1. Communicate. One of our largest problems is that we do not talk. No one is a mind-reader. If we talk with our partners, we can understand each other’s wishes, thoughts, & desires. Consent should never be assumed.
2. Educate Yourself. There is lot of information on Domestic Violence that we ought to learn and understand. “1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime”, “1.3 million women are physically assaulted each year in the US” and “every 2 minutes, someone in the US is sexually assaulted” – are all undeniable statistics, and need acknowledgement & press.
3. Contribute. We ought to give our time, thoughts, and even donations to helping stop all forms of violence against women. Assistance is always needed, and there are many ways for us to get involved and support the cause.
4. Support Victims/Survivors. We can be there for those who have been victimized by domestic violence. This might mean driving someone to the hospital, accompanying a victim to court or the police station, or even just sitting and listening to the survivor.
5. Organize. As men, we can create or join a movement against DV.
6. Act. Rather than watch abuse happen, we can take a more proactive role and become empowered bystanders. This means standing up, speaking out, intervening in potentially harmful situations, or alerting others for assistance. There is always something we can do.
7. Choose Words Thoughtfully. We must understand the impact of our language and the words that we use. Using words like bitch, ho, & slut to describe women makes it easy for our whole society to view women as inferior.
8. Talk with/listen to Women. Women have spoken out for years trying to spread awareness. It is time to have those conversations with women and learn their thoughts about living with threats of violence on a daily basis. We can also find out ways that we can support women best.
9. Talk with Men. We can engage in dialogue with other men about how domestic violence has impacted their lives. We can explore feelings and the costs of being regarded as potential perpetrators of violence, while learning how to best support male-identifying survivors. Talking with other men will also allow a space to discuss ideas on how to challenge and stand up against domestic violence.
10. Lead by Example. Never disregard, excuse, commit, or remain silent about violence (particularly against women). We can be role models for other men and boys in our communities. We can teach our children to be respectful and never abusive toward women. We can be good fathers and equal partners in our relationships.
Distribute freely, with credit. Feedback highly encouraged.
Sacchi Patel, M.S. —-Morristown, NJ. —-November 2011