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How men can stop violence against women

I have worked in the field of domestic violence for the past nine years, at the Julian Center as an IMPD Advocate and at the Domestic Violence Network, as a Program Coordinator. Rarely do I feel out of place as a man in a field lead by women. Of course there are times when I’m exhausted from carrying all the heavy boxes or have to shrug off a comment which stereotypes all men as potential abusers. For the most part, though, I am welcomed into domestic violence circles and am reminded of the importance of men in ending domestic violence.

Here are a few things men can do to end domestic violence.

Confront gender-based jokes that objectify women which de-humanizes them, making it easier to justify abuse. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it when youth see men who respect women in attitude and action.

Confront suspected abuse caused by family members, friends, neighbors, and acquaintances. If there is abuse of any type, whether it is emotional, physical, or something else, have difficult conversations that address the abuse. Evil only exists when good people are silent.

Mentor youth in the community either formally or informally. Mentorship and being a role-model does not have to involve formal programming, it can be as easy as modeling respect and integrity to youth in the neighborhood, faith-based organizations, and the larger community.

Look inward by reflecting on your actions and attitudes. None of us are perfect; we can be offensive, angry, and hurtful without realizing the impact on others. When we do or say something that hurts those around, accept the mistake and apologize without getting defensive. True masculinity involves the ability to admit when we are wrong, accept consequences, and make amend