DCP: Men’s fight against gender violence
Throughout the Demand Change Project, we had the opportunity to hear how men are stepping up to fight against the buying and selling of women and girls for sex. One of the primary spokesmen leading the male response is Chuck Derry, of MN Men’s Action Network (MNMAN) & The Gender Violence Institute. Throughout the weekend, he shared some practical resources and updates on how men are fighting against sexual exploitation, which I have included at the bottom of this blog post.
Male Panel: Stopping the Demand: From Boys to Men in a Pornified Culture
On Saturday of the Demand Change Project, Chuck led a panel of men in a discussion related to men and the demand for sexual slavery. Below are some of the questions and responses that were shared:
How have you participated in supporting a culture of violence against women?
I listened to pimp music myself, and I let my kids listen to it as well.
One young man stated: “I’d say I’m asexual. I’m not really attracted to either gender. But society made me feel like I needed to feel sexual toward women.” Even though he wasn’t attracted to women, he tried to reflect how his peers talked about women and he tried using porn to “normalize” himself.
Another man shared that he had often remained silent while other men said harmful, disrespectful or sexist things about women. “The success of gender violence relies on the silence of good men.” (So ending it relies on good men speaking up against violence against women).
Why did you change?
“I came to understand my own masculinity and realized other men didn’t need to validate that for me.”
One guy said, “Porn is like allegory of the cave.” That’s all some boys learn about sex, so they think that’s what sex is.
Another man changed once he connected his “male habits” to women’s pain, he realized that what he was doing or thinking or saying was harmful.
How can we stop demand?
“Do it yourself.”
One father suggested: “For Father’s Day, take your son and a dollar and invest it in a program like Breaking Free, so the boy can see you invest in the wellbeing of women.”
Have positive discussions with kids (and others) about the positive emotions that come after having sex (to tap into the relational part of sex that often gets left behind).
Realize that we have individual rights but when those rights impose on others’ rights, there should and are regulations.
Resources/Ways to get Involved:
I challenge any man reading this blog to check out at least one of these webpages. I further encourage you to get involved somehow in the fight against violence against women. At least start speaking out about it.
Men As Peacemakers – An organization that enables men to value peace and take responsibility for preventing violence. The following are two specific ways men can get involved.
Minnesota Men’s Action Network.(MNMAN) – An alliance to prevent sexual and domestic violence. An example of what MNMAN does: the network is looking at different ways to change the culture of school athletic programs and of college parties to reduce the normalcy of violence against women and girls.
MENding Project – An initiative led by men to call other men to no longer be silent about male violence against women.
Men Against the Trafficking of Others – MATTOO calls men to stand up against the buying and selling of women and girls on a global scale. MATTOO was the cosponsor of the 2011 Demand Change Project.
Futures Without Violence – Site that offers multiple resources in the fight against gender violence, including “Coaching Boys into Men” and resources on teen dating violence.
Men and Boys: Preventing Sexual and Intimate Partner Violence – A publication by the Violence Against Women National Online Resource Center.
Letter to the hotel industry – A letter recently sent to hotels in the US, aligning with the Clean Hotel imitative which is working to eliminate porn available in hotel rooms as well as train hotel staff to recognize potential sexual exploitation within their hotel.
Jackson Katz – Speaker and author: 10 Things Men Can Do.
A CALL TO MEN – A leading national men’s organization addressing domestic and sexual violence prevention and promoting healthy manhood.
Men Can Stop Rape – An organization with a mission “to mobilize men to use their strength for creating cultures free from violence, especially men’s violence against women.”
My Strength is Not for Hurting – A campaign centered on the theme of “My Strength is Not for Hurting,” and is designed to raise awareness of sexual violence among youth and highlight the vital role that men can play in fostering healthy, safe relationships.
All Pro Dad – A site with many resources for fathers to use and think through when engaging their children, especially their boys. Tony Dungy, NFL Coach, is involved as a blogger.