We always encourage folks to speak out about violence.
Always, always, always.
It is critical to both personal and community growth and healing that women and girls continue to have repeated discussions around how sexual violence impacts them differently in society.
Fact: Sexual violence can and does happen to anyone.
Fact: Sexual violence impacts everyone differently.
Fact: Each victim/Survivor, depending on a variety of factors: including, gender identity, access to financial resources, race, religion, culture, location, ….can dramatically change how many other additional obstacles one must face.
Fact: It is important that people continue to feel open and free to discuss challenges and solutions around sexual violence.
All those facts stated to say this, it isn’t as helpful as some might think land into a conversation this way:
Conversing Group: “Yes!
What women have to deal with to avoid being raped by men is exhausting.”
Well-meaning man: “Men too! A lot of men are still dealing with their own pain of rape.”
Group: “Can we have a conversation about girls and women without men derailing the whole conversation? Y’all don’t ever want to talk about men’s issues until women start talking about women’s issues.”
May we suggest?
Why can’t we have two conversations? Four? Hundreds? Thousands?
Who told folks, (well, in this case, men), that we can’t have multiple conversations about sexual violence?
I’m not negating or minimizing the need to feel included when an issue is close to your heart.
Still, sometimes we all must consider whether what we have in mind will be helpful or harmful.
When it comes to sexual violence, more dialogue and conversation is our friend.
As you might have noticed, when it comes to social issues, there is often a dire need for more conversations not less.
Silence is an unyielding obstacle to change . -Tonya GJ Prince
We absolutely need conversations around healing, addressing, preventing sexual violence against boys and men.
We must do that in ways that don’t derail conversations around how we can generate more healing, safety, and attention to
- Girls and women are more likely to experience violence and abuse from men around them.
- Girls and women continue to live in fear. 3 women per day are killed by men.
- Despite what you have heard, we aren’t holding boys and men who violate others appropriately accountable for the crimes being committed every day. We are not.
Our focus must be on having more conversations to address unique and specific challenges.
More conversations to tackle each unique challenge. So racism, gender identity, financial resources, age, geographic location, religion, …..ALL can have unlimited conversations.
That’s a great thing!
We are so far behind on addressing and ending violence and abuse that, at this point, we can’t even talk about this issue too much. We need strategies, solutions, awareness, knowledge, and healing yesterday!
Here’s a big piece of it: We need more informed conversations to be generated by men; for boys and men.
To put an end to sexual violence, menfolk are a need!
When boys and men see someone like them starting a conversation, workshop, conference, blog, podcast-you may never hear about it- but someone is being aided by your actions.
Even though today we may know a bit more about sexual violence than the folks that previously walked this way, it still takes courage and bravery for girls and women to come forward because; as a society, we still just don’t collectively know enough to be useful to victims/Survivors.
It takes courage and bravery for boys and men to come forward.
Boys and men are waiting and watching.
Girls and women are waiting and watching.
The voices of people who come forward with accurate, helpful, empathetic, and compassionate, information and/or knowledge about sexual violence are needed every single minute of every single day.
What else can I do?
One thing you can do is share information from trusted sources:
WARNING: Not everyone who is talking about sexual violence is saying anything worth knowing or repeating.
- Be selective.
- Respectfully, ask questions.
- Cite reliable resources. Knowledge is a beautiful gift that keeps on giving.
Men Can Stop Rape, a leader in this work, has a great page of resources specifically for men:
I can personally testify that so much work is being done by dynamic, knowledgeable, and caring men from various communities.
AND, yes, more work is needed.
Please, take advantage of the available resources and think about how you can use your platform, resources, positions, groups to empower and uplift boys and men when it comes to sexual violence.
I encourage you to share the graphics, videos, training, statistics, events, and information from groups on this page.
I encourage you to support the men that we prominently feature on WESurviveAbuse.com.
There are a lot of men in this work who are leading organizations, starting organizations, starting and running charity drives, providing counseling, teaching workshops, running podcasts, speaking, teaching, and preaching on the issue of sexual violence.
Please continue to join them, uplift them, raise them up, let others know about the work that they are doing and support them.
Let folks know: No matter who you are, you are not alone.