to End Men's Violence
this year's International Women's day, CARE Bangladesh, along
with several other NGOs, has launched a unique movement where
men wear a white band to express their solidarity with women's
of the greatest impediment to social and economic development
in the Third World countries," Habibur Rahman, Gender
expert, CARE Bangladesh says, "is gender based violence."
Though not all men use violence against women, he continues,
almost every man remains silent about it; and through their
silence, they have allowed it to continue.
the time has come for this to change. The White Ribbon Campaign
(WRC) urges every man to wear a white ribbon or hang it from
their house, their vehicle or at the workplace to express
their solidarity with violence against women. "This campaign
is unique because of men, who are blamed for most of the cases
of domestic violence that take place, are uniting against
repression of women," Habib says. Another major reason
why the WRC is working with men and boys, Rahman says, is
that women get the much-needed courage to fight back when
they see men step up and take a stand against violence. "Decision
makers and of leaders are mostly men. We need to work with
them to get the political and moral support that are necessary
to prevent gender- based violence," Rahman says.
the background the manifesto of the campaign, he says. "If
it were between countries, we'd call it a war. If it were
a disease, we'd call it an epidemic. If it were an oil spill,
we'd call it a disaster. But it is happening to women, and
it's just an everyday affair. It is violence against women.
It is sexual harassment at work and sexual abuse of the young.
It is the beating or the blow that millions of women suffer
each and every day. It is rape at or home or on a date. It
no secret enemy puling the trigger. No unseen virus that leads
to death. It is only men. Not all men, but far too many men.
In some countries most men will never be violent against a
woman, in others, the majority of men take it as their birthright
to do what they want."
campaigners believe men's violence against women "is
not aberrant behaviour." Habib agrees. The gender expert
believes to keep their dominance on women, men create a climate
of violence against women. "Men have created a culture
of violence against fellow men too. These are the ultimate
by-product of a system that teaches men to become macho,"
most cases," he goes on, "men's violence is a pathetic
attempt to assert control over women, children or the other
as Habib, too believes, men, who have been defined as the
problem, should get united to solve it. "Confronting
men's violence requires nothing less than a commitment to
full equality for women and a redefinition of what it means
to be men, to discover a meaning to manhood that does not
require blood to be spilled," the manifesto says.
too, believes men in this society artificially cultivate machoism.
"Many men in our country believe that women, especially
wives and daughters, can and should be beaten. These men also
believe that they can even kill women with relative impunity
because women are men's property. Now the problem of domestic
violence is also coming to the fore, and men's roles are being
re-examined along with the "culture of masculinity."
thinks the WRC is a very big leap forwards towards women's
liberation from the feudal remnants of the society. But the
Gender expert believe, apart from wearing a white ribbon,
men must lend their ears to women more-- to the problems women
face in their everyday life.
only that, Habib says, "Men should learn the types of
abuse women endure." Though the common myth is that most
violence is committed by strangers, according to the manifesto,
the fear is greatest in women's own homes. "In fact,
women are most at risk from men they know--husbands, boyfriends,
fathers, relatives, employers, and caregivers," it says.
the fact of the matter is, Habib says, that men are not born
macho. It's either sheer insecurity or lack of self-esteem,
coupled with a false sense of pride and superiority that lie
behind men's violent behaviour. And now is the time to change
this long-running trend. "Men can and must become a part
of the solution, by showing their love, respect, strength
and commitment towards women and girl child to end violence,"
Habibur Rahman concludes.
(R) thedailystar.net 2005