Dearest men, this world has a lot to do towards respect and safety for all people.
In the last week through my work with PeaceJam and Unite Women, I have met several young men who are mortified with their male counterparts. They are ashamed to be men, which is so sad because being a man who stands up for what is right is a beautiful human being. But they are so caught in the shame that they can’t move into action to change things. They feel paralyzed, and silent.
I have raised two sons, along with my husband, who have utter respect and reverence for women. This is not theory. I know it is possible to be in the presence of men who would die defending a woman rather than violate her. My passion to see a safer world for women is informed by being violated by men, in my family and in my culture. I have allowed my husband and sons to see my anguish and outrage, and this has galvanized their will to protect women. I have also taught them how to think, communicate, and act in ways that do not violate women.
And I know lots of other men who are this way! I tend to attract them because I tend to attract women who value themselves as women and are attached to these men. I have been around so many of these men that it is a shock when a man acts in a disrespectful manner to me. Unfortunately, this is the norm for a lot of women; there are many women who don’t believe there are men who respect and value them in this world.
I have been an educator for 25 years. I have taught children from pre-K to high school, college kids, adult men and adult women. I have seen the spectrum. I know that we are educable, able to change…if we want to.
Men, please take this challenge:
I want to urge all the young men in the world to learn respect and reverence for women, to overcome their shame about their fellow males, to be a VOICE for peace, and to ACT in ways that promote peace towards women. Seek other men who are vocal and active about respect for women. If you care about women and want to make the world a better place, hold your head up high and speak!
Older men, if you respect and revere the sacredness of women, THANK YOU. Please teach the youngers what you know. Be active, use your voice, take them under your wing. They may not have had role models they could learn from (this goes for older men who didn’t have role models, too). They may feel the societal pressure to be silent about what happens to women every day. Give them courage. Stand up and teach them how to be a MAN.
Violation happens to women every day, and the world won’t change until women are safe. And if our men stand beside us to change things, there is a chance at peace.