By Rob Okun
Monday, August 22, 2011
A recent editorial about a domestic violence murder case in Massachusetts placed the onus on stopping this violence on women. Rob Okun says the responsibility lies with men too, and that it's time for men to speak up.
We've come a long way from the days of police turning a blind eye to family violence perpetrated behind closed doors. But we have to do more than just arrest and jail perpetrators, or order them into batterer intervention programs. We have to begin educating elementary school boys and girls about respect in relationships before their ideas about gender solidify.
Imagine clergy, policymakers, coaches, parents and teachers articulating a vision of a better world, a healed society and a cooperative community. And imagine that the final sentence of a newspaper's domestic violence editorial read: "Unless we educate boys and men about healthy relationships--including teaching nonviolent, conscious communication--some men will continue to believe dominating and abusing women is acceptable behavior and domestic violence tragedies will continue unchecked."
Women have a right to expect that they no longer have to work to prevent domestic violence alone. Since the majority of men are not violent, it is time for them to speak out about the abuse a minority of men perpetrate.
Doing so is one way to honor the memory of Rebecca Moulton and offer a small measure of consolation to her family. To repair a culture of violence, where domestic abuse murders too often still occur, can we do anything less?
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Rob Okun is editor of Voice Male magazine, a psychotherapist and an equal rights justice of the peace in Amherst, Mass. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.