Activist Mama: teach men not to rape

I lost my voice over the weekend. Literally. It was probably a rather nice break for DH and the kids. This quiet life is an interesting experience. I have been knocking once on the wall to say ‘Yes’ and twice to say ‘No’. I have yet to find a quicker way than the morse code to ‘say’: LEAVE ME ALONE! Without words, I seem to be able to keep my emotions more in check. Usually irate things are actually kind of OK when you can’t talk. For example, kids punching each other would normally start a screaming fit on my part. Well, not at the moment. Instead, I gently take their hands and get them to do something less barbaric such as play with a puzzle or less painful such as punching the baby doll instead (I do realize that the latter tactic will probably come back and bite me in the arse). Inside I also feel more at peace too, strangely. A silent me seems to be a better mom. Strange. Disturbing even.

However, the minus side is that I had to go berserk silently when a friend posted this video Teach men not to rape in which Zerlina Maxwell and TV host, Hannity are debating arming women for self-defense Vs teaching men not to commit violence on women and rape. It infuriates me to no end this bullshit about arming up the whole country to feel safer and fight crime. It drives me nuts when the pro gun faction says ‘it is not the guns the problem, it is the people’ to fight gun bans but then denigrate long-term violence prevention measures that seriously focus on people and, let’s face, more specifically men. And I am not talking about men with mental health issues, still a small proportion of the entire population and probably an even smaller proportion of the violent population. Indeed, it pisses me off when people like Hannity put yet again the onus on women. Enough of this ‘gender equality’ meaning a focus on women as victims, perpetrators, the people who have less and thus have to be helped to change. I have found an excellent article on the masculinity excesses in crime and violence by Cynthia Cockburn and Ann Oakley published in openDemocracy. Here’s a powerful extract:

‘Year after year, we fail to connect the huge burden of masculine anti-social behaviour with the social and economic system of which it is part. Where is the search for reasons and remedies? Instead of joining the dots, and drawing a conclusion, we treat every piece of breaking news as a shocking new scandal, a special case. Jimmy Savile is exposed, along with other male celebrity paedophiles. The policy response, ready and waiting, is ‘we need better child protection’. Nobody thinks to ask, ‘what is it with men and power?’ A school massacre grabs the headlines. It is taken for granted the perpetrator will be a male. But the policy response is ‘tighten gun control’. Not, ‘what is it with men and guns?’ Almost always in such accounts of violent crime the man as male, the man as masculine, remains a shadowy figure behind the text. He is never brought into the spotlight. We do not hear him questioned. We do not hear him answer.’

When you see someone on national TV like Hannity  being dumbfounded by the suggestion that men, masculinity and violence are correlated as if it was the first time he heard about such concept, you realize that there is a long way to go to address the roots of violence in our societies.

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