By Beth Morrison, HAVEN CEO
One in two Americans live in fear. Fear of being beaten, raped and/or abused. Consciously or unconsciously, the fear permeates all facets of life – home, work, recreation, school, even shopping.
So who is experiencing this fear? Women and girls, from the very young to the elderly. For many years the burden of this fear fell mostly on the shoulders of women. We were taught to be leery of strangers, to avoid being out at night alone, to watch your back, to avoid certain “types” of men, to fake being married if you live alone and the list goes on and on. And then we passed the message on to our daughters, nieces and other young women.
For generations, women have not only lived with this fear, but have done almost all of the work to eliminate domestic violence and sexual assault. Men have done little to end such violence even though the majority of perpetrators are men. For too long, violence against women has been seen as a women’s issue..
Times have changed! It is time for men to step up, learn and be proactive in working toward ending violence against women. We know that there are many more well-meaning men, than abusive men. We need these well-meaning men to stand beside us and work with us to end these horrific crimes. We need well-meaning men to stand up and speak out about domestic violence and sexual assault.
It’s not just about being a superhero. A Call to Men, a national organization focusing on men’s role in ending violence against women, spells out 10 things that men can do to prevent domestic and sexual violence. On this list is a reminder that silence is affirming, when we choose not to speak out against domestic violence and sexual violence we are supporting it. The HAVEN website also has some great everyday tips about what men can do to prevent violence against women.
At HAVEN we invite the men of our community to stand up and speak out! Make this October, National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, your time to take a stand and become involved. Email us at email@example.com to more about HAVEN efforts to engage men in ending violence against women, and to become a participant.
And remember, we all have the right to live without fear.