Men. Where are our voices? Where are we speaking out? Where are we standing up?
Women and the LGBTQ community have been observing our fatal silence for quite some time now. They have told us gently, quietly, angrily and powerfully. When the metoo movement occurred (thank you, Tarana Burke), we chimed in with our tepid support, our questions, our veiled guilt, our stories of trauma, our resistance, our fragility. When the main, deep-heart tsunami wave of metoo settled, we seemed to go back into the shadows, hiding, not even needing to run away as we were already used to being present, but inert in our privilege while still being caustic in our misogyny lukewarm to freezing cold in our activism against rape (anti-)culture, heterosexism, entitlement and patriarchal violence.
Don’t get me wrong. I see men working at this. Boston locals Martin Henson of B Men and Jonathan Barry are organizing a workshop series in early 2020 to engage men in our causing of harm in our communities. This work will be powerful, is necessary and must be joined. I know of numerous men’s organizations that are dealing with intimacy, power, oppression and emotional maturity in the New England reason. The work behind two Men’s Gatherings have brought them together to get to know each other as individuals and organizations and to support the work of men toward becoming better men. This work needs to be joined.
That said, so much more needs to be done. So much more needs to be learned. So much more needs to be heard. So much more needs to be said. And I am concerned for the dearth, the violent silence of men’s voices speaking up on behalf of women and LGBTQ lives and security. I am concerned for the silence of men around our needs to grow, to deepen to broaden, to become stronger in our vulnerability and insight on our thinking, behaviors and energies.
How many African and indigenous women, other Women of Color have to disappear, be kidnapped, be trafficked, be killed before European/white men speak out and step up on their behalf? How many children need to be groomed and sexually engaged online, predated upon in real time and space by adult men before we as men speak out and step up on their behalf? How many women and girls and other need to be raped and assaulted before men speak out and step up on their behalf? How many more wives and LGBTQ partners have to be the survivors (or not) of men’s domestic violence? How many women who simply say no to men wanted to dance or meet or have sex with them have to be assaulted or killed….yes, killed for saying no?
Reportedly, 5 million women in India recently formed a human chain 385 miles long to protest patriarchal men’s violence in that country. Where was the line of five million men behind them?
Written by Ukumbwa Sauti, M.Ed. facilitator and presenter for Men's Work, an initiative of the World Ancestor Concert Team.
Ukumbwa Sauti, a producer of the World Ancestor Concert, program developer, workshop facilitator and educator, can be reached at mojamediaworks [at] gmail [dot] com or at his personal email, ukumbwa [at] gmail [dot] com. Mention Where Are the Voices of Men in the subject line.