In celebration of the movement: 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence (November 25 – December 10)
A call to action:
On November 25, the world commemorated the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women; and began 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence which ends on December 10 – Human Rights Day. This is a call to "galvanise action to end violence against women and girls around the world".
Frederick Douglass, an American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman once said that "it is easier to raise strong children than to repair broken men".
With the many controversies that have plagued us within the past few weeks surrounding intimate partner and gender-based violence, with far too many images of young men and boys portrayed in the media as perpetrators of violence, I venture that the time has come for us, as a society, to understand that these boys and these men are not only perpetrators but are also victims themselves.
I venture that they are victims of neglect caused by ineffective and inefficient socialisation constructs. The family is the primary form of socialisation. It fosters a sense of self while it teaches you social norms; how you should behave as well as cultural practices. When we examine our society, we must ask ourselves, "How many broken homes exist?" And more importantly, "How many of us are products of these broken homes?"
Socialisation also occurs in schools, where individuals learn skills such as problem-solving, learning how to get along with others and basic conflict resolution. However, we have also seen the recent news cycle about the progress that is being made and the challenges that education leaders have on their hands.
I venture that these boys are victims of stereotyping and alienation. We all know too well the macho stereotype. That a man is strong and can deal with anything; that a man ought not to have dark moments and moreso, if he does, it can be solved with a drink.
I venture that they are victims to the negative influences of social media and to poor social and psychological systems.
I venture that they are victims of a system that has ignored their value as role models and future leaders.
These are all clear indicators that we are failing our boys and men. The status and the misgivings of the men in a society are reflective of its nature and its efficiency.
As mothers and as female leaders, it is imperative that we recognise and embrace our role in the lives of our sons, our husbands, our brothers, our fathers and our partners.
We have a responsibility to these men in our lives and in our society to appreciate and applaud their efforts and their successes as our supporters and as our greatest allies.
It is by encouraging our boys and men to embrace their roles as positive and equitable contributors, that we can truly battle the storms of social and economic instability.
Coming so soon on the heels of International Men’s Day (November 19), we aim to continue the dialogue that would allow us to foster a society of great women supported by great men!
Frederick Douglass also said that "if there is no struggle, then there is no progress". So join us in actions that will effect change. Though incremental, they will undoubtedly add up cumulatively and result in progress for our men and boys, and our society at large.
AFETT is a not-for-profit organization formed in 2002 with the goal of bringing together professional women and engaging in networking opportunities, professional training and business ideas. ASK AFETT is a column meant to address issues and concerns of professionals seeking advice to assist in progressing in their careers. Today's response was written by Yolande Agard-Simmons, President of AFETT and Creative Director of the Image Architect. Learn more about AFETT at www.afett.com, search for AFETT Events on Facebook, follow us @AFETTEXECS on Twitter or contact us at 343-2160. Email us your career-related questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The views and opinions expressed are those of the authors, meant strictly as advice and guidance, based upon their experience and expertise. In no way are they meant to be legally binding upon AFETT and or its members, servants nor agents.