The problem with violence against women is the removal of ‘male’ in a sentance that should read Male Violence Against Womxn to include cis women, trans men and women, non binary folx and basically anyone that has ever been a victim of assault because of their gender and/or sexuality. The problem with saying #notallmen is because that is nonwithstanding but victims of assualt shouldn’t have to say “OF COURSE ITS NOT ALL MEN!” – that’s obvious, but it is too many men. We are dealing with thousands of years of men growing up in a repetitive culture of believing women are second class citezins to them, that they are propriety and lets not forget that sex and gender equality are brand new laws. We’ve had laws in the UK for centuries upon centuries yet the laws for discrimination, equality and violence against women have been socialised within men since time began. There are parts of this world were non-binary is not a term used, where people are not free to define their sexuality, where they risk child marriage, clitoradectomies and genital mutilation (all because a man has decided that is how women should be). So it may not be all men, particularly in the UK where laws have changed but domestically and globally it is still too many men.
There is currently an open consultation for the home office regarding violence against women and girls. You can find a survey at the bottom of this page. Whatever your gender I ask you to fill this out. It had over 70,000 responses last Friday 12th March when it reopened. I didn’t even know it had been open before so I’m spreading the word whilst the consultation is open. It closes again on 26th March. Fill in the survery here.
The majority of violent crime is committed by men
Here in the UK the majority of all crime committed by males is 73% which is a pretty strong statistic when it comes to the #toomanymen response. Most all violent crime is committed by men (82% as of 2020). When it comes trends in relationships; violence against women 49% of the cases reported (and that’s key, because we know not all women report crime for fear or not being taking seriously) were an intimate partner. Further, a third of domestic violence cases (which doesn’t specify gender) were repeat victims which is just heartbreaking. Globally, 1 in 3 women experience physical or sexual violence. Half of women killed worldwide are killed by their partners or family. It’s just why is this still happening and what can we do to change it? Something that really concerned me was an Amnesty report in 2005 that said ‘Women who flirt are partially responsible for being raped’ – and that is the attitude that has got to change.
Harrasment, abuse and violence women experience needs to stop.
There are many women I personally know that have felt threatened or intimidated by a man, that have walked home in the dark with their keys between their fingers. We tell girls to take self defence classes, but to also be soft and gentle and not too muscly. There is such a double standard for women all to be appeasing for a man and quite frankly it is disgusting. I myself have been assualted by a man around the corner in daylight from my home. I’ve been a victim of domestic abuse and sexual assualt. I have been discriminated against, cat called and felt unsafe. I remember once going to a club with my mum and someone not leaving me alone until my mum stepped in. It’s like, why can’t the first no mean no? Why do unsolicited dick pics get sent? Why do men automatically go to slut shaming and abuse or slurs when a women turns him down? Why aren’t women allowed to say no to male advances?
Parents have a part to play in changing the language they use and the stereotypes they fall into to help challenge perceptions such as ‘girls do this and boys do that’.
So what can we do to change the situation? I mean I don’t think it’s completely up to women to stop violence against women but we do have a part to play because women can also be passive in this argument. Firstly, as mothers we can teach our children about consent and that no means no. We can teach children about consequence and action. We can also show our children respectful, loving relationships as adult role models. This is where it gets tough though because what of the cases where domestic abuse and domestic violence exists and their are children in the household, witnessing this, and then growing up believing that ‘women should be abused’ and ‘men should be violent’ – of course this isn’t always the case and not every child born will grow up to experience toxic relationships. As I said though, it’s not just down to women, men need to do the work too. Massive changes need to happen.
Sex education needs reformation. It isn’t just about STIs. It needs to discuss sexual violence, and consent in much more detail. These are impressionable young people and all genders need their perceptions challenged so we can stop blaming girls for being victims of sexual violence.
There needs to be a reform in sexual education which discusses consent for both boys and girls in a detailed way. No means no needs to be probably reinforced in each sexual education subject. This includes personal consent and that no one has permission to touch their bodies as well as a respect for other people. Within these lessons I think we should discuss, particularly for older teenagers, statistics of sexual violence including changing perceptions on this rape culture or that ‘women are asking for it because of x y and z’. Perhaps discussing these statistics will help challenge stereotypes and help reinforce the idea of consent and actually how rape can be a lifelong source of trauma for the person. We need to stop this perception that women want sex if they flirt, dress a certain way, wear makeup, have alcohol, walk home alone at night…because the perception is not there if a man flirts, is shirtless or has alcohol. Having these inclusive conversations and trying to break down the cycle with generations to come is going to ultimately help people understand the seriousness of male violence against women.
Call out friends who jump to violent and abusive threats after being rejected by someone they have hit on.
If a male hits on someone on a night out and that person rejects them (because they are allowed to say no) then the conversation should not automatically go to abuse, slurs or violence aimed at that person because they have rejected them. Like why is it okay for a woman to reject a man and him to automatically say ‘slag’ straight away and then laugh at her with their friends. In that conversation, if you, as a man, feel uncomfortable with your male friend using this language and you stay silent you are complicent in violence against women. You need to call out these behaviours and say this isn’t acceptable. You need to tell them to stop. You need to challenge their alpha male status and tell them that their behaviour, violence and unkindess because that friend isn’t going to have sex that night needs to change. Like, it’s awful. Honestly, break it down that person had their ego scratched and their answer is to hurl abuse at the person that said ‘no thank you I do not want your penis’ is just so fundamentally stupid. It’s so basic. ‘No sex thank you’ has turned into belittlement and violence against that women like come on just brush your ego aside and use your hand again. Better yet, be a better person that makes a woman want to go home with you.
Sex in Relationships Needs Communication. Sex is not currency. Sex should not be expected.
The perception that women ‘want a bad boy’ is a load of rubbish. Women do not want to be in a violent relationship, women want to be in a respected and healthy relationship. They may want to feel protected but that doesn’t mean controlled or abused. Women may like rough sex and kinky relationships but that doesn’t mean that they deserve to be a victim of sexual assualt and violence. Women are taught that sex is taboo for them. That is about pleasing a man, and that a man finishing is the end of sex. I know this is difficult when it comes to sex education but kids should be taught that both men and women masturbate. That sex needs foreplay. That sex is about intimacy between two people, and that it is not a currency in a relationship. It should be consentual, discussed, communicated and never, ever expected from a loving partner. It doesn’t matter if you have been in a relationship for one month or twenty years, you always ask for consent explicitly. You always wait for the yes to go ahead. You always communicate and if you are exploring something new you need to ask if it’s okay. We need to talk about sex more so that consent is within our bones and so that women don’t feel that they owe it to a man and men stop treating women as sexual objects.
An investigation by UN Women UK found that 97% of women aged 18-24 have been sexually harassed, with a further 96% not reporting those situations because of the belief that it would not change anythinghttps://www.openaccessgovernment.org/97-of-women-in-the-uk/105940/
No matter what you believe women do not feel safe here in the UK or globally. Women are told to do all these things to prevent violence against them but it still happens.
We can’t segerate men and women, that would be entirely backwards. It’s not solving the problem. It’s essentially saying men can’t control when they need and want to commit violent crime against women so they answer is to remove women from sight and it won’t happen. Of course it will. These crimes are committed because it’s a power thing. It’s about wanting to intimidate someone that is seen as inferior to the criminal. Women, non-binary, transmen, transwomen, and even young, softer men are at risk and should absolutely be protected. However, it’s the alpha male, toxic masculinity that needs to go alongside these perceptions we have that encourage us to blame the female victim of a violent crime.
Things that need to change: A Summary List
- Adult role models in respectful relationships challenging gender stereotypes and challenging their own perceptions so children and young people come to see their parents as equal people.
- A complete reform in sexual education taught at year 5 and year 10 in school. The younger focusing on bodily consent for boys and girls, the biological changes a body goes through, education on LGTBQTIA+ and what that means. Telling children that no one has permission to touch their bodies without their consent and that they also need to keep their hands to themselves. In year 10, focusing on consent again but alongside violence against women, challenging perceptions that what they see isn’t real life ie. pornographic images so that men don’t expect that kind of sexual behaviour and that women don’t feel they have to be that way.
- Challenging sexism in the workplace and calling out friends that use aggressive language to insult women or continous sexist jokes. We need to stop thinking it’s a funny issue. Sexism isn’t funny.
- The worst thing you can do is stay silent. If you are scared of telling your friend to stop saying something because of how they will react then you need to question why you are friends with that person.
- Ask before you sent intimate pictures to someone you don’t know and respect their answer. In fact, maybe don’t randomly message women and girls you don’t know on social media. Leave that to the dating apps and even when you do you still need consent.
- Stop saying #notallmen like we don’t know what we are talking about. Instead, be that not all men and challenge these perceptions to your fellow man.
- Learn about feminism. Educate yourselves. Read women’s stories about violence against them.
Sources of Information