In the last three years, we have seen a slew of reports of sexual violence and how it manifests across different industries, sectors, societies, classes, and cultures. The complex challenges about which women’s rights advocates have been raising awareness have come full circle and have reached a tipping point where society can no longer deny the ongoing violation of women’s human rights.
"What was once seen only as a woman’s issue is now becoming a societal issue and a men’s issue."
At last, we are seeing the slow but clear momentum of a number of men in various positions and leadership roles, as well organizations dedicated uniquely to addressing toxic masculinity. These organizations include ReThink, The Date Safe Project, MenEngage, and Promundo. What was once seen only as a woman’s issue is now becoming a societal issue and a men’s issue, just as Jason Katz addressed in his TEDx Talk. Men are coming to the forefront, not as allies for women, but as men demanding better behavior from themselves and other males. They are no longer standing on the sidelines while other men continue to perpetuate acts that do not reflect their full dignity as men. I could be overly optimistic or simplistic about the ongoing conversation of sexual assault taking place at the highest level of leadership in American society as a sign of what is to come. These are changes of the time.
"...engaged adolescent boys across different cultures and societies are standing and calling for better, more positive expressions of masculinity."
While I am inclined to being overly optimistic, I have seen the work and have engaged with adolescent boys across different cultures and societies to know that they are standing for better, more positive expressions of masculinity. I have so much hope because young people are demanding new expressions of their humanity. If you have any reservations about my prediction, check out the work of ReThink, Plan International Champions of Change, The Date Safe Project, or Promundo (to name just a few). The parallel men’s movement is about to take off. We in the women’s movement continue to do our part, and we are glad that men are finally stepping up to do theirs and to own and be responsible for their own actions and that of the male group. The parallel men's movement to complement the women's movement has begun. The road to gender equity is clearer than ever.