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Cavanaugh: Recognizing violence against women

March 14, 2018

Growing up, I witnessed violence against women firsthand before I reached kindergarten. I was about four years old when I saw my babysitter’s son physically abusing his wife. 

 

That was the first of many times of practiced cowardice I would see in this form. Taking women’s and gender studies classes helped me reflect on the negative actions that I have been exposed to throughout my life.

 

I’ve learned men are substantially more violent than women and more likely to sexually harass the opposite sex. Women are targeted at college campuses and workplaces across the board.
Some women join sororities and try to meet expectations of the male gaze from fraternities. These women go to college parties and may become intoxicated, increasing their chances of being sexually violated. 

 

Nineteen percent of undergraduate women have at least reported attempted sexual assault according to GetInclusive.com. The website also stated that many sexual assaults against women are undetected because women are scared to speak out. 

 

Sometimes, women get jobs in factories and overly aggressive men will sexual assault or harass them because they feel as though they can take advantage of women. I personally feel the government is not moving fast enough to end this crisis.

 

We as men need to protect our sisters from this violence by speaking up and taking action. If we as men see violence against women, we need to at least report it, even though we are not committing the atrocity ourselves.

 

Reading Trevor Noah’s recent book, “Born a Crime,” I’ve learned that in his childhood in South Africa his mother was verbally abused as well as physically by her boyfriend at the time. The man thought, like other violent men, violence could sustain a relationship. 

 

I know, as a man, if I get into an argument with my fiancée, the only way to handle it is to walk away and allow space between us both. To put your hands on a woman, to hurt her because she makes more money, has friends of the opposite sex, or you feel physically dominant because you are a man, I declare that to be one of the most cowardly things any man can do.

 

Some say the way you treat your mother is the way you will treat your wife and some people are even abusive to their mothers. Just because you’ve seen violence in the past against women does not mean you have to engage in it now.

 

Women are targets from the time they are born. In Maya Angelou’s “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” she talks about her horrific experience of when she was molested as a child by her mother’s boyfriend. 

 

I hope communities across the world increase their compassion towards women because they are mothers, daughters and just as important as men in this world. 

 

Just because men are typically physically stronger than women does not mean we should be harming them or using them for things such as prostitution. Like Tupac Shakur said, “Time to heal our women, be real to our women.”
 

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