Ep 196: What Men Need to Do to End Violence Against Others

Are jail time and new laws the only answers to men’s violence against women, children, and other men? Or is there something every man can do to end these tragedies? In an earlier episode of The Psych Files in which I discussed Blaming the Victim, I talked about why there’s a tendency to blame victims and to overlook the Optimism Bias that we all share (particularly younger folks). But podcast listener and psychotherapist Jackie Henry felt that I didn’t go far enough in that episode, and she was right. We – especially men – need to think carefully about the way we talk about women in our everyday lives. Was that joke really funny? Or was it one of the small ingredients that eventually adds up to – or contributes to – the ongoing violence and lack of empathy that those with power express toward those without it. We take up this important issue in this episode of The Psych files.

We say to ourselves, ‘What can I do? I’m only one person. How can we change the system?’ I think you move through that and you realize that there are small things you can do. Once we work on the individual level eventually that’s how bigger things change – Jackie Henry

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Comments

  1. Rachel says

    The thing about the dominant power group I've learned is that there is a luxury they have that they don't realize… they don't *have* to know about the minority groups in order to function. However, the reverse isn't true. When you are in the minority power group, you are constantly aware of the dominant power group. You have to learn code switching between the groups as pressure builds to fit in, to not be stereotyped, to represent your group (because the dominant power group inevitably thinks you represent everyone of your affiliation)

    This episode reminds me of that as it talks exclusively of the "other" rather than being part of that group. When you hear a comment that is against your group, I don't think you would so easily just sit there uncomfortably and say nothing. You have a luxury that the people from that group cannot afford. And it's SO, so easy to forget that. To think of only yourself. To not feel offended. To want self-preservation.

    But if a person of that designation was in the room and said something to defend that group, wouldn't you feel worse to let that person go on and on? If that person is your friend, would you say nothing? I realize that Standard American Middle Class White English encourages individualism, but isn't there a time to also stand up and talk?

    Personally, if that person is speaking ill of any group without knowing them and takes a light correction as offensive, I don't want to associate with them. Because I know that while I enjoy the luxury of being heterosexual, I don't want to show my friends who are black, gay, etc if they were there that I would tolerate it. I don't want to make that distinction. Getting angry about such things isn't a bad thing.

    I've also seen people who marched on rallies, been proud of their civil rights heritage, sit silent when someone is making racist remarks and try to silence me when I try to gently correct them. The difference is that I never want to be ashamed do my actions and say that I cannot do anything on a small scale. If you can do it large scale, you can do it small scale.

    I was at the butt end of bullying and the adults in my life said how helpless they were. That they could do nothing. That they were powerless because kids are just like that. I didn't believe them, so when I saw it start, I stopped it and it worked. I only did a few small things, and it worked (I nipped it early and realized it). The class became better behaved and the student being slowly isolated was reintegrated. The top bully, I talked to their parents and figured it out. I used, ironically, somewhat of a Japanese approach towards school.

    Perhaps it is that hands off approach so loved by the American public that causes those problems. Maybe it is the luxury of the dominant power group to be *not* personally insulted that makes it possible. Because from my end–where I belong to a bunch of minority power groups, I don't have that luxury. And maybe that's what people should remember the next time they see something they don't personally like play in front of them. Golden Rule: If you were of that group, would you say something?

    And remember, whatever you're hearing, it's probably a dumbed down version of what your friend would hear in private–I've tested this and it always, always, pans out.

  2. Lorelai G. says

    …But men are part of the group that needs protection and women are part of the group that needs to "check bias at the door" so to speak. So maybe it should read, "What we all can do as people to not make other people feel ostracized and contribute to the subjugation and abuse of other people." Also, women aren't raped because of jokes.

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