Friday, July 24, 2015
Tiptoeing around the elephant in the living room By Elaine Charkowski
"In response to my statement “male violence is the worst problem in the world,” a woman emailed me and wrote: "I do not believe that male violence is the cause of the world's problems, but a symptom of a very sick system that produces violent men and submissive women. If you say that violent men are the problem, then what is the solution short of suppressing or eliminating them?"
So I wrote: Violent men created the "very sick system that produces violent men and submissive women," which is patriarchy. Thus, I stand by my statement that male violence is the worst problem in the world. Furthermore, I trace the source of ALL the “isms” and oppressions to male violence. These include racism, sexism and colonization, both external and internal. Internal colonization is seeing one’s Self through the eyes of the oppressor.
Male violence is also the source of genocide, war, homophobia, nationalism, cruelty to animals, slavery, economic oppression, prostitution, pornography, all sexual slavery, and child abuse.
Male violence includes the plunder of the Earth and all Her resources (animal, vegetable and mineral). It is the systematic murder of the Living World, upon which humanity and all other living beings depend for their existence. Thus, it is the worst of all the forms of male violence.
How can we solve the problem of male violence, the worst problem in the world? Where do we begin? Men control all the power institutions. These include the military, education, technology, law, finance, the global economic system, media and all the male-supremacist organized religions (spiritual backup for men’s earthly atrocities).
I can’t solve the problem of male violence single handedly. However, what I can do is name male violence as the worst problem in the world. This is because naming the oppressors is the first step toward ending their oppression. I will not be discouraged, deflected or distracted.
I hold ALL men responsible for ending male violence. This includes non-violent men because ALL men profit from a world in which male violence exists, especially male violence against women.
As more and more women and men take up the cry and shout from the rooftops that male violence is the worst problem in the world, more and more people can offer their solutions. We can learn from each other and create the synergy necessary to end these millenniums of horror. Hopefully hundreds of millions of women and men will soon be joining this discussion.
Concepts to Consider
Is naming male violence as the worst problem in the world a serious threat to patriarchy, the social structure of violent male power? I believe it is because its linguistic contortions, generalizations, obfuscations, denials and outright LIES are incredibly numerous and varied. If a lie is repeated often enough, it begins to look like the truth. Thus, this endless repetition reveals that male violence must NEVER be named as the worst problem in the world.
Naming male violence would threaten the power of violent men-and also of men in general who benefit from male violence. Any possible evasion must be used to avoid naming male violence as the worst problem in the world!
These include but are not limited to:
"Not all men are violent"
"Women are violent too"
"Women collude with men against women"
"Women profit from male violence"
"It’s gun violence"
"Men also suffer under patriarchy" (notice that men suffer overwhelmingly at the hands of other men)
"Violent society creates violent men"
"What about Margaret Thatcher?"
"Women also oppress women"
"I love the men in my life who are not violent,"
I am a man and I am not violent" etc.
"Patriarchy is the fatal need to rank diversity" - Elizabeth Dodson Gray
The suffering of those who are directly affected by the various types of male violence further clouds the focus specifically on the general societal condition of male violence. Thus, women would say sexism is the worst problem, people of color would say its racism, Jewish people would say its anti-Semitism and so on.
However, the fact is that MEN are the *common denominator* in ALL these abuses! Even when women collude with men, or a member of a dominated race colludes with racists, it still does not change the fact that men are in charge. In the same way, collaborators with the Nazis were not in charge. The Nazis were.
Unjust systems always encourage collaborators. Hence, there have always been, and always will be, collaborators in all the unjust systems MEN created. Collaborators may be privileged under these systems but they do not control them!
What are the sources of our resistance to naming male violence as the worst problem in the world? Are they original thoughts from our own minds or have we internalized the endless propaganda and mind manipulation that patriarchy uses to protect and perpetuate itself? Have we been mentally colonized to avoid naming male violence so we won’t wake up and end more than 6,000 years of male domination?
In the article "What is it About Men That They're Committing These Horrible Massacres?", Meghan Murphy writes,
“‘But what about the men?’ It’s a question that’s been avoided by the mainstream within the context of mass shootings. The recent tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut sparked thousands of conversations across the continent about gun laws, mental illness, and violence. And sadly, we’ve been here before."
She adds, "In the midst of all this horror, we are, understandably, up in arms, demanding change, grieving all the while. But within all this righteous anger, we are very carefully tiptoeing around the common denominator. In 31 of the school shootings that have taken place since 1999, the murderers were ALL men."
Why do both women and men often flinch away from speaking the truth, that male violence is the worst problem in the world? Do women fear that naming male violence will make violent men rape and kill them? They already are. Men are murdering women worldwide, in ever-increasing numbers.
“Going Out of Our Minds-The Metaphysics of Liberation” is a book by Sonia Johnson in which she focuses on male violence against women. In Chapter 10 “Telling the Truth,” Johnson wrote,
“To be female is reason in itself to be in servitude, to be hated, wounded and killed in every country, every culture of the world.”
She adds, "Women's agony at the hands of men must never be revealed. If women steadfastly and courageously began to tell the truth and would not stop, would not be co-opted, would not become afraid, the truth of our enslavement would be undeniable and the jig would be up.”
Are women afraid that the men in their lives will stop loving them if they speak up and name male violence? If these men oppose male violence, they will understand and their love will endure.
Do women fear facing the painful and heartbreaking fact that they live in a world in which so many men hate women and have contempt for them? Isn’t the global epidemic of male violence against women and the multi-billion dollar male-dominated porn industry, in which women are degraded, tortured and even murdered, enough proof of men’s widespread hatred and contempt?
Sonia Johnson wrote about the time her daughter phoned her one night. “She said in an uncharacteristically small voice, an anguished, bewildered, very shaky voice, ‘Mom, why do men hate us so much?’”
Do non-violent men fear that violent men will ridicule, beat and even murder them for betraying the Masculine Brotherhood by opposing male violence? They already are.
The message to non-violent men is that betraying the Brotherhood will get them ridiculed, scorned, beaten and even killed. White men who opposed racist male violence in the US were often beaten or even murdered by violent racist white men.
Too much space has been created for the acceptance of violent men to act out their unlimited depravity (the mass murders of indigenous people, black people, Jewish people, women during the witch burnings, nationalist genocides, “ethnic cleansing” etc.).
However, not enough safe space exists for non-violent men to speak out against male violence.
The message non-violent men got from the murders of Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and other non-violent men is clear to see. Non-violent men get the carrot and the stick. The stick is ridicule, beatings and murder. However, the carrot is male privilege, the loss of which may also silence many non-violent men.
These are reasons for men’s silence but reasons aren’t excuses. Non-violent men must no longer remain silent and avoid naming male violence as the worst problem in the world. Silence is complicity.
Are women and men afraid that we won’t know how to build a new world based on kindness and respect? Are we afraid of taking personal responsibility for creating such a world?
Violent men are already killing the world and everything in it! So, what do we have to lose by NAMING male violence as the worst problem in the world and addressing it?"
By Elaine Charkowski, shared with permission