It’s On Us brings needed discussion about masculinity to the table


Courtesy of Alma Baker

St. Edward’s students gather at the It’s On Us Men’s Intiative.

I attended the Mens Initiative hosted by It’s On Us this past Wednesday, and many valid points were brought to my attention. Tackling issues such as the act that we as men put on for other men as well as how we as men have affected women in a broad sense and in our individual lives.

“I don’t see these as women’s issues that some good men help out with. In fact, I’m going to argue that these are men’s issues, first and foremost. Now obviously — Obviously, they’re also women’s issues, so I appreciate that, but calling gender violence a women’s issue is part of the problem, for a number of reasons. The first is that it gives men an excuse not to pay attention, right?” Jackson Katz, founder of Mentors in Violence Prevention said.

This quote by Katz on a Ted Talk, is something that we focused on very much. Why? Because the question does come back to men. Though women do assault men, more often than not it is men assaulting women. It’s men assaulting children. It’s men assaulting other men.

Another member of the group brought up that they looked into the statistics of child abuse and the people to blame are almost entirely men. 

Naturally, the conversation then turned to asking where this violence comes from. Who is causing this? Why is it that domestic violence, assault, rape and murder is an issue for men around the entire world? It doesn’t fall into one community, we don’t all communicate with each other, but it is an issue that exists in America just as much as it might exist in the Philippines or Russia.

The question is so big that focusing on solving things individually would be impossible. More likely than not, this is systematic. Men teach other men to be a “man.” We have all heard this, “Men don’t cry, man up, get over it,” and it leads to a pent up ball of hostile emotions.

Clearly, this mentality is an issue due to the high rates of violence we see in men. Many men never learn to use their words or communicate their emotions, and instead it might translate into assault or, even worse, sexual assault. For some men, the inability to deal with certain emotions or thoughts could even lead to suicide.

Ultimately, the problem does come from men. Sadly, the end result affects others. It affects other men, women or children. Hopefully in time it will decrease, but it won’t unless we do something about it. Ignoring the issue will only let it continue on or even worsen. There is no simple solution.

This will probably continue to be an issue for generations to come, but maybe you can be part of the solution. So maybe stop by at the next It’s On Us meeting because the issue is everywhere. Men need to learn to get out of this macho mentality. Not only that, but they need to know how to hold other men accountable.