Lots has been in the news recently about women as victims of violence. With the conversation surrounding #YesAllWomen and #NotAllMen, many people are talking about the culture of violence that we all live in.
Notice I said talking.
As a culture, we have a real opportunity to have productive discussions. Not just about the reasons for the culture of violence but also about how to resolve the issue. IF we can all agree to listen to each other.
There is a solution to the problem of violence that affects us all. Somewhere, in the din of so many voices of opinion, there are MANY solutions.
I talk to my students every semester about violence. I have yet to teach a class in which there is not at least one victim of violence amongst the students. Sometimes, they share their experience - a gift to them and to their classmates, as it makes the experience real. My female students often share how they don't feel safe walking on campus, especially at night. Most walk in pairs or groups, have someone come pick them up, or keep their phones on while walking.
My male students are usually amazed at this, unfamiliar with the daily threat of violence.
Unless they identify as gay.
This coming Fall, I'll be teaching a class on "Perspectives of Masculinity." I'm planning to stretch some awareness with this class. One of my main goals will to build a policy of listening in the classroom. It's the best start to the deeper conversations I hope to have.
My wish - to have the focus come off of victimization and move into empowerment.