Men need to be allies in battle against abuse
By Dr. Gloria J. Johnson
Over the past twenty-five years I have come to realize that if we are going to reduce incidences of domestic and sexual violence against women and children we need men as allies. Men are important in our role to help stop violence against women because the majority of violence (both domestic and sexual) against women that’s reported is committed by men.
One reason it has been difficult for men to join us in our fight against domestic violence is that for many years society has seen domestic violence as a family affair and should be dealt with by the family. In the area of sexual violence, somehow society has blamed the victim most of the time because they do not understand that sexual violence is about control and not sex.
There is also the thought that because mostly women are victims, this is an issue to be fought by women. If society continues to see domestic violence as a family problem and sexual violence as a sex problem – and not as community problems – women and their children will continue to be prevented from living safe, full and healthy lives.
It is imperative for society to understand that domestic and sexual violence should be everyone’s concern. It touches all of our lives. As men become our allies in the fight of violence against women and children, this establishes a team effort of both sexes to find solutions through various approaches.
If you ask most parents their vision of their sons as adult men, the majority would not answer “I want my son to be violent with his spouse, girlfriend or other women.” To teach boys how to not be violent requires parents, including men, to address violence and confront the contributing factors that perpetrate violence in our society.
Boys learn mostly from their fathers and other men in their lives how to relate to females. They learn from the relationship messages they see with their fathers, uncles, cousins, neighbors, teachers, coaches, peers and anyone else who is a vital part of their life. Because of this connection, we need men to join with us, end their silence, speak out and confront the issues that lead men to feel it’s okay to use violence in a relationship.
Life Source Consultants provides free support and confidential services for women and teens dealing with physical, mental, emotional, verbal, financial or sexual abuse because “Love Doesn’t Hurt.” Call us at 314-524-0686.
Dr. Gloria J. Johnson is the Founder/CEO of Life Source Consultants, the first non-residential African American domestic and sexual violence organization in the State of Missouri. Motivated by a deep love and commitment to abused women and to forever change images and perceptions toward domestic violence, family violence and abuse, Johnson shares true life stories of victims in her book “I Cried Alone.” Johnson received a Master’s in Biblical Counseling and a Ph.D. in marriage and family counseling from Biblical Life College and Seminary.