I have to admit: When I imagine an activist fighting to make violence against women a thing of the past, a man from Texas is not who immediately comes to mind.
But in response to a growing number of cases of domestic violence in his city, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings has called on his male constituents to take responsibility for what is typically viewed as a women’s issue. By elevating an important conversation and taking a definitive stance on violence against women, Rawlings is setting a great example for leaders around the country.
At a recent press conference, Rawlings said, “We want to make it known that any violent act toward a woman will not be tolerated by the men in the city … in the past this has been viewed as a women’s issue, but it ain’t. It’s our problem.”
It’s refreshing to see a male public official using his position to call attention to our society’s frustrating tendency to shift blame (and possible solution) from the perpetrators to the victims.
To that end, Rawlings has organized a rally for his new “Men
Against Abuse” campaign, whose goal is to remove the aura of cultural acceptance around domestic violence. Rawlings expects at least 10,000 men to attend the rally in March.
I applaud Rawlings, and hope more men in positions of power will follow his example. Simply acknowledging that the problem of violence against women is not caused by women, but by men living in a society that tells them it’s OK to act aggressively toward others is a long-overdue step in the right direction.