Stop talking about ‘violence against women’
….Start talking about violent masculinity and how to address it.
Since 2013, reported rapes in the UK are over 60,000 cases a year (2013 is also the year when reported rape numbers in the US began to increase after a two-decade drop). The worst part of this phenomenon is that while most women are on high alert walking at night, the majority of women murdered in the UK – some 57% – die at the hands of their (ex) partners or family members. More than nine out of 10 killers were men.
Globally, 80% of those 87,000 women murdered around the world each year are killed by an intimate partner or family member. Often murder is the culmination of an extended period of increasing sexual or other physical abuse. So while we may talk about the horrors of walking home alone, the real nightmare for many starts when they enter their homes, a phenomenon widely observed during the pandemic.
Are women the only victim of toxic masculinity?
80% of murders in the UK are of men. Indicating, it is equally scary, if not more, for men to walk home safely at night.
Making it all the more pressing for men to join hands in a collective endeavour of ending crimes against women, and thereby against themselves.
Education can work like magic if done in the correct way. Young boys must be taught about gender equality, or coached in non-sexist attitudes, that they later grow into non-abusive partners.
More time is given in helping children learn the early identification of abusive people – whether partner, colleague or family member. Creating systems that help both men and women identify and suggest treatment to the 10% of psychopaths (this is just a random estimate) that lurk amongst us, largely and destructively undetected, bullying us into submission when not pummelling us to death.
We need to teach them how the continuing toxic culture of masculinity that sees physical violence as innate to the male psyche is as pertinent to male victims as to female ones and this needs to be continually challenged.
Helping young and old alike on how to manage relationships across genders is equally important. Building relational and self-management skills to help men manage emotions in ways other than beating up on the person closest to them is the need of the hour.
We have to give our women the freedom to walk home safely. Give our men the freedom from a toxic psyche. And ourselves a society that is moving ahead instead of failing miserably.