Men Can End Domestic Violence- 9/12/14

Men Can End Domestic Violence

The recent discussion around Ray Rice and domestic violence should focus on creating male allies

For many women throughout the country, violence, like that faced by Janay Palmer at the hands of her now husband Ray Rice, is an everyday occurrence. The deeply disturbing video shows Rice punching Palmer so brutally that she is knocked unconscious. Throughout the United States, one in three women will experience violence by an intimate partner in her lifetime. Much of the national news has focused on asking why Palmer married her abuser or analyzing the implications on Rice’s career.  We must change the conversation to look at the role men can play to truly end domestic violence and stop victim-blaming. 

At Mujeres Latinas en Acción, we serve thousands of survivors of domestic violence who have seen physical, verbal, emotional, and financial abuse. Many of these survivors have experienced beating that end in hospital visits, rape at the hands of partners, and verbal abuse and threats so chilling they are unable to feel safe. Recognizing that men are not inherently violent, we have created a violence prevention program for teenage boys to learn about respectful relationships. Creating male allies in boys and men is crucial for ending violence against women.

Men can and are currently taking steps to be part of the solution to end domestic violence. A movement is growing, led by men, to redefine society’s perceptions of what it means to be a man and to inspire men to respect women. Rice, an aggressive football player who abused his future wife, is a prime example of the stereotypes and beliefs we must change if domestic violence is to end. We must not only prevent abusers like Rice from developing, but also educate bystanders like his Ravens teammates to challenge the abuse. Mujeres’ Maria Mangual Latina Leadership Conference will feature activist Tony Porter to speak about engaging men in the fight to end gender-based violence. Porter is the Co-Founder and Co-Director of A Call to Men, a violence prevention organization providing training and education for men, boys and communities. We invite men and women to continue this conversation and not let the discussion of domestic violence end with this week’s news cycle.