My Commitment As A Man, For Women

Every year, on November 25th, which is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, The 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign is launched. Every year, it runs for 16 days until December 10th, which is the global Human Rights Day, as per the United Nations.

As we come to the end of 16 Days of Activism Against Women and Children in 2017, I am still questioning myself and what I can do, as a man. Over the years, I have written poems and other thoughts around the scourge of women abuse. I’m not sure what is enough. I’m not sure that it has an impact. I do make the commitment to keep trying.

I think it is time we all took some responsibility, as men.

I think it is time we acknowledged that we are all, one way or another, complicit

I think it is time we held ourselves and other men accountable.

It is not something we can fix overnight. A lot of it stems from our attitudes. A lot of it stems from how we have been taught to be men. But we can’t keep making excuses.

We have to be honest with ourselves. Below are some of my thoughts as well as a new poem I wrote.

For Women, My Commitment

 

The For Women platform from 1st For Women is one “that consolidates women abuse fighting efforts in one place. Featuring public, private and non-profit organisations, who have vowed to fight women abuse, it enables survivors to find the right help, quickly. It also empowers South Africans and corporate South Africa to take a stand and easily connect with organisations needing help.”

We need to ensure that we fight this daily, as opposed to for 16 days, once a year.

Mankind’s Shame

i am a man

though where once i dreamt of saying these words with pride

now they feel a little hollow

where once it felt like a right of passage

a journey from the frivilousness of boyhood into the responsibility of manhood,

i no longer know exactly what that means, manhood

where once i looked upon the examples of those three letters around me

and was hopeful, eagerly anticipating my taking up the mantle that they so wonderfully carried

now, i look at my reflection with a shame that cannot be rubbed off as easily as the blood on lady macbeth’s hands

 

i am a man

an imperfect man, like we all are,

i have not always been the best that i can be

and have birthed heartache and pain to those close to me

through my actions

yet i had always felt that, through my journey, and my growing into those three letters,

i was becoming a man, in the truest sense of the word,

but, now, when i look at the manifestations of those four words – i am a man

i am left with doubt, and shame

 

the evil that men do, in the name of being men,

wrecks havoc on the souls of women

 

the evil that men do, in the name of being men,

is a battering ram that relentlessly hammers the body of women

 

the evil that men do, in the name of being men,

brutally carves pieces out of the hearts of women

 

the evil that men do, in the name of being men

makes accomplices of us all who stand aside and watch

we are each complicit, guilty, responsible

because of our inaction

because of our carelessness

because of our silence

 

the question is

how long shall we stand aside

how long shall we be silent

in the face of the cruetly and brutality of men

we claim do not operate in our name?

 

we cannot wish or wash this away

and we cannot expect those who are our victims to fix this

 

this is on us.

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