After the activists have gone home and the cameras have been shut off, what will take the place of the empty stage for the next 349 days until we start again?
The 16 days of Activism for no violence against women and children has come around again. We are bombarded with countless advertising telling stories of abuse and encouraging (specifically) women to “break the silence” of abuse and free themselves from abusive partners. We are shown the effects of abuse on children and told of the need for it to stop. The plight of abused women seems to go from bad to worse and the circle continues from one generation to another. People are encouraged to “take the first step” of stopping the abuse by speaking to someone.
All this is important and I am confident that people are getting the help that they need to break that cycle. My question is who is dealing with the men?
The abuse of women and children emanates from men and throughout the entire campaign, men are projected as the culprits and are challenged to seek help.
Yet no one seems to want to explore the root of why the men become abusive in the first place. Yes, there have been many studies conducted on why men are abusive; what I am referring to is the part where we deal with men not only before they become abusive, but also help them to cope in environments where they feel they have no choice but to resort to violence.
As men become more vulnerable and seemingly ignored and branded as not needed as home providers, they tend to gravitate towards abuse because they do not know who they are anymore or how they fit in. We see women on T.V. gathered in many places supportive of the 16 days of activism, while men are ignored, being expected to go with the flow. But this causes men to feel marginalised, feeling that their manhood has no place in the world anymore – the choice seems to be either they become emasculated or they fight back physically. They do not see any other outlet for their frustration.
This is not to give men an excuse – it is to point out a loophole that no one seems to be dealing with at the same level as they deal with women issues, the assumption being that men are ok, yet behind the scenes, men are on the edge, needing a way to release all the tension and find their fit in society, yet we seem to be determined to block them out.
The 16 days of activism seems to be set to be a continual annual event. What happens from the 17th day though? Where will the activists be when the very women who were marching down the city street, arrive home to a husband who feels he is the enemy? Who will be there to defuse that situation? Or do they have to wait another year so that they can pluck up the courage to report the abuse?
If men do not re-establish their place in society, we will always have the 16 days of activism. When will those yearly 16 days end?
If men are not built up to take their place in society, the 16 days will continue.