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We need to hear our men’s voices!

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The shock and horror over the latest incidence of domestic violence, in which a Chateaubelair woman was killed, are still reverberating through the society. It is indeed one incident too many, occurring once too often.{{more}}

Of course, there has been the usual widespread condemnation of the gruesome act, but if one looks carefully at the various groups and organizations spearheading calls, over the years, for action to combat this social cancer, they are usually led by women. It is women who have spearheaded marches, prayer vigils and other types of mass actions, and it is they who have been the driving force behind the passage of the Domestic Violence Act. Very often when incidents of domestic violence occur, the first thing some people ask is what is this women’s group or that women’s group saying or doing. Never is there a call for action by our men. Domestic Violence is not a women’s issue, it is a human issue.

So where are our men in all of this? Where are the fathers, sons and brothers of these victims? To be fair, many have also spoken out in condemnation, but not in any sustained or organized manner.

There are also some men, for example, who, when confronted by incidents of domestic violence against women, hide behind the retort that men are also victims of such reprehensible behaviour. True, there are men who are victims of domestic violence, but the numbers pale in significance when compared with the numbers of female victims. Additionally, societal conditioning has made our men ashamed to admit when they fall victims, for it is supposed to show weakness, an admission that one is less than a man.

Where are the voices of our males who make up the membership of influential social organisations; the service and sporting clubs or the various male-dominated lodges for example, in the face of the continued brutal assault on the rights of our women, including the priceless right to life?

How many men are prepared to challenge their brothers, friends and acquaintances when we hear the shameful excuses for violence against women that pin the blame on the victims? How many men turn a blind eye or even give tacit approval when their male friends give their wives or girlfriends “a little tap” for some perceived transgression?

Domestic violence is a grave social challenge that we must confront. It requires the active support of men as well as women, if we are to deal with it. This involves a whole re-education process, an acceptance that all human beings, regardless of gender, have equal rights which include the right not to be physically abused and above all the right to life itself.

The Domestic Violence Act must not only become law and be on our statute books, it must also be enforced, embraced and respected. Men have not just an equal responsibility to see that this is done, but as the overwhelmingly larger group of perpetrators, the burden is on them even more so to ensure a safe domestic environment.

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