Approaching Sexual Violence in a Patriarchal Culture (Week 10, Part 2)

Sexual violence is not an exclusionary issue. Whether you are affected directly or indirectly, regardless we are all affected by sexual violence. More largely, we are affected by power-based violence. According to Mizzou’s RSVP Center, power-based violence can be defined as: a form of violence that has a primary motivator: assertion of power, control and/or intimidation in order to harm another.

This type of violence exists in some form in every culture and creating a broad approach to combatting it will be the best and most holistic way to combat sexual violence. Wood’s article about “He forced me…” specifcally related to the male struggle to power over their female counterparts in a variety of ways. One of the most basic and visible ways that people can start learn about power-based violence is by opening the gateways to dialogue. For instance, some of the most targeted groups in sub-Saharan Africa are girls who attempt to attend school or advocate for education. Because many cultures submit to values that place women in purely domestic or submissive roles, men’s roles are threatened by the idea of women becoming more powerful. By opening up dialogue that female empowerment actually helps men and families as well can help aid hostility toward women in these cultures.

We additionally see that trying to show men first hand that violence and harassment toward women can be an effective tool to helping them understand what harm that this type of violence and intimidation can cause. The video below shows how a man in Egypt disguised himself as a female to show how men in Egypt treat women .

More largely, the socialization of men should also be discussed. Because men are taught by their peers and older influences to not show compassion, to express themselves as aggressive and hypersexual, it can be clear that essentially from the time they are born, men are bred and trained to express themselves in these traits and until we tell and open dialogue about how men do not need to be placed in gender boxes. The trailer of the documentary below is a preview into how socialization can negatively affect male populations:


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