There are two ways of exerting one’s strength:
One is pushing down,
The other is pulling up.
Booker T. Washington
Usually I will post here, specifically directing my words to men, as most of what is posted here is focused on men becoming more, on working on themselves, not to impress women, but to better themselves. I have mentioned how this is a path they must walk by themselves as they take accountability for their own actions and development.
We understand how men need to be allies to women’s fight for gender equality and social justice. We see the importance of men becoming allies and taking up an active participation on women’s issues in campaigns such as #HeForShe and Man Up. We are aware of the awful statistics of what women have to deal with and have learned how men can challenge a sexist culture by simply standing up against what’s expected from them as guys.
But now, I am asking for your help as women.
All too often, society doesn’t see the flip side of the coin, as it assumes that men’s issues are reduced to men whining about not getting a date or, at best, men having unrealistic expectations placed on them due to gender stereotypes. The reality is a lot more palpable than just fighting social expectations and it’s a reality that’s killing us; sometimes metaphorically while other times literally.
Did you know that 1 in 4 men are victims of domestic violence? Did you know that 1 in 6 men are victims of sexual abuse since they are boys? Did you know that even though society admits men and women are equally capable as parents, after a divorce only 14% of men gain primary custody? And those without it, did you know they are usually only allowed to see their kids every other weekend. That’s only 4 days a month for those mathematically challenged.
Did you know that there are very few support groups and even less resources available to create awareness to issues like these or help men deal? The funny thing is that when they exist, these are under constant attack and ridicule by those unwilling to recognize the reality of many men. If you knew all of this, then it probably doesn’t surprise you that, even though suicide rates have gone down, in the case of men between the ages of 40-55, they have actually gone up. This has become such an issue that currently 80% of all suicides are committed by men.
Society as a whole is killing us and then it blames us for it.
And this is why I’m asking for your help. Men are told to look for help, but when they actually stretch out their hand looking for a life line; it’s slapped away by both other men and women who refuse to see the problem. Gender issues and challenges are treated as an open war between the sexes where each group plays up their own challenges, expecting empathy and help, while dismissing what others go through.
We need to stop viewing the world as two different worlds, but at a single world where we have both been responsible for the good and bad each gender goes through. Just as it’s important for men to become allies to women, it’s also important for women to become allies to men. For that reason, I ask for your help.
Men can’t change the world alone just as women can’t either.