Today is White Ribbon Day, a national day to stop men’s violence against women. There’s a lot of stuff on the telly and lots going on online and it’s making my head spin a bit.
I hope this day isn’t just another day of lip service, and that people are actually taking stock of the statistics and experiences being shared. I hope people can shut up and just listen. Listen and learn. I hope men are checking themselves; how they treat the women in their lives. Your crazy bitch ex or your wayward sister, your bitter aunt, your batty mother.
Because I know a lot of men who think that they are liberal and politically open minded, but the women in their lives suffer greatly. I know a lot of men who talk about human rights but know or care very little about the rights of women and girls. You know, more than half the people on this planet.
The political starts at home.
If you’re out there publishing in the Guardian – or some such publication, making public appearances with the little white ribbon decorating your lapel paying lip service to White Ribbon day yet you think you’re doing a favour when babysitting your own bloody children, you think you can harass women in public because of what they are wearing, you think you can treat a person who works in the sex industry as a lesser being than you, you’re silent – and let’s be clear, silence is enabling – when you know a man is beating his wife/ girlfriend/ children/ step children. When you threaten and intimidate to make a point. You think you have rights to someones body, you have sex with your partner in a way you know they find painful/ humiliating but you think that your pleasure overrides theirs. When you use children as pawns. When you think being pissed is a valid reason. When you have no insight into your own behaviour – then it all means nothing.
So by all means, wear your white ribbon – but check yourself. How are you really treating the women in your life?