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Men want to be proud fathers, uncles, grandfathers and great husbands/partners. We want our partners and kids to live in safe homes without violence. Taking The Pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence towards women means a better life for you and those close to you.
Never commit violence towards women
Men CAN stop violence towards women. The first thing men can do to stop violence is to understand what it is and the harmful impact it has.
Violence is any action that controls through fear. It can be physical or non-physical. It can happen in front of others, but is often hidden and occurs in private.
Physical violence is:
- Pushing, hitting or punching
- Kicking, biting, choking and strangling
- Using weapons
- Forcing someone to have sex or do sexual things when they don’t want to
Non-physical violence is:
- Standing over her, yelling or screaming
- Destroying things precious to her
- Threatening to hurt her, or someone close to her
- Constantly criticising and putting her down
- Using fear or guilt to control her actions
- Controlling and monitoring her money
- Using the children against her
Violence has a huge impact. It can make women feel fearful, sad, isolated, lacking in confidence, angry and suicidal. In some cases, violence against women results in severe injury, or even death. The feelings that violence causes can last for a long time, and it is often not just the woman who feels this way. Violence affects everyone, especially children, whānau, friends and communities as a whole. Violence also affects those who use it, often making them feel sad, isolated, ashamed, and frightened of losing relationships.
There are things you can do so that you don’t use violence and act safely. You can:
- Know what behaviours are abusive and controlling and what alternative behaviours are OK
- Know your warning signs and triggers, get in control of yourself early
- Stop, think, what impacts and costs your actions will have? Choose a time for both of you when you can talk calmly and openly about your feelings
- Chill out, walk away from a potentially violent situation
Violence hurts everyone. A life lived in fear is not a life fulfilled. It is important that all men do whatever they can to ensure that women are safe. Here are some ideas:
- Understand what violence is and what is not ok. Check out whiteribbon.org.nz for more information.
- Speak up and ask for help. Talk to others, you don’t need to do this on your own.
- If someone is in danger, call the Police even if you are not sure
- Don’t join in conversations that put women down, or share images that degrade women and treat them as just a body, not a person.
- As a family, teach men and boys respect for women. Be proud that your family respects and protects!
- Listen to women; learn from their experiences of abuse and violence. Understand the impact that violence has had on them and what you can do to make a difference.
- Support women to be independent and live without fear. Be proud that this is what happens in your family.
- When you make mistakes, face up, take responsibility and put things right.
- Be proud, wear a White Ribbon to show you are part of a men’s movement to promote respect and end men’s violence to women
These are just a few of the many ways that men can ensure that they do not commit violence against women and prevent their families from committing it as well. By taking the Pledge, you have promised to never commit violence against women. These strategies will help you uphold this promise. You CAN stop violence against women.
Never condone violence towards women
When you tolerate or accept violence to women, it sends the message to others that violence is okay. By acting as if violence is acceptable, you help violence to continue by creating an environment that supports violence. When children see adults fail to act, they can think violence to women is acceptable.
Condoning violence against women happens in many ways:
- Making or laughing at sexist jokes
- Not challenging violence against women so people assume its normal
- Excusing or minimising violent behaviour
- Sharing degrading messages, photos, videos or links on sites like Facebook and Twitter
- Sending emails and text messages showing violence against women
- Telling others to ‘harden up’ or ‘be a man’ when they challenge violence to women
- Smiling, laughing or giving the thumbs up when men talk about being violent to women.
Violence against women is never okay, not condoning violence looks like:
- Sharing messages and videos online that challenges violence to women
- Speaking out against comments that put women down or treat them like property
- Treating women with respect
- Take action; make sure it is safe for you and others
- Let your kids know violence against women is not okay
Not condoning violence to women can make a change for many. Wear a White Ribbon to show you support men’s action to end violence to women
Never remain silent about violence towards women
Remaining silent about violence against women is ignoring it and doing nothing to challenge it. This impacts on all women and contributes to a culture where people don’t feel able to speak up and violence to women continues.
There are many instances and situations where men may remain silent about violence against women. For example:
- Knowing that violence is occurring and doing nothing
- Not making a stand when violence is happening
- Not challenging others when they make sexist jokes, comments or display sexist behaviour
When you challenge violence against women it is important to say what you don’t like, why, and what you think should happen. “Bro when you put down your partner she looks frightened, you need to stop or you will lose her”. When you challenge violence, it gives others permission to do the same.
There are a number of ways you can do this:
- Take action when you see violence happening, make sure it’s safe, if you can, get others to help
- Take part in collective action that prevents violence against women, such as taking The Pledge, wearing a White Ribbon and getting involved in community organisations and events
- Encourage men who use violence to seek help to live violence-free lives
- Challenge sexist jokes, comments or behaviours and let people know you think it’s not okay
- One person speaking out can make a change for many. Wear a White Ribbon to show you support men’s action to end violence to women