One Billion Rising is a noble movement that seeks to end violence against women. Violence against women is a terrible problem that needs to be addressed and many millions of men are raising their voices for this worthy cause. Where are the voices raised for men?
Violence and trauma against men is arguably a much bigger problem than violence against women. Yes 1 in 6 American women will be sexaully assaulted compared to 1 in 10 American males, however this is only one type of violence. Males are murdered at a rate 3.2 X greater than women and commit suicide at a rate of 4 X greater than women. What about the fact that 75% of assault victims are men and 97% of workplace fatalities are men? Why is it that 90% of the homeless are male? Where are the voices raised in shock and outrage over the violence done to men?
Why is it that between breast and prostate cancer, two diseases that take about the same amount of life, breast cancer gets twice the federal funding, four times the charitable funding and 2.6 times the news coverage? Why is it that we are disgusted at the idea of circumsizing females but routinely do this to our males? Why are males far less likely to graduate high school or obtain a higher education than females? I'm going to make the case that all these things, including violence against women, are related to one key theme; our view of gender roles and specifically our view of a man's place in society.
Violence against men and women is related to how we raise and nurture males from the minute they are born. Psychohistorian Lloyd Demause explains how boys develop to become more violent:
This is because from infancy boys are expected to “just grow up” and not need as much emotional care as girls—indeed, boys are regularly encouraged not to express any of their feelings, since this is seen as “weak” or “babyish” in boys.24 While mothers may sometimes dominate their little girls and expect them to share their emotional problems, they distance their boys by not making contact with them and expect them to “be a man.” This begins from birth: “Over the first three months of life, a baby girl’s skills in eye contact and mutual facial gazing will increase by over 400 percent, whereas facial gazing skills in a boy during this time will not increase at all.”25 Boys grow up with less attachment strengths because careful studies show that mothers look at their boys less, because both parents hit their boys two or three times as much as they do their girls, because boys are at much higher risk than girls for serious violence against them, and because boys are continuously told to be “tough,” not to be a “wimp” or a “weakling,” not to be “soft” or a “sissy.”26
Dr. Warren Farrell suggests that males are about 50 years behind females in terms advancing gender roles. Feminism can be defined as freeing females from being coerced into traditional female roles, and the same work needs to be done for men. While feminists have fought and won hearts and minds for equality in the workplace and politics the same battles need to be fought for men and boys in the home. We will know that this is accomplished when a dad who chooses to stay home with his kids is no more stigmatized than a mom who chooses to work full-time. We will know this is accomplished when we see an equal number of fathers granted primary custody of their children in cases of divorce as mothers and working mothers who fail to provide financial support are branded deadbeats as readily as fathers who fail to provide. We will know we have accomplished this when we move beyond the traditional gender views of women as sex objects and men as success objects. We will know we have accomplished this when women no longer marry men for their ability to detach, protect, and work and then divorce them years later for that same thing.
Here is my advice for One Billion Rising to make a real difference in the issue of violence against women; raise awareness that all violence (including violence against women) is essentially blow-back from the way we view males and subsequently treat our boys. Lets reverse engineer the solution by examining how we can create a more violent world.
Make sure you never treat boys with less tenderness and affection than they need or ask for with their tears and pain. Tell them to hold back their tears and not to cry, its the same as telling them not to urinate it will physically damage their brain and teach them their feelings don't matter as much as the comfort of people around them. Spank them to discipline them, this will teach them that power is virtue and the strongest is the rightest. Teach them the opposite of the truth - that emotions are weakness and that repressing emotions are strength. Tell them that females are made up of more precious stuff than they are -sugar and spice vs snails and tails - that way when the repressed rage and pain inside them erupts they will have a target, a paragon to tear down. Teach them they they are worth less than the collective by filling their heads with tales of self-sacrificing heroes who die for others - this will make them useful instruments of the powerful elite as well. Focus their attention on games of domination like team sports and make sure you yell at the ref and if you miss a game ask them what the score was first as if thats the most important thing about play - this will distort their reality of the world to view it as a zero sum game where their are winners and losers as opposed to manifesting a reality of win - win cooperation that advances the world. Consume material items like they are going out of style encouraging the father and increasingly the mother to detach from the household and attach to the workplace. Removal of fathers from a childs life is highly correlated with lack of empathy devlopment because while mothers provide empathy thereby teaching children how to recieve empathy, fathers set and enforce boundaries teaching children to consider others...so make sure you remove a father from the equation as much as possible.
If you want to create an empathetic, virtuous, self-knowledgable, well balanced, strong man who is a force for good in the world; a man who would never harm another man or woman, who will offer strength and protection as well as love, nurturance and connection, then do the opposite of what the rest of the world does. At the same time we need to teach our daughters to want a man like this in their life and what they might look like. A man who has a proclivity for grandiosity, bravado, and machismo is a broken man to be avoided; truck nuts, peacocking, lift kits, bragging about paycheques, puffy chestedness, willingness to use violence to solve problems, attention to appearing intimidating, are all warning signs that something went wrong with this man.
If you want to rise up in a way that will have the biggest impact on the world in terms of diminishing violence against women, focus on how you treat little boys.