- Gender violence is a men’s issue, involving men of all ages, races and class backgrounds. View menfolk not only as perpetrators or possible oppressors, but as empowered allies who can confront abusive peers!
- If someone you know — a friend, classmate, or teammate — is acting in abusive or oppressive was, or is disrespectful towards women and others, Do Not merely look the other way or neglect it. Try talking with your friend about it. Urge your friend to look into resources. If you don’t know how to talk to them effectively — or worry they might turn on you, too — talk with friends, co-workers and others: you aren’t “telling on them”, but you can share dialogue with others who might feel good about talking with your mutual friend, or discover ways of helping. Silence Is Violence — DON’T Do Nothing.
- Take the time — and courage! — to look inward: Question your own attitudes and behaviours; ask yourself if there have been times when you’ve been disrespectful and what that meant to you. Don’t react defensively when something you do or say is challenged. Keep trying to understand how your own attitudes and actions might unintentionally perpetuate gender violence or inequality. Work toward change and growth.
- If you suspect someone close to you is being abused, harassed or assault, gently ask if you can help or what support you can offer. Do not press too hard if they refuse, but be open to hearing about what their individual needs are.
- If you have any reason to believe you have been physically, sexually, psychologically or emotional abusive toward others — look into seeking help to change. Many, many resources are available — and no, they are not all “therapy”.
- Be an Ally! Look into campus-based women’s centres; seek out community programs that support survivors of abuse and assault; share this list with your friends. Attend a local Take Back the Night event and other rallies. Ask some of these centres what support you can offer.
- Fully learn about what Oppression and Inequality look like — take time to better understand homophobia, gay-bashing, misogyny, emotional abuse, racism, ableism, elitism and other ways of thinking that discriminate. Violence against anyone because of how they vary from the status quo is Not Okay. For example, know that homophobic abuse has direct links to sexism (e.g. ever been called “gay” for speaking up against homophobia or misogyny? This is a strategy — be it conscious or not — to shut up people who speak up.) Be brave and stand up anyway. Know who you are and be courageous.
- Attend programs, take courses, watch films read articles and books and go to workshops or seminars about gender inequality and the root causes of gender violence. Educate yourself and others about gender violence!
- Never fund sexism: refuse to purchase products that degrades women, female-identified people and transwomen, or portrays non-male people in negative, subservient ways. Protest sexism in the media, too.
- Offer the resources and knowledge you have to others. Never assume you have it all figured out. Remain open to learning and growing. Lead by example.
This was adapted from “10 Things Men Can do to Prevent Gender Violence”, produced by MVP Strategies, Copyright 1999, Jackson Katz.