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Gender Violence as a Men’s Issue
Unfortunately, the issue of gender violence remains on the agenda of the modern global society (Igartua & Fiuza, 2018). Various reasons are listed for the problem to have a huge staying power in the context of the contemporary social environment (Wasarhaley, Lynch, Golding, & Renzetti, 2017). In his speech, Jackson Katz assumes that the framing of the problem is one of the essential roadblocks on the way to managing it successfully (Blyth, Colgan, & Edwards, 2018). Particularly, the shift of the emphasis to women makes it possible for men to alienate themselves from the problem.
As a result, the phenomenon of gender violence is not addressed by all stakeholders involved, which makes it impossible to resolve the issue. Furthermore, the identified stance contributes to the enhancement of victimization and the promotion of stereotypes associated with gender. However, the process of altering the specified viewpoint will require changing a range of social principles based on which behaviors are constructed and interpersonal relationships are built. Therefore, the required change will need a shift in the paradigm of social interactions, as well as the image of women and men in the contemporary society.
Language and Perception of Gender Violence
Being the means of communicating ideas and expressing opinions, language, unfortunately, carries a significant part of biases that serve to the detriment of relationships between the representatives of different genders. For instance, according to Katz, the shift from the use of the Active Voice to the use of the Passive Voice in the sentence that states the relationships between a victim and an offender creates the environment in which men detach themselves from the conflict and, therefore, distance from the discussion of violence in relationships (Merry, 2016). Particularly, the following examples are considered: “John beat Mary” and “Mary was beaten (by John)” (Katz, 2013). Therefore, it can be assumed that there is a direct connection between the linguistic representation of the problem and its further perception by its target audience. However, it seems that the specifics of the English language should not be deemed as one of the factors that inhibit the process of addressing the issue. Instead, it can be viewed as a tool using which people distance themselves from a problem, be it a subconscious or intentional effort.
Institutions and Their Effect on Gender Violence
Unfortunately, a range of institutions allow sustaining the current status quo and reinforcing the effect of the factors that lead to the development of violence in relationships. Particularly, a range of institutions imbues specific genders with a significantly larger amount of power than they do others. For instance, on the intersection of religious and social institutions, the current interpretation of race and interactions between the representatives of different races, etc., a breeding ground for stereotypes is built. As a result, the basis for developing unhealthy and even toxic interactions between the representatives of different genders is created (Herman, 2015). The identified phenomenon triggers an immediate disruption in the concept of gender relationships, therefore, causing the enhancement of stereotypes and prejudices. The identified rift in interactions between representatives of different genders contributes to the enhancement of conflicts and the possibility of gender violence.
Cognitive Structure of Victim-Blaming
As stressed above, the cognitive structure of the current perception of a sexual offence makes one focus on the victim rather than the offender. As a result, of the shift in the observer’s focus, the behavior and choices of the victim are scrutinized and critiqued, as opposed to those of the sexual perpetrator. The specified perspective leads to the promotion of victimization and the suggestion that the victim may have provoked the instance of violence with their behavior, appearance, etc. Thus, audiences dismiss the fact that the actions that involve any kind of violence cannot be justified and deemed as appropriate. The identified line of reasoning leads to the promotion of victim-blaming (Merry, 2016). The effects of victim-blaming are truly devastating. Apart from misrepresenting the problem, it also implies a justification of violence and, possibly, breach of law by assuming that certain types of behavior can be viewed as a reason for an assault. Therefore, the phenomenon of victimization is intrinsically wrong and contrary to the very idea of justice.
Katz’s By-Stander Approach: Description
The bystander approach suggested by Katz is aimed at preventing and addressing the problem of gender violence. Particularly, the suggested approach allows inviting men to join the conversation by describing them as not potential perpetrators but as bystanders. Not only men but also women that have not experienced any form of attack fall under the specified category. As a result, chances for addressing the issue of gender violence are created. The bystander approach helps create the environment in which neither of the parties is labeled in any way; consequently, both participants of the dialogue feel more inclined toward sharing their ideas, experiences, and impressions. The bystander approach helps men recognize the presence of the problem and work toward its resolution. Thus, the bystander approach has potential as the tool for handling the issue of gender violence.
Blyth, C., Colgan, E., & Edwards, K. B. (2018). Rape culture, gender violence, and religion: Christian perspectives. New York, NY: Springer.
Herman, J. L. (2015). Trauma and recovery: The aftermath of violence – From domestic abuse to political terror. London, England: Hachette UK.
Igartua, J. J., & Fiuza, D. (2018). Persuading with narratives against gender violence. Effect of similarity with the protagonist on identification and risk-perception. Palabra Clave, 21(2), 499-523. Web.
Katz, J. (2013, May 29). Jackson Katz: Violence against women – It’s a men’s issue. YouTube. Web.
Merry, S. E. (2016). The seductions of quantification: Measuring human rights, gender violence, and sex trafficking. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Wasarhaley, N. E., Lynch, K. R., Golding, J. M., & Renzetti, C. M. (2017). The impact of gender stereotypes on legal perceptions of lesbian intimate partner violence. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 1(1), 1–24. Web.