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"Victims are not women. Victims are the men"

Have you ever thought that maybe the real victims of our history are men and not women? Sometimes I do… very often, to say the truth.

Nobody can deny that thousands (millions, perhaps) of women are dying daily as the result of men attack: at home, at the streets, at war fields.

But precisely as the result of that terrible numbers, I am starting to ask myself: are men the real enemy of women? Apparently yes. Newspapers, television, internet and even history books are faithful witness of the cruel reality that women have been facing before and today…

But, for real, can we blindly trust in those testimonies? Are the media and books telling us the truth about the violence against women?

As a journalist and as a woman, I suspect that we are missing something, because, at the end of the day, things haven’t changed so much for women destinies, but neither for men’s history. We still prisoners in a circle of violence.

Talking about the violence against women, it is useful to ask us: are we living a war? Well, yes. We are in the middle of an old, unfair, unbalanced, terrible and very deadly war. That is the first thing that we have to accept.

However, we also must ask us: who are fighting against whom? Where is the field of battle, and which are our tools to combat?

Because only by knowing the nature of a conflict, we can make the steps to solve it; otherwise, even if we fight bravely, we will only losing our energy and our opportunities to find a real and lasting peace.

I am going to sound subversive, I know. But I think that history is now asking us to change our look. We must to start to think that women are not the real victims of this system. The real victims are the men… we, the women, are only that that war language use to call: collateral effects.

If we (men and women) start to understand that the war is not between each other, maybe we could walk ahead in the same direction to stop all this fatal hostilities. Because for each woman killed, actually we lose one creature made for give us life. Do we want to die as human beings? I don’t think so.

Ok. Let’s concede that we had made some advances. Is that true or that is only history wants to make us believe?

Around 1900, women in France needed a special permission from the police to wear pants in public, and only for very special reasons and causes. Just few weeks ago, (a century later!) we read in the news that a woman could be flagged precisely because she dared to wear pants in public. And that is only an inoffensive example…

No, I am afraid that things haven’t changed so much, even if we like to believe that yes, that we the women are enjoying more freedom and justice. It is true for some of us, it is true in some places, it is true for some situations, but it is not true for all of us in all places in all situations, so, it is a fantasy, a failure from a society, which is trying to make us believe that “we won some battles… but indeed, not the war”

To truly win, we need to change our look. We must start to understand who the enemy is, and who the ally is.
That implies to understand that our system is torturing men in first place.

It is the actual culture which is stealing men’s soul, and pushing them to the violence, and then, making us believe that violence it is prohibited and will be punished.

For real, let’s open our eyes; let’s understand that our fight is against violence in general, not only violence against woman. Otherwise, the system will continue winning by causing separation among women and men.

Let’s realize that if the actual system, -supported by media and history- is not teaching us about pardon and compassion, it is because precisely there is the secret of its destruction

Men are the prisoners of this patriarchal trap. Women at least, we preserve yet alive, our natural power of forgiveness. That could be the key to transform the world into a better place.

If we, the women, don’t start to see men with a different look, a look of compassion, then, this cultural system will continue succeeding, taking the men’s soul, and women life’s.

This article is part of a writing assignment for Voices of Our Future, which is providing rigorous web 2.0 and new media training for 31 emerging women leaders. We are speaking out for social change from some of the most forgotten corners of the world. Meet Us.

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Comments

olakitike's picture

Not quite clear. . .

Hello, how are you. I just read your artcle.
There are some interesting thoughts and perspectives but I don't think the argument is quite clear. For instance, violence does not exist in a vacuum. If we are fighting violence in general, even that exists in a construct of some sort, it is often fed by something. You are not clear about this.
You say,
To truly win, we need to change our look. We must start to understand who the enemy is, and who the ally is.
Who is the enemy? Who is the ally?

Your article offers an interesting and thought provoking perspective to the issue of violence, but I don't think the argument is strong or clear enough yet. i hope this helps?
Best wishes

Sunny_sunshine_cloudy_Mina's picture

Hmm

I have no sympathy for men. They have systematical abuse of women. Made us clean houses, raise children and he treated us like property. A lot all men liked this idea very much. Except they didn't know that other higher ups were going to leave them in poverty.

Now it's woman and men in the system. They believe they are superior to us only by years and years of conditioning. Now the lower men are taking the burnt of it... You call them victims?
I have no sympathy for the wicked. Everyone learns by example. Greed and self gain has been the example set by others. They choose not to have responsibility now o' days. If they are good men that except repsonsibilty then I want to help them, but they need to do a lot to show they have changed.

If a someone hurt you all these years and he then says I'm sorry, should you be forgiving? I can understand that you think it would be wonderful to forgive that harm but he didn't deserve that. It is wonderful, really, beautiful even that you want to break this horrible cycle of revenge but its not revenge. It's just. You can forgive them but never, ever say sorry. He doesn't deserve that! You have to be strong when you say who is a victim. They set a trap and got hurt by it, that isn't a victim.

You don't ever apologize to someone who hit you or ever let go of that. I hope I have explained my reasoning. Don't ever, EVER say sorry! Bad people don't deserve it. You are better than them and they must find redemption their own way if they are surely sorry.

If you want to discuss this some more write back. You have a good heart, but you MUST learn to never feel bad for the wicked.

"Fight fire with fire, you'll end up with ashes."
"A charming lady does not follow the crowd, she is herself."

Jennifer Ruwart's picture

Edgy work

This is an edgy piece and I honor you for not only writing it, but posting it, too. If I understand correctly, you are asking us to consider the possibility that violence against women is not just violence against women, but violence against humanity itself. What I hear in your argument is a desire to understand the historical underpinnings that keep us in this never ending cycle of violence. It's scary because if we can't blame men, then who can we blame? Because blaming ourselves is surely not the answer.

I often wonder is violence is inevitable. There is so much in nature and the universe that is violent. Super novas, shooting stars, thunder, tornadoes, etc. Think about it. Birth, although, beautiful, is also a bit violent. When I think of laboring, crowning, and then tearing as Jonah popped out... well that hurt, a lot.

I am not downplaying violence against women, which presents very real, serious, and life-threatening situations. The suffering of women at the hands of men is unacceptable. I am just sharing how your op-ed impacted me.

It reminded me of a new methodology for non-violent communication I recently learned. You can visit the site here:
http://www.cnvc.org/

Nonviolent Communication (NVC) is sometimes referred to as compassionate communication. Its purpose is to:
1. create human connections that empower compassionate giving and receiving
2. create governmental and corporate structures that support compassionate giving and receiving.

Could you imagine if the world adopted NVC? Yowzee.

I look forward to seeing how the conversation about your op-ed evolves. Great job,
Jennifer

Jennifer Ruwart
Chief Collaborator
JR Collaborations

misscarly's picture

Thought provoking!

Hi Xthina,

Indeed, this is an edgy piece -- provocative and bold. I think your willingness to present a controversial idea cuts straight to the essence of what an op-ed is all about: releasing your thoughts, creating an argument, and stimulating debate.

I agree that the cycle of violence has ensnared men as well, but I do wonder why you feel that, in portraying men as victims, you need to say that women are NOT the victims. Or merely 'collateral effects'. I think women are very real 'victims' of historical violence and oppression, but perhaps the focus on women distracts from your main argument, that men should not simply be seen as the oppressors and instigators of violence, but as also caught in the trap that affects women.

I think it's very interesting that you chose to include an image of a titere (marionette doll) with your article. I think this concept that men are forced by political/social/historical systems to play a certain role is interesting. Certainly, men have a great pressure hanging over them and, in many ways, their choices are limited and they have many expectations to live up to. In this sense, they cannot effectively act against the cycle of violence and, in the worst cases, become caught up in it.

This is my interpretation of the enemy that you are referring to, but it is not exactly clear. You seem to refer to several things as the enemy: 'our system', 'culture', and 'violence in general'.

What I like so much about your article is that it puts into question the idea that men are the enemies of women and encourages more understanding and compassion. I think it would help your article to make this a bit more concrete.

To be a complete nerd, I'll ask if you have ever read the work of Judith Butler. Your article made me think about some of her concepts relating to gender. Especially her book 'Bodies that Matter', which talks about how gender is not a fact, but a social construction. A girl becomes a girl through language and action, which occurs after birth. When we give all pink clothes to a girl, put her in ballet class, and give her dolls to play with, she responds accordingly. Of course, the whole nature vs. nurture argument comes in, but Butler convincingly argues that social and historical expectations (the whole surrounding system) is a major factor dictating our ideas of ourselves and the actions we take. To a certain degree, it seems like this is the system you consider the enemy. But do remember that men and women are equally entrenched in it. Though questioning the system, finding new ways to interact such as non-violent communication, I think the rhythm of the cycle is thrown off balance.

Hopefully my stream of thought is helpful to you, I look forward to hearing more from you about this subject!

with kindness,
carly

jap21's picture

Non violent ways

Genderwise, I think men and women DO need a role. As Carly said, some people convincingly take away the need of a role to convince us that gender is only a social construction. But to me it doesn't really matter which gender we want to have, as long as we realize that we need to talk it over inside our families, as families are the most important cell of societies.

If in each family we can reach an agreement about how we are to behave, then there is no victims nor victimizers. The problem lies, then, in stopping what ecologists call 'intra specific competition' which means a change in our survival strategy. It means that we will stop fighting between ourselves for resources in each small cell of society, and this new kind of peace will be irradiated to different levels of the structure of societies. We will stop being victims or victimizers, to become members of the new world arrengement, which will be more supportive than now.

It is easier to say than to do it, because to stop intraspecific competition, we need to understand how deep this change is, and moreover, become aware that our ecosystems in the developing world, cannot support all of us. That is why we have so many problems, because we don't see ourselves as one with nature, one with economy. Hard to shift from individualism and comunism to 'ecologism'.

Wow, too much for one comment! hahahaha. I love you x-thina. I am so happy to be friends with you.

Love,

Jackie

Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva
Tarija - Bolivia
South America
www.jap21.wordpress.com

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