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February 27, 2013 / Man in the Mirror

May Be Me Webinar: Gender, Roles and Violence

Wednesday, February 27 2013

It was my first time attending a webinar hosted by Metrac and I learnt of a lot resources and ideas that would be quite useful to those who work in preventing abuse against women and children.

The idea of men and women being from opposite genders is one that can be seen in products, advertisements and TV shows. It serves to put each gender in a box, with defined behavioural characteristics and limits each gender to them. It encourages the idea that there cannot be a common ground for both genders to interact on. This serves into encouraging behaviour where each gender has to change themselves in order to connect with the opposite gender. This is a very detrimental notion to a harmonious society.
This gender box starts at a very young age with the type of toys that are assigned. Boys play with guns, video games, trains and cars while girls are given vacuums, dolls, vanity sets. This sort of gender stereotyping can promote violence in the adult years because it is “based on the way men view themselves as men, and the way they view women”. (UN) A child’s earliest exposure to what it means to be a particular gender comes from their parents. Parent’s should assign chores in the household based on gender but instead on age.
Signs that a person is dating an abusive partner:
  • Avoids friends, family, and school activities
  • Makes excuses for a partner’s behaviour
  • Looks uncomfortable or fearful around a partner
  • Loses interest in favourite activities
  • Gets bad grades
  • Unexplained injuries, like bruises or scrathes 

In a healthy relationship, people:

  • Communicate with respect and care
  • Are honest and open
  • Respect partner’s spiritual beliefs and faith
  • Are glad their partner has friends and family
  • Respect their partner’s body and space
  • Respect their partner’s finances
  • Take care of each other
  • Speak well of each other

Signs a person is being abusive to their partner:

  • Jealously and possessiveness
  • Blaming other people for anything that goes wrong
  • Damaging or ruining a partner’s things (interesting to note here that the first thing that an abuser tries to damage is the cell phone of the abused because it is the latter’s only tool to the outside world)
  • Wanting to control someone else’s decisions
  • Constantly texting or calling a partner
  • Posting embarrassing information about a partner on the internet or social media sites like Facebook (including sexual information or pictures)

Teach and model great conflict and negotiation skills:

  • Assertiveness, not aggressiveness
  • Fair fighting
  • Anger control
  • Problem-solving
  • Negotiation

Tips: especially for men:

  • Develop a healthy work-life balance
  • Accept your role as a man in promoting gender equality
  • Listen to women…learn from women
  • Challenge sexism, homophobia, and degrading language
  • Be a good role model
  • Teach good boundaries
  • Help young people learn what consent means
  • Share your own learning moments
  • Speak of the men and women that made a different in your life
  • Speak out about violence against women and other injustices
  • Share equally in family responsibilities
  • Align yourself with allies
  • You may not have all the answers

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