by Kojo Damptey
Kojo “Easy” Damptey is a music producer, songwriter, keyboardist, composer and filmmaker. He was born and raised in Accra, Ghana. At the age of 17 he moved to Hamilton, to pursue an education at McMaster University studying Chemical Engineering. Kojo Damptey is working daily 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.
Martin Luther King is credited with the quote “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”. This quote epitomizes humanity’s desire to at least create a society where we are our brother and sister’s keeper.
Nonetheless there are a number of gigantic injustices plaguing our society today, one of which is gender-based violence. On this issue we have failed to address the root causes and when I say “we” I mean “men”.
In Canada, every time December 6th rolls around we are reminded of the gruesome act at Ecole Polytechnique; where a male shooter shot 28 people, killing 14 women, before committing suicide. Since, that tragedy we have been reminded that there needs to be more work done to end violence against women.
As a man involved in community work I feel it is necessary to create spaces where “men” can contribute in tangible ways to end violence against women. Here are my thoughts:
Paulo Freire explains oppression as any situation in which “A” exploits “B” or hinders his and her pursuit of self-affirmation as a responsible person is one of oppression; and mostly this situation constitutes violence. Based on this definition there is no doubt that our current society has a problem whereby men continuously exploit women in all forms of life.
This “acceptable phenomenon” has created a society that supports the perpetuation of condoning men’s behavior in situations of violence while victimizing women that have experienced different forms of violence. This atmosphere of victimizing women ensures that men who are involved in acts of violence continue to use their power and control to further oppress women.
For centuries women have come up with their own practices and ways of dealing with gender based violence. These practices whatever they maybe are essential to combating gender-based violence, hence, I think it is time we as “men” listen, validate and change our attitudes. It is cruel and further exploitative if we don’t accept these practices as ways to end violence towards women.
Having questioned and challenged our patriarchal mode of thinking it is important to act in solidarity with women who are well versed in addressing gender based violence in order to attain some level of transformation within our society. It is highly important not to show false generosity of paternalism when working to address issues of gender-based violence.
It is these thoughts that have led to the organizing of the men’s walk at McMaster University. The purpose of the walk is to engage men in the process of challenging our patriarchal norms and to start a process of partaking in solutions suggested by women. I believe it is through this process that we will shift to a culture of support as opposed to victimizing. Thereby ending the threat of injustice anywhere.
National Day of Rememberance and Action on Violence Against Women at McMaster University
December 4, 2015
10:00am – Men’s Walk
Meet in front of Hamilton Hall
11:00am – Panel on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women featuring Bev Jacobs, Norma General, and Aileen Joseph
Council Chambers, Gilmore Hall 111
12:15pm – Commemorative Service
Council Chambers, Gilmore Hall 111
 Martin Luther King, “Letter from Birmingham Jail”, 1963.
 Paulo Friere, “Pedagogy of the Oppressed”, 1970.