The root cause of woman abuse is the social, economic, and political inequality of women worldwide. For example, women earn less money than men, their work at home is under valued, and few politicians are women. If society now takes violence against women seriously, it is because women are working hard for this.
I quite remember how some of my friends use to tell me how they were asked to promise their fathers to have a sense of power, pride, confidence, mastery, control, and feel invulnerable.
I now ask myself this question, thus prestige and privilege, power and control, really makes you a man?
Many victims interviewed always has this to say, that they are been carefully scrutinized by their peers and that they do not want to betray any deviance from the prescribed rules for being a man.
They say they do not want to be standing alone feeling shame about their difference. So they prefer denying themselves in order to feel safe and accepted within a dominant culture that demanded them: "Be a man!"
What would it mean now if we were to create a culture in which men join together to reclaim these parts of ourselves that we once hid and denied? If we discovered that, as we peek out from behind our fear, we find the shy and smiling face of another, reflecting our own remembered wholeness.
What would it mean if together we found the courage to stand and face the dominant culture, saying with determination and pride, we do not want to "be a man"? We refuse the rigid box of gender conformity.
What if we created a community where we could feel safe and accepted in the infinite variety of our gender non-conformities?It would mean the end of the system of patriarchy, wherein the promise of power is leveraged by the threat of violence. Homophobia, violence against women, and war-the ultimate weapons of gender conformity-would disappear, no longer needed to prove and protect our "manhood”.
Men would show up in the full rainbow of our expressions. We would inhabit our homes and families, remembering the delights of nurturing relationships. And we would seek out the close, loving companionship of other men and other women. It would mean hope for the world in places where we have long felt only hopelessness.
I believe this is all happening now. Yes, it can often seem agonizingly slow and painful, and there is certainly plenty of overt and covert resistance; however, there is a tremendous wave of liberation moving through our world.
Men breaking free from the individual and cultural demand to “be a man” are one key ingredient in my “movement”.
It's time for us now to assert that we will not be boxed into masculinity by seductive promises of power or intimidating threats of violence. It's time for us now to break through our fear and isolation and come out as gender nonconformists who do not fit or accept prescribed rules of manhood. It's time for us now to call each other out of the shadows of the box with a welcome of acceptance and safety.
In this way we are creating a new culture where being a man is an open-ended, ever-expanding expression of possibilities. A workshop designed by Women entrepreneurs to educate men who abuse them on the topic "Being a Man".
Take action! This post was submitted in response to Ending Gender-Based Violence 2012.