What Men Can Do To Create A Safer Environment For Women
She Was Just Going For A Run
Her name is Ashling Murphy. On the 12th of January 2022, Ashling, a 23-year-old primary school teacher was brutally attacked and murdered at 4pm in broad daylight as she went for a run.
She is not the first and she will not be the last to lose her life as a result of male violence against women.
It’s Time To Change The Narrative
There can be no change without men’s involvement. It is no longer okay to put the responsibility on women to protect themselves. The key to change is active male allyship to create a safer environment for women.
Here’s what MEN can do…
1. Zero Tolerance
When you hear your male friends making sexist or derogatory comments or jokes.
Call them out on it. Tell them it is not okay.
It may feel easier to laugh it off, but if we want to put an end to male violence against women, we must start at the root of the problem.
2. Be An Active Bystander
Being an active bystander means being aware of when someone’s behaviour is inappropriate or threatening and choosing to challenge it. If something doesn’t feel right, keep an eye on the person, the situation could deteriorate.
This doesn’t mean you have to stand up to the offender on your own. You can pretend you know the victim and give them a reason to leave the situation or you can approach as a group. If things get really dangerous, call the police.
3. Educate Yourself
It’s time for men to educate themselves on how you can approach women in a non-threatening way.
- If there is a woman walking in front of you on her own, cross the road so they don’t feel like you’re following them.
- Give them space. Either overtake them or fall back.
- Try to keep your face uncovered.
- Ensure you are heard coming from a distance to prevent startling a woman by giving your throat a little clear.
4. Rethink Masculinity
Some men are taught from a young age that a “true” man is someone who is tough or unemotional. But have you ever questioned this?
Make use of resources that encourage you and other men to rethink what masculinity actually is. Whether you are a man or a woman, protecting one another is important and can reduce the horrific statistics of male violence against women. It is also important to raise your sons with the right behaviour and attitude towards women.
Look back on your own actions and words.
It’s important to realise and understand how you have played a role in perpetuating a society which is unsafe for women.
Whether it is through your own words, your actions or even your inactions.
Challenge yourself and do better.
So What Can Men Do?
- Don’t tolerate any form of sexist remarks, catcalling or non-consensual contact. Call them out.
- Be an active bystander, challenge inappropriate or threatening behaviour which may make a woman feel uncomfortable or unsafe.
- Educate yourself on how you can make women feel safer in our society.
- Rethink masculinity.
- Reflect on your own actions and challenge yourself to do better.