The dark side of men

Published by rudy Date posted on February 23, 2009

“You will know what you love by the things that you hate”.

By coincidence or by divine design, I seem to have heard about Domestic Violence so much in the past two weeks that I simply could not ignore the “topic”. I believe that such things happen for a purpose so I now find myself seriously reflecting on the problem.

Last week, I was invited to be a panelist tomorrow when AVON launches a major campaign that will help address the problem of “Domestic Violence”. According to the organizers, tomorrow’s event will take the form of a “town hall meet” where panelists will interact and share information and opinions concerning the problem of Domestic Violence. From there, Non-Government Organizations or NGOs will be invited to submit proposals or concepts that may be in line with the AVON corporate social agenda.

 Needless to say, I once again started to shake the bushes when I shared my views and opinion on the matter. To begin with, I admire the leaders of AVON for involving themselves with the serious problem of Domestic Violence. Their decision to do so is a clear departure from the stereo-typical image of being all about beauty and profit.

Confronting the issue of Domestic Violence places AVON in the new league of corporations that chooses to be involved in the real life issues as well as a way of telling their consumers, that the company knows and cares.

And now my opinion…

Domestic Violence is more widespread in the Philippines than we would care to admit. Unfortunately many of the “successful” programs launched regarding Domestic Violence are generally “Band-aid” solutions that add to the denial or avoidance of the real problem.

Because of our collective desperation, panic or corporate approach to addressing another social calamity, we devise short term – short cut solutions that are quick and instant. In short every thing that has been done about this serious problem is to help the victims get out of their hell, one person at a time while the people doing the damage are generally avoided, or allowed to continue with their destructive behavior without solution or resolution. Our real problem is the perpetuator not just their victims.

In real life we go after extortionists, thieves, rapists, killers etc. The law, Government and society focus on putting a stop to the crime, accosting, arresting, or incarcerating the criminal. Because the damage they cause can be severe, the logic is to contain them and not their victims. So why is all the work focused on the victims and hardly any on the perpetuators?

I salute the people and organizations that sacrificially give their time and money to establish crisis intervention programs, victim assistance and empowerment, as well as the multi-million dollar facilities that serve as recovery and refuge facilities.

Unfortunately, it’s only a matter of time before we ask; are we solving the problem? Every major police station has a rape desk, a child abuse desk, and a domestic violence desk. If shelters are solutions in the eyes of some, for others they are also “monuments” to the fact that Domestic Violence exists and has not been solved within the community. They are grim reminders that we have not licked the problem.

Our collective mistake is we really are embarrassed or in fear of intruding on what we mistakenly call a private or family matter. But any lawyer or Judge who decides to make a case can tell us that “knowledge of and failure to report a crime” becomes a crime upon itself. Legally and biblically, we have no excuse to excuse ourselves from being involved and acting on the crime. But I can’t blame most of you.

Most of our law enforcers are guilty of the same reluctance if not indifference to “Domestic matters”. Actually, judging from Reality TV and real-life comments of Police Officers In Europe, the US and Australia, cops dread domestic disputes the most because when they intervene they are the initial heroes. But the minute the scene gets ugly or an arrest has to be made, blood often becomes thicker than water and the cops instantly become the villains.

We need men to deal with men…

One fatal flow of any solution to Domestic Violence is a solution that does not appreciate the importance of Men and exclude men from being a vital part of the solution. Domestic Violence among men is a behavior modeled by other men. It is an action or reaction relative to expectations, frustrations and pressure that are foundationally “about being a man”.

Problematic men need to hear the correct messaging from the right men. Men need to see and hear the right men talk about truth not guilt. Hope not failure. Wisdom not frustration but they need to hear it in a language they can understand and believe. Being the “ideal man” needs to be redefined by women and not dictated upon women. We must identify our ideals, promote our ideal and most importantly reward those who strive to achieve those ideals. We must not only require, we must reward.

Solutions are sometimes problems unto them selves…

There has long been an association between Alcohol and Domestic Violence but little has been done to campaign against cheap alcohol and unusually easy access to alcohol even by minor, little has been done to campaign against the twisted images that a good time can be had from alcohol and the sight of a half naked woman who would rather puke than drink the poison they endorse. Hardly no one campaigns for barangays to prohibit drinking in public the way our modern day Kanto Boys do.

We can go on and on about the factors that contribute to Domestic Violence but at the end of the day, it does not stop unless we recognize, we assist, we empower and love those who have hurt us. We need to help the fathers, the husbands, the brothers or our sons. Only in doing so will they know how to truly love our mothers, their wives, their sisters and their daughters.- Cito Beltran, Philippine Star

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