Target: Mayor of Dallas, Mike Rawlings
Goal: Commend campaign that calls on men to end the culture of violence against women
The mayor of Dallas, Mike Rawlings, recently introduced a campaign called “Men Against Abuse,” aimed at encouraging men to work together to end domestic violence. While many similar movements view domestic violence as a women’s issue, Mayor Rawlings is focusing on changing the culture of violence that encourages male aggression against women. Instances of domestic abuse have been increasing in Dallas in recent years, and Mayor Rawlings hopes to put an end to that violence by calling on men to change their attitudes about masculinity.
The mayor is planning to hold an anti-violence rally where men will be encouraged to bring their sons, highlighting the fact that because violence is a learned behavior, boys must be taught that violence is unacceptable. The goal of the campaign is not just to encourage men to refrain from acting violently, but to stop defending abusers and work to prevent others from being violent. Those who do not explicitly condemn violence against women are only perpetuating it. Additionally, men must stop associating violence with masculinity and work to change the culture into one that views putting an end to violence as a masculine trait.
In a culture that tolerates violence against women, the violence is seen as inevitable, and the victims of that violence are blamed for allowing it to continue. Instead of putting pressure on men to stop behaving violently, women in abusive relationships are often told to simply leave their violent partners, ignoring the fact that attempting to leave a violent partner can be more dangerous than staying with that partner. Abuse survivors should never be made to feel ashamed for being subjected to violence because it is entirely the fault of the abusive individual.
Violence against women cannot be stopped by focusing exclusively on women. Campaigns must focus on helping men stop behaving violently, and on changing a culture that defends those who perpetuate such behavior. Commend Mayor Rawlings for starting a movement to end violence against women that puts the focus on the abusers instead of the victims.
Dear Mayor Rawlings,
The “Men Against Abuse” campaign that you recently introduced to help end domestic violence in Dallas focuses on encouraging men to take responsibility for the culture of violence that allows violence against women to continue. Too often campaigns such as these ask victims of violence to make changes to stop their own abuse.
Instead of blaming the victims, your movement calls on men to not only stop committing acts of violence themselves, but to stop defending and excusing those who behave violently. We must stop associating masculinity with violence and change the culture into one that holds men responsible for their violent behavior.
By starting a conversation about ending violence against women, residents of your city will no longer be able to ignore the growing problem of domestic violence. The city of Dallas should be commended for working to end violence against women by calling on men to change their own attitudes and behaviors.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Lisa Norwood via Flickr.