Kojo’s Response to CHCH’s Square Off

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Kojo Damptey is working hard to speak out and take a stand against the violence that women too often face in Hamilton.  Check out his song Broken Promises which supports the work of Interval House.  Kojo was watching CHCH on Monday when Lenore from SACHA was on Square Off.  Here is his response:

Take Back the Night has been a progressive force for women for 30 years. It exudes the struggles women have faced through out the years, struggles, which unfortunately continue to percolate, in our city and the world.

I was happy to see Lenore the director of SACHA speak about the event on Hamilton’s own CHCH program Square Off with Mark Hebscher, his female co host and a male news columnist from the Ottawa Citizen. The interview started with Lenore giving information about the night, once she was done the next question to be asked was ‘Why aren’t men allowed to march with the women?’.

I must say I was taken aback by the question. Lenore politely answered the gentlemen and told them if there were men that wanted to get involved with the festivities of the night they could attend the male allies event happening at The Sky Dragon. Both men were adamant to allow for men to join the March. While going back and forth with Lenore they managed to depict the misogynistic attitudes TBTN is trying to curb in our city. I must say while less overt in their attitudes, they refused to celebrate the achievements of TBTN, refused to ask questions pertaining to violence against women and most importantly how men can help STOP VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN.

The question Mark Hebscher asked “Why aren’t men allowed to march with women?” can be answered in a multitude of ways, here are a few;

1)      Historically women walking the streets at night needed male protection to unsure their safety. So to dismiss that claim women decided to TAKE BACK THE NIGHT, so why on earth would they allow men to march with them, it totally defeats the purpose of the march. By the way women are still not safe while walking the streets. So this says much more about men than women.

2)      There is something called the patriarchal mindset. It’s a mindset most men have, due to the nature of our society. To ensure that men know about this mindset and try to disarm it and understand what women rights entail they need to go through education. Which comes through in the form of workshops, discussions, lectures etc. Thus all men wanting to march should head to the education forum to participate in a discussion about how we can challenge sexism every single day.

3)      There is an old Nigerian proverb – ‘Don’t let the lion tell the giraffes story’. Most men always want control; they see it as a sign of weakness if one lacks control when in any form of a relationship with a woman. This is completely absurd. The proverb goes on to say if the lion always speaks, the point of view of the giraffe is never heard. Mark Hebscher and his colleague from the Ottawa Citizen are the lions in this case and most men exhibit this king of the jungle mindset. Thus we must allow for the giraffe to speak. Please bare in mind I use this proverb as an analogy just to get the point across.

According to the Canadian Women’s Foundation 61% of all Canadians say they personally know at least one woman who has been sexually or physically assaulted. Based on that statistic if women in this city want to march for 3 hours to bring awareness to such issues why should men be arguing over the fact that they are not allowed to join in the march. Men should be instead talking about how we can reduce these numbers, all men have mothers, some have sisters, some have wives and some have daughters; lets work together so that they don’t become a statistic.

— Kojo Damptey

You can also see midwifery students Sita and Hardeep’s response to Square Off here.

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