By Chris Crass
For all of us who have been raised with male entitlement, backed with the threat of socially condoned or ignored (unless video taped) violence, we must take pause in this moment to re-commit ourselves to NOT be abusers, to NOT use violence (physically or emotionally) in our families and communities, and TO help raise boys to become men who will help dismantle patriarchy, and end gendered violence.
While the focus of media debates is on Janay Rice’s decisions and women around the country are bearing painful scars of#WhyIStayed, we need to focus on how to end systemic patriarchy in society that raises our children to become abusers and abused, and the ways we are and can further liberatory feminist values throughout our families and communities. We need men to be discussing #WhyIWont use violence, be abusive, or create situations for Janay Rice’s all over the world, to begin with. We need men to be discussing #WhyIWill work to end violence, to challenge male entitlement (vicious and subtle) and actively co-create feminist liberation in our lifetimes, alongside people of all genders working to get free.
The path to feminist liberation is rooted in the visions and goals of economic, racial, environmental, disability, and social justice – as we are talking about social transformation of the conditions that brutalize and harm entire communities and generations. And we are talking about individual transformation, responsibility, growth, and action, combined with collective efforts to end the epidemic of gendered violence.
The real question isn’t what is Janay Rice going to do. The real question is what will each of us, particularly men, do to help create a world with neither abuser or abused, and what are we doing in our daily lives to get there.
P.S. for men on the left, until feminist values and agendas are understood as central and made central to building a powerful, grassroots left in this country, we are in effect aiding and abetting sexism to undermine, narrow, and hurt everything we do.
And I’m not talking about just supporting women’s leadership (which is vital), but also making our own leadership and efforts feminist – in goal, practice and impact. For our lives, for those we love, for the new world in out hearts… for feminist revolution.