Will men in America speak out against domestic violence?

By Melissa Martin, Ph.D

To prevent and stop violence against women, men in all 50 states of the USA need to stand up and speak out.

Mothers, sisters, and daughters are victims of domestic violence. Wives, live-in partners, and girlfriends are victims of domestic violence. Relatives are victims of domestic violence. Neighbors are victims of domestic violence. Teenagers are victims of dating violence. Children are victims of family violence.

Throughout history it’s been women at the forefront for change at the grassroots level and at our nation’s capital as they marched for the courts to pass laws to intervene in family violence. Women marched for law enforcement to enforce the laws. And women are still marching.

Where are the male voices? Why aren’t men involved in stopping domestic violence? Will men listen to men? They certainly aren’t listening to women.

“Now, when it comes to men and male culture, the goal is to get men who are not abusive to challenge men who are,” proclaimed Jackson Katz at TEDxFiDiWomen. He continued, “We need more men with the guts, with the courage, with the strength, with the moral integrity to break our complicit silence and challenge each other and stand with women and not against them.”

Journalist for The Guardian, Anna Moore interviewed Patrick Stewart (Star Trek’s Captain Picard) and the Hart brothers at a 2018 domestic violence charity event before they took the stage to speak. Moore asked why these men are speaking out.

Why? “Because domestic violence is a man’s problem…We are the ones who are committing the offenses, performing the cruel acts, controlling and denying. It’s the men,” Patrick Stewart commented after sharing that his father abused his mother.

Why? “To tackle domestic abuse, you need to look at masculinity,” Luke Hart asserted. “Our father’s need for control came from his beliefs on what it means to be a man. I think most men – like me, before this happened – don’t realize how dangerous it is.” In 2016 in a small town in England, Lance Hart shot Claire, his wife, and 19-year-old daughter Charlotte, four days after the women had left him. Both died. Ryan and Luke Hart have become advocates against domestic violence.

Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist. She lives in Ohio.

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