Stop. If you are man, watch the video before going any further.
One incident of domestic violence is reported to the police every minute. On average, 2 women a week are killed by a current or former male partner. 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence in their lives.
There are many overlapping and exceptionally complicated reasons to why this problem remains so prevalent. A few thousand years of patriarchy probably doesn’t help; but I believe that the deep rooted stereotypes of gender also play a significant part in perpetuating this problem.
I have already had the experience of seeing people I care about being beaten and manipulated by partners that stated they loved them. It is totally unacceptable, and yet good, well meaning friends and family help to perpetuate the problem through their use of language and behaviour.
The video represents an extreme example, but it serves to highlight that fine line between banter amongst (normally male) mates and totally unacceptable comments. To understand this, you have to understand violence against women as more than simply physical violence. There are forms of emotional violence – from sexist joking, to sexual harassment at work, to other domineering forms of behaviour. By remaining silent about these things, we become complicit in creating both immediate conditions to allow this behaviour to persist but also the long term culture that fosters these views and actions.
We live in an age where 1 in 4 men believe a woman is partially responsible for being raped if she wears provocative clothing. A third of people believe women who flirt are partially responsible for being raped. There is an attitude that helps to dehumanise woman to such an extent, men can rationalise the most unacceptable behaviour. It is up to us to look and try and understand how we have ended up in a situation where so many hold such fundamentally unacceptable ideas.
I hope that by being quite funny and appealing to our “inner man” that this video will help us down the long and exceptionally slow road to tackling the social and cultural norms that allow these levels of violence to persist. Hopefully it will allow us to once more proudly proclaim that We are Man!