By Mark Williams, 16 Days Activist
Initially I thought I’d do the 16 Days Activist Challenge to help out a friend. She is working on the challenge and she does such good work, so I like to support her wherever I can.
Then after reading some information on the net and actually doing different parts of the challenge that have come up so far, I’ve found that it’s not just an issue perpetrated by a handful of people. It’s a much bigger issue than I imagined. It truly is something that needs more attention, and most definitely needs more men to take responsibility for the issue.
Now, I believe that I really am taking the challenge to positively improve the lives of people around me, and to help myself to be able to raise a child who will embrace the same positive values. I also believe it is important to work together to help lessen and, in a perfect world, eradicate violence against women. As most of these crimes happen behind closed doors, I imagine people believe it doesn’t happen as often as it does.
Until men are taught that violence is never an acceptable way to deal with any issue, we are not going to solve our problem. Having more people speak out and take action against men’s violence against women, this will hopefully bring increased awareness to the issue and, I hope, give people the strength and courage to stand up for themselves and others when violence happens.
As a man who works in a predominantly male organisation, I feel I have an obligation to talk to the people I work with about the issue.
For Action 5 of the 16 Days Activist Challenge, I’ve read a bit about the Bechdel test and had the guys I work with look at some movies to see how bad it is for women in the film industry. I think that was a good one to start with, as most people like watching movies and it’s a relatively easy one to get other people involved in. I have used the Bechdel test to get the conversation going a few times and then often led the chat into gender equality.
I’m mainly hoping to get people to start thinking about where our issues are coming from, and not just thinking that it is something that will slowly fix itself.
TAKE THE CHALLENGE
The Preventing Violence Together (PVT) partnership’s 16 Days Activist Challenge runs from 25 November to 10 December 2015.