White House 1 is 2 Many Campaign Misses the Mark

Posted on June 26, 2012 by


Start by watching the video.

I want to love this video. I want to love it because it’s a campaign against domestic violence that targets men. And we can’t truly address the problem of domestic violence without men.

Men are half of our population. Men are brothers, sisters, friends, lovers, husbands, and fathers of women who are abused. Men are also the majority of abusers.

Domestic violence campaigns that talk directly to men are important; such efforts have not been supported enough over the years.

But there’s something wrong with this video.

It assumes the kind of paternalistic stance that really bothers me. Biden says, “The worst abuse of power is when a man raises his hand to hit a woman.”

Really? The worst abuse of power? How about when governments commit genocide? Or when adults murder children? Now, I don’t want to be in the business of ranking crimes – all victims deserve acknowledgement and respect. But I do think that framing intimate partner violence in this manner is just a call to “save the women” that is ultimately disempowering.

He goes on to say, “If you see someone threatening a woman, step up, speak out, and get help.” And that’s not quite right either. Again, it’s a plea to protect women from other men, rather than the action we really need: men to stop hurting women themselves.

I want to love this video — I just can’t.

The website is better.


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