Dr. Jackson Katz, internationally known educator and co-founder of the Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) program, told a maximum capacity audience in the Chadron State College Student Center Tuesday that men shouldn’t think of gender violence as a women’s issue.
“Men should think of this as a men’s issue. Women, to be sure, are the leaders in advocacy for more services for victims and legal reform. Their hard work has positively affected the lives of many men and boys. To think women who are vocal about gender violence are men haters is just ignorance on parade,” Katz said.
Some women are reluctant to discuss the issue when they sense men’s defensiveness and hostility.
Katz said the dominant group in any society tends to have a large amount of invisible power perpetuated by successfully avoiding being questioned. He cited school shooting as classic examples of bullied individuals reversing power imbalances using weapons.
For example, he said, the common phrase, “violence against women,” is passive and doesn’t include the active agent: men. He acknowledged that some women are abused by women and some men are abused by women, but chose to focus his comments on the overwhelmingly predominate issue of men’s violence against women.
“Violence against women doesn’t happen in a vacuum, it is committed, by and large, by men,” he said.
Katz reviewed the evolution of Title IX, explaining that even though the measure began with the intention of equalizing opportunities in collegiate athletics, it has been transformative in many ways, opening opportunities for young women to earn college scholarships and be involved in goal setting and teamwork.
Katz also said programs he worked with were influential in The White House’s “It’s On Us” public awareness campaign announced in September 2014.
He showed a series of video clips and asked the audience to consider how the pervasive cultural glamorization of hyper masculization from movies, video games and action figures plays out in the real world.
“We need action, not just awareness. This is up to your generation to have the courage, strength, moral integrity to lead,” Katz said.
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