This video, by Juan Carlos Areán, former director of the National Latin@ Network, explores dimensions of traditional masculinity that contribute to the ongoing problem of violence within the family and intimate relationships.
It is very important that as you take action, you also take time to reflect about your own life experience. Most men are trained to be in control of situations and to “fix” things, but in the case of violence against women, it is essential that you ask yourself some questions first. For instance:
- When I was growing up, what did I learn about how to be a man?
- What did I learn about how to treat girls and women?
- How have those beliefs changed over the years?
- Why do I want to be involved in efforts to end violence against women?
- Am I willing to follow the lead of women and other men who have worked on these efforts for a long time? Am I willing to really listen to them?
- How has traditional masculinity affected me and my loved ones?
- What have I done to get away from the dangers of traditional masculinity?
- Am I able to express my feelings freely when it’s safe and appropriate?
- Have I ever used any kind of abuse and violence against women (including emotional, financial, sexual and physical)? If so, what have I done to change my behaviors and be accountable to the people I’ve hurt?
These are not easy questions to answer for any man and you might not be able to answer all of them right now, but as you get more involved in helping prevent violence against women, you will want to come back to these and other questions about masculinity. It is not a matter of blame or shame, but the great majority of men –not only Latinos, but men all over the world- are taught to bury their feelings, assert control and use violence if necessary.
Ready to take action? Take the Pledge...stand with others to create a world free from domestic violence by grounding our relationships (of all kinds) in love, respect and understanding.
You can also learn more by watching the following video and checking out the other resources below:
Spanish language video made by youth in Panama: Pela´os y pela´as te cuentan la violencia de género
How Can a Re-Examination of Masculinity Help Stop Violence Against Women by Oswaldo Montoya Tellería (the full book in Spanish is also available for download.)