Full Text of Violence Against Women — It’s a Men’s Issue by Jackson Katz at TEDxFiDiWomen conference.
Listen to the MP3 Audio here: MP3 – Violence against women—it’s a men’s issue_ Jackson Katz at TEDxFiDiWomen
Before I begin my presentation I want to say it’s a great honor for me to be part of a program with so many impressive women. I also want to say and thank you to the organizers to invite me to be part of this. It’s important that I say and that men say when we do the work that we do, especially in the field of gender violence prevention that I’m going to talk with you about this morning. It’s important that we acknowledge that the growing movement of men in the United States in a multicultural sense and all around the world in an international sense, the growing movement of men who are standing up and speaking out about men’s violence against women, and going into parts of male culture that have historically been either apathetic about or openly hostile to women’s efforts to engage them, that movement of men is indebted to the leadership of women on a personal level, on a professional level, on a political level, on an intellectual level, on every level — women built these movements and these are movements that are affecting in a positive way everybody. Not just women and girls but also men and boys. And often times men like myself get a lot of credit and public acclaim for doing the work that women have been doing for a long time. So one of the ways that we can use the spotlight is to thank women and honor women’s leadership, going forward today, tomorrow, and into the future.
Having said that, I’m going to share with you a paradigm shifting perspective on the issues of gender violence – sexual assault, domestic violence, relationship abuse, sexual harassment, sexual abuse of children, that whole range of issues that I’ll refer to in short hand as gender violence issues. They have been seen as women’s issues that some good men help out with. But I have a problem with that frame and I don’t accept it. I don’t see these as women’s issues that some good men help out with. In fact, I’m going to argue that these are men’s issues, first and foremost.
Now obviously, they are also women’s issues, so I appreciate that, but calling gender violence a women’s issue is part of the problem for a number of reasons. The first is, it gives men an excuse not to pay attention, right? A lot of men hear the term ‘women’s issues’ and we tend to tune it out, and we think “Hey, I’m a guy, that’s for the girls, that’s for the women.” And a lot of men literally don’t get beyond the first sentence as a result. It’s almost like a chip in our brain is activated, and the neural pathways take our attention in a different direction when we hear the term women’s issues. This is also true by the way of the word gender because a lot of people hear the word gender and they think it means women. So they think gender issues is synonymous with women’s issues.