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Where Are These Men? Part 2

Jul 19, 2007 — Categories: , ,

The Fathers’ Day Poll released by the Family Violence Prevention Fund that I discussed in last week’s blog suggests that the majority of men are aware and concerned about sexual and domestic violence.

The Fathers’ Day Poll released by the Family Violence Prevention Fund that I discussed in last week’s blog suggests that the majority of men are aware and concerned about sexual and domestic violence. And yet as I read these new numbers, I have to ask, where are these men? The ones who know that we have a serious problem, whose lives have been touched, who believe society and our institutions can and should do more, who believe they can make a difference?

The work to end sexual and domestic violence has long been viewed as “women’s work.” We women have the larger investment: our survival is at stake here. So our energy goes first into surviving, then resisting, with changing the world running a close third.

In fact, the work to end sexual and domestic violence is men’s work. Your good will and personal concern don’t count without your voice and your actions. You are in a position every day to change your world, the world you inhabit. Men’s work to end violence against women must always be in close collaboration with women activists so that these efforts will be productive and avoid unintended consequences.

We need allies, men who can offer their resources to a shared agenda. So I join with author Pearl Cleage who offered these words to Men Stopping Violence in Atlanta:

I am here to confess that I failed to complete my assignment. I cannot write a poem for men to speak. Or a poem to speak to men. I am still too angry. Too angry that domestic violence is, and rape is, and incest is, and war is … I do not know the words to open men's hearts and minds to another way of defining and defending their manhood, but I know that redefinition is so vital and so necessary and so at the heart of the matter that I do not think we can survive as human beings unless men are prepared to do that important work, alone and in the company of other men and women who can show them another way to be men . . .

I will promise to leave a space in my head and in my heart for that new poem to be written when we gather to celebrate the end of male violence against women everywhere, and the dawning of a new day for human beings around the world . . .

“Because We Have Daughters: A Promise in Place of a Poem” by Pearl Cleage

I believe in the possibility of a new poem and I am reminded of the quote attributed to an Aboriginal Activist Sister in Australia: “If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”

Rev. Dr. Marie M. Fortune
FaithTrust Institute
www.faithtrustinstitute.org

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