Local view: Men must stand up and change
Men, think about your partner, your mother, your daughters and your sisters, cousins, nieces, female co-workers and friends. Statistically, one out of four women you know has experienced violence at the hands of a man. This means the threat of vi...
Men, think about your partner, your mother, your daughters and your sisters, cousins, nieces, female co-workers and friends. Statistically, one out of four women you know has experienced violence at the hands of a man. This means the threat of violence is an ever-present reality for women, whether they have personally experienced it or not. That threat affects the way women relate to you and other men in their lives. It also means that the children in your life are being raised in an environment where they have roughly a one-in-four chance of being a victim or a perpetrator of violence against women.
This has to change -- and men have a responsibility to step up and become part of the solution.
The apparent murder of Kay Peterson by her husband, Michael, provides a tragic reminder that whether we know it or not, violence against women is happening all around us. How many women have to be demeaned, beaten, raped or killed before we men decide it's too much?
Most men are not abusive. They want the best for the women in their lives. Despite this, sexual and domestic violence prevention and intervention efforts have been almost exclusively developed, organized, and staffed by women for the past 30 years. Women are experiencing male-perpetrated violence at incredible rates, and yet men remain on the sidelines. Even when women ask the men they trust in their lives to help -- their husbands, brothers, boyfriends and colleagues -- they are often left to address men's violence on their own.
Men are in a unique position to help change the environment in which sexual and domestic violence occurs. Men spend a lot of time with other men, have access to "male" spaces and possess power and leadership in the community. With their combined knowledge, experiences and influence, men can help make our community safer, more respectful, and friendlier for women.
We urge men in Duluth to stand up and to take action. They can start by joining us Monday, June 21, for a men's forum to learn more about the problem -- and what men can do to help prevent violence against women.
Ed Heisler is the community education coordinator for the Safe Haven Shelter For Battered Women; Gordon Ramsay is Duluth police chief; and Frank Jewell is executive director and coordinator of Men as Peacemakers, Duluth.
What: A forum for men: "Preventing Violence Against Women"
When: 6-8 p.m., Monday, June 21
Where: Men As Peacemakers, 205 W. Second St., No. 15, Duluth
Information: Contact Men as Peacemakers Executive Director and coordinator Frank Jewell at (218) 727-1939
Sponsor: The forum will be presented by the Minnesota Men's Action Network, or MN-MAN: Alliance to Prevent Sexual and Domestic Violence, a collaboration of Men as Peacemakers and the Gender Violence Institute. MN-MAN has a five-year history of organizing men in communities around the state to help prevent sexual and domestic violence.