Do you ever wonder how you’ve missed something really important that was apparently right there for you to see? Well, there is this really amazing guy out there named Jackson Katz who promotes the notion that domestic violence is a men’s problem. And, men have to step up and be leaders to address this issue with other men and boys.
If you Google Jackson Katz, take the few minutes to watch his TED talk. It’s right on. He demonstrates that through our language we take domestic violence from being a male issue to making it a women’s issue and, therefore, diminishing the responsibility of the men perpetrating violence. This is really important. We go from “john beat Mary” to “Mary is a battered woman.” John is no longer a part of the language of the violence. It becomes about Mary instead of about john.
Truthfully, without men teaching and leading other men and boys we will never stop violence perpetrated by men against women. We have programs and safe houses for the victims/survivors. This may keep them safe for a time, but it doesn’t change the behavior of the abuser. Only working with the victims isn’t going to fix the problem.
The current programs we have for perpetrators are woefully inadequate. They don’t address many of the real problems and they are designed for misdemeanor domestic violence. The statistics about the efficacy of these programs shows that they are not working well.
One of the underlying issues is accountability. In cities and cultures where there is a high degree of accountability for violence, the violence decreases. In this country, there is little accountability. Without this nothing changes.
When men see domestic violence as a men’s issues, and they hold other men accountable, things will change in a positive direction. We need good men to stand up and take the leadership role with other men and boys. Then we will be addressing the problem.
It’s time for good men to step up.