Really? Is it just about the violence? Is it that simple? We end the violence against women and, presto!, it’ll be over?
Really? Is it just about the violence when we criticise our girls for being aggressive or docile, cunning or naive, outspoken or silent, active or lazy, outgoing or reserved?
Is it violence when our girls have to be responsible from a young age and our boys are left to ‘be boys’?
Is it violence when our girls are rented out for favours to grown men?
Is it the violence when men are allowed to have affairs because – well, you know men – but if a woman even so much as looks at another man, well, the unkind names pour out?
Is it violence when a man will be hired or promoted with fewer qualifications than the woman who has had more experience and qualifications?
Is it violence when a woman’s contribution in a meeting has to be mansplained before it’s accepted?
Is it violence when our girls are spoken to any way we choose, but we have to mind our manners around our men?
Is it violence when girls have to mind how they dress and our boys don’t?
Folks, let’s not kid ourselves. It isn’t just about the violence…it’s about the value that we place on a life and the behaviours, mindsets and cultures that we breed to ensure the value of each and every life.
Ending the violence is not the cure, for the violence is just the ‘presenting problem’. The violence is just the opening that we see to a deeper wound. No, I want to challenge us to focus on more than the violence. The violence is the distraction because the real offence are the biases that we breed, the preferential treatment that we condone, the silence that we keep and the blind eyes that we turn to the mistreatment, to the unwelcome words and to the dysfunctional mindsets.
What it is is a love deficit. It’s a deficit that results in some being valued more than others. It’s a deficit that causes us to justify the difference in treatment. It’s a deficit that explains why I settle for less. It’s a deficit that explains why I self-diminish. It’s a deficit that causes me to self-deprecate. It’s a deficit that cause me to push others down till they are so low that I can stand on them. It’s a deficit that effaces value. It’s a deficit that makes me incapable of even knowing the difference.
Folks, let’s change our narrative because it’s NOT just about the violence. Because when we remove the violence and have nothing with which to replace it, I fear we end up with even worse than we started?
Let me close by asking…again…is it really JUST about the violence?