s a micro. In fact, it is a macro!

@ Antoine in Virginia

"Having men promote gender equality is a great way to reduce and address GBV."

I agree Antoine!!!

Clamdip
|
United States
December 7, 2010

O.C. in the U.S.A. writes:

It's on Wikileaks. Don't tell me that its not true because it came from the horse's mouth.

So you think its morally acceptable that an Afghani contractor hires pubescent boys to entertain them at a dinner when it is known that these boys are sexually exploited by their handlers? The State Department takes a clear stance on child sexual abuse then we find out that are taxes are promoting depravity? It's beyond unreal! And don't pawn it off on some wayward contractors that have nothing to do with our government because I've heard that excuse before.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
December 8, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

RE: "It's on Wikileaks. Don't tell me that its not true because it came from the horse's mouth."

@ John in Greece & OC,

It goes without saying that a little logic goes a long way to defining credibility as such, especially when one remembers not to believe everything they proscribe to think, let alone blindly accept what folks supposedly call "the truth", especially when there's blackmail involved by intent to reveal "the truth" they want folks to believe.

In general one can draw a broad assesment about the mindset involved as being all too human...just as governments are revealed to be as well.

From the daily briefing December 7, 2010

QUESTION: P.J., let me ask you a couple of questions. One, as far as whatever has been leaked, WikiLeaked, do you believe everything is authentic and nobody has altered the information before or after it had been leaked anywhere?

MR. CROWLEY: Goyal, it’s a very good question. And that’s one of the reasons why we do not comment on any particular cable, because while we can acknowledge that this information broadly came from a database under our control, even though the leak itself did not occur within the Department of State, once any document leaves the State Department’s control, it is subject to be altered. So we can’t verify the validity of every single document that has been released so far.

---

As for Afghan Customs...that's for Afghans (men and women) to take a look at and see if some old customs no longer work well in the 21st century.

But there's a lot that does and that's why Afghan women have a future building a nation alongside the men.

It's not going to be their great granddad's Afghanistan, nor Baba Zahir Shah's or Karzai's...hopefully folks take the best of what was and discard the rest and get on with something they can live with beyond any taliban or terrorist influence...

Could be that the instigator in Chief could get that ball rolling down hill at speed by simply and publicly telling the taliban directly on live TV from the Oval office to; "go home and take care of their mothers."

That would send a pretty clear message of support for women's rights to live in peace.

He could mention the fact that the alternative pretty well sucks in general defeat on the battlefield without question and they can become fertilizer if they so choose...it's all in getting a life or losing it.

Simple choice...no reruns...no do-overs.

Oystercracker
|
United States
December 8, 2010

O.C. in the U.S.A. writes:

Hillary, Here's your chance to make a big difference in an exploited child's life: Get those B#st*rds!

Taken from the BBC "Have Your Say" How to Improve Prisons:

312. At 08:55am on 08 Dec 2010, No Victim No Crime wrote: I live 120 miles from Bristol but i KNOW that there are somalian gangs smuggling children into the St Pauls area to use as sex slaves/prostitutes, now if i know this why dont the police? and if they do know why is there no incentive or will to stop this disgusting filthy trade in human life?

Anyone forcing someone else into prostitution should be HUNG in my opinion of course.

Oystercracker
|
United States
December 8, 2010

O.C. in the U.S.A. writes:

@ Eric, if that were true then the State Department wouild be going after George Soros and Cass Sunstein who bankrolled Wikileaks. Why haven't they declared war on them?

Lee R.
|
Maine, USA
December 8, 2010

Lee R. in Maine writes:

Lisa in California's discussion of external control makes me think of Craig Heaney and Philip Zimbardo's experiments with Stanford students. They showed that we are all capable of cruelty given the right circumstances.

These are not questions of Arab v. Western mindsets. Tribal v. industrialized differences seem more to the point. Where resources are perceived as scarce, patriarchy is normal, even celebrated, and the culture supports gaming the system, anyone perceived as vulnerable is at risk.

"http://www.prisonexp.org/"

John P.
|
Greece
December 8, 2010

John P. in Greece writes:

@ O.C. in the U.S.A.

O.C. you remind me of those tennis players that attempted to play the game with both hands. And I don’t mean Borg.

In normal tennis, when the ball comes in drive we use our right hand. When the ball comes in forehand we “change the grip”.

Of course, plenty of players attempted to “remove” their racquet, on the basis of where the ball comes, by changing hands, using both: right hand for drive, left hand for forehand, by changing hands and of course racquet hold. Until today, this scenario never succeeded. You cannot have a drive with your right hand and a forehand with your left hand, using the same racquet. It’s a question of speed and time.

Borg succeeded in his tennis life (“after-tennis”, he lost everything though), because he did something clever: he used two hands for the most difficult hit a normal tennis player has to fight against his nature and make better: forehand. Drive is easy anyway! But he used two for one!

PLEASE DON’T MISUNDERSTAND ME, but during your “drive” you use Wikileaks as a trusted source, but just a “game” later, you accuse it as “untrusted”.

Give me a (tie) break! I am confused.

(I have a short second part @ you & Lee R. in Maine –coming soon)

John P.
|
Greece
December 8, 2010

John P. in Greece writes:

@ Lee R. in Maine

Indeed this suggested link provides some space for scientific and moral questions. But, also proves my amateur theory:

1. O.C. talks about a kid “hired” in Afghanistan (if this happened?)

2. your suggested link contains a photo of this unmoral, stupid soldier in Iraq’s prisons, some time ago if I recall. (if this happened this way the photo shows?)

My theory: even if you have a stadium full of the best trained, educated and good staff, it just takes two idiots to ruin your GOOD intentions. The one that will make the bad action and the other that will take the photo and then will post it somewhere. Then a stadium full of GREAT “soldiers” have to run in order to “correct” (in terms of image) what just two idiots did. (if they did it… the way anti-American propaganda presents it)

But this cannot cancel that you are fighting for a better world! And that’s exactly what U.S.A. does!

Best Regards!

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
December 9, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ O.C. in the U.S.A.: "@ Eric, if that were true then the State Department would be going after George Soros and Cass Sunstein who bankrolled Wikileaks. Why haven't they declared war on them?"

---

If what were true OC? How would you define that being as true or not anyway? by some tinfoil spam-filter worn as headgear? Or deductive logic?

You know...you get all outraged...and then fail to observe the fact that an indighted rapist pushes "classified" info on the web and you just buy right into his self-created "scary movie" that 'lil Julian's quasi-pathological desire to create his own state of paranoia that he takes "insurance" out on to blackmail with if a government tries to arrest him and bring him to justice.

Kind of makes the wiki-content questionable I'd say.

And you believe everything this guy is selling you?

Oh please OC, spare me the hyperbole...if you stop and think about what I said for a minute, you may find other facets of truth you haven't perceived yet, because you aren't focused on the whole enchilada.

You have the good, the bad, and the really ugly. So ugly... only a mother could stand it, which is why the Taliban should go home to take care of them so they can finally get the love and attention they need.

See once you finally get the fact that we as citizens of the world, are stuck smack in the middle of the war between the sane and the insane, then you'll start to recognize mental illness being alive and well on the world stage, and all the psycosis and illusions of grandeur in all of their myriad political forms, you just got to keep your head on and not get all exited about stupidity, or you'll drive yourself nuts.

This is what a friend tells another friend who is becoming extremist.

@ Lee R. in Maine: Welcome to the "fishbowl" dude! AKA DipNote if a visual is needed for imagination's purposes, we being the fish, and the topics the food they sprinkle into the tank on a regular basis 'round here. Some call this "interactive government" and while twitter is more immediately engaging, this is where the peanut gallery can let the drivel come out in 5000 character mezzo-forte flatulence.

Or we can just solve some problems in the world and have a little fun with it.

DipNote is what you make of it.

@ John in Greece: John in Greece wrote: "I am confused."

(chuckle)

This too shall pass, friend.

Generally I find the truth when it finds me not looking for it.

Oystercracker
|
United States
December 9, 2010

O.C. in U.S.A. writes:

@ John P. in Greece: Who is Borg?

Oystercracker
|
United States
December 9, 2010

O.C. in U.S.A. writes:

@ John P. in Greece: If my government was fighting for a better world, Americans lives would be better. We'd all have jobs, excellent education, healthcare. Our 14 year old citizens wouldn't be sicarios for the drug cartel and people wouldn't be so drug addicted and we'd have a government that really cared for Americans instead of their own selfish, elitist agenda. This is a government that speaks of freedom and democracy but doesn't follow its own rhetoric. They're imposters who work for a foreign master. They're not patriots. They're usurpers.

Oystercracker
|
United States
December 9, 2010

O.C. in U.S.A. writes:

@ John P. in Greece: Sorry John P. You've been hoodwinked by my government. I'm confused too. I lost you somewhere between the backhand and the forearm. My point is this. Do you really think a private in the army downloaded millions of State Department cables? That would be an amazing feat. So everyone's focus is on Assange instead of who really leaked these cables. They want to control the internet and this is a good way to seize control of it. What will they be doing next? Telling us that pizza isn't kosher? Which of course it isn't if you like pepperoni.

Oystercracker
|
United States
December 10, 2010

O.C. in the U.S.A. writes:

@ Eric,

The Wikileaks are real. I just doubt the intentions. The last time I checked we seem to be the biggest country causing problems to others. Declaring fake wars, illegally carpet bombing others etc. You're hoodwinked too but in a worse way than John P. because you believe all the rhetoric. All of this has maipulation just turns the world off to our so called, "good intentions". How to lose friends and influence enemies. That's a good foreign policy.

Oystercracker
|
United States
December 10, 2010

O.C. in the U.S.A. writes:

Eric,

It would be all be so believable if American's lives actually improved for the better but they don't. They just gets worse with every passing year. As the government squeezes its vise like grip to pay for the corruption and scams of Wall street, the American people lose their homes, pensions and livelihoods. Is this the America you fought for or were you just a hit man for a greedy corporation and you didn't realize it?

Oystercracker
|
United States
December 10, 2010

O.C. in the U.S.A. writes:

@ Eric,

I notice DipNote's double standard dosn't apply to you when you infer that I'm an extremist. It's curious how the rules of the game change when one calls out injustices.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
December 10, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ OC, the short answer is that declaring cyber warfare on folks generally gets one all the attention they deserve.

Mmmm, how much can a flash drive hold these days anyway?

interesting...

"group hacking" as antithisis to group therapy...

The insane are trying to run the asylum.

I passed on my dad's advice to me onto my daughters just for times like these...

"..never believe anything you hear, only half of what you read, but believe what you see and get your eyes checked often."

'Lil Julian is busted and disgusted.

You seen one "scary movie" you seen 'em all, right? Plot's way too predictable.

The end...

Anything that makes no difference is no difference.

Tomorrow is another day.

As to "how men and boys can" ....there's a song goes..."R.E.S.P.E.C.T." that pretty much covers it.

That'll make a difference.

John P.
|
Greece
December 10, 2010

John P. in Greece writes:

@ O.C. in U.S.A.

There is no backhand in politics. Only forehand. But it depends how you call it on the basis on whether you are right handed, or left handed!

e.g.: “The Sox would like a righthanded bat to play left, to help balance out a lineup that, ...”

Now it’s getting confused! Right? (CHUCKLE)

U.S. governments are doing the best they can.

But you should think in a macro scale perspective, not a micro one.

U.S.A. is huge, a real continent. A super-power that feeds 80% of the Globe in any terms: food, civilization, ideas, technology, medicine etc. And America is made of all!

It’s not logical to say: “If my government was fighting for a better world, Americans lives would be better. We'd all have jobs, excellent education, healthcare. Our 14 year old citizens wouldn't be sicarios for the drug cartel and people wouldn't be so drug addicted and we'd have a government that really cared for Americans instead of their own selfish, elitist agenda.”, except in case you’d like to be characterized as a kid saying in the mall “I want you to buy me all the toys. And I want them today”.

Sorry, it’s called U.S.A. and not GIP (God in Paradise). In the second case, you’d have every right to ask for everything at once. But, it’s earth. So, either you become a logical thinker, or you can believe in miracles. [But it’s earth. That’s why we talk through internet and not through space-net (CHUCKLE)].

Do you have any example of countries that can offer people this above “Quotes” of yours? And please don’t tell me about Switzerland, or Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, or these other micro models that can offer nothing in a macro model of politics, while living in their false, utopian environment when it comes to Global practical theory –of course with the Globe’s allowance. Our allowance.

You ask me if a “private in the army” created all these discussions?

I don’t know! I am not a FED.

But my instinct says that NSA (FBI, CIA etc.) will find the truth. And then, these guys in “wiki-games” will have some “serious”… Because it’s not a game! It’s real life!

So, "don’t buy", unless, you wanna buy toys for Christmas…

Eric, once again, wrote one of his best posts I ever read.

I will underline only one of his intellectual, influential, think provoking phrases, but I would suggest you all to go through and through all his post.

Well, the “cowboy” diplomat writes in a perfect way. One after another! A logical rotation.

“Generally I find the truth when it finds me not looking for it. “.

Certainly we are not waiting to find the truth from a rapist!

Because, no matter what the juries will say about his "personal habits", he also attempted to rape western diplomacy!

P.S. @ O.C. again: when I write (especially here) I am absolutely honest, or I try to be. I am just human. So, I have to admit my mistake. You are right that I mixed up forehand with backhand, but this happened, because I had my mind in the deeper (dipnote) meaning of my post.

As we say in tennis when we get a net-in: Sorry! But the point counts (LOL).

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