Men, misogyny and domestic violence

It is ultimately up to men to finish the fight for gender equality in a male-dominated world.

Luis Ruuska

You’ve probably heard some of the following statistics before: Every nine seconds in the United States, a woman is assaulted or beaten; women get paid 77 cents for every dollar a man makes; and women make up nearly 51 percent of the population but hold just 16 percent of the seats in Congress.

These statistics not only paint a dismal portrait of the state of women in our society, but they also highlight what relatively little progress our society has made in changing our perception and treatment of women.

So why has progress been slow? It may be because the fight for women’s rights has historically been an uphill battle led by women.

If you need proof of this, recall your years in American history class. Try to think of a famous male feminist leader whose name was in a textbook. If you can’t, it’s probably because there were hardly any, if any at all.

Women continue to face inequality and oppression because they have too few male allies. In order for this disturbing trend to reverse itself, men need to start speaking up.

Women have fought and continue to fight the good fight for gender equality across the globe. I am not denying or diminishing their efforts. With that said, it is up to men to change the way male-dominated culture perceives and treats women. It is up to us to act as allies instead of as passive observers.

We need to stand up and say the statistically proven rape culture within some fraternities nationwide is unacceptable.

However, violence against women is not just a problematic stereotype in Greek life; it pervades college culture. We need to hold administrations accountable when they fail to take action. For example, the University of Connecticut recently let an assailant back on campus without warning the victim — police allegedly told the victim that women “need to stop spreading their legs.”

Lastly, we need to stand up and say that it’s never acceptable to perpetrate violence against women in or outside of the home. Minnesota alone averages one domestic violence death a week. This is an unacceptable statistic.

Men have an obligation to make changes in regard to promoting gender equality because we have the ability to — so what’s stopping us?