YES. Sexual assault & domestic violence have traditionally been thought of as “women’s issues”. That is wrong, and it is one of the reasons these crimes continue to be epidemics in our community and around the world.
The reality is that approximately 90% of these crimes are perpetrated by men, and approximately 90% of the victims & survivors are women.
If a male sexually assaults a female, it is not “her issue” – it is his issue. These issues are “men’s issues”, or more accurately human issues, since they impact all of us.
When we think of these as “women’s issues”, men often remain silent. Though most men are not perpetrators, silent men are part of the problem. Perpetrators like our silence. When we think of these as “men’s issues”, men speak up and take action.
When we think of these issues as “women’s issues”, we ask questions that blame the victim:
- Why did she dress that way?
- Why did she drink that much?
- Why didn’t she leave him?
When we think of these as “men’s issues”, we ask more useful questions like:
- Why did he sexually assault her?
- Why is he controlling her social life?
- Why did he hit her?
We need men to speak up in helpful ways, and be engaged in the solution. We need men doing this work in partnership with, and following the leadership of, women who have been doing this work for decades.
The video below shares a great example of men making this a “men’s issue”, and doing so in partnership with women…