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Women's and Gender Studies
Anissa Talahite- Moodley

CHAPTER 41: The White Ribbon Campaign: Involving Men and Boys in Ending Global Violence against Women The Complex Puzzle of Men's Violence Patriarchal Power: The First 'P' − men's violence against women does not occur in isolation but is linked to men's violence against other men and to the internalization of violence – that is, a man's violence against himself − violence or the threat of violence among men is a mechanism used from childhood to establish that pecking order − one result of this is that men 'internalize' violence – or perhaps, the demands of patriarchal society encourage biological instincts that otherwise might be relatively dormant or more benign − violence has brought enormous benefits to particular groups − first and foremost, violence (or at least the threat of violence) has helped confer on men (as a group) a rich set of privileges and forms of power The Sense of Entitlement or Privilege: The Second 'P' − the individual experience of a man who commits violence may not revolve around his conscious desire to maintain power − his conscious experience is not the key here − rather, as feminist analysis has repeatedly pointed out, such violence is often the logical outcome of his sense of entitlement to certain privileges Remission: The Third 'P' − whatever the complex social and psychological causes of men's violence, it would not continue if it did not receive explicit or tacit permission in social customs, legal codes, law enforcement, and certain religious teachings − in many countries, laws against wife assault or sexual assault are lax or non-existent; in many others laws are barely enforced; in still others they are absurd, such as those countries where a charge of rape can be prosecuted only if there are three male witnesses and where the testimony of the woman is not taken into account − meanwhile, acts of men's violence and violent aggression (in this case, usually against other men) are celebrated in sport and cinema, in literature and warfare − not only is violence permitted, it is glamorized and rewarded The Paradox of Men's Power: The Fourth 'P' − the very ways in which men have constructed their social and individual power is, paradoxically, a source of enormous fear, isolation, and pain for men themselves − if power is constructed as a capacity to dominate and control, if the capacity to act in 'powerful' ways requires the construction of a personal suit of armour and a fearful distance from others, if the very world of power and privilege removes men from the world of child-rearing and nurturance, then we are creating men whose own experience of power is fraught with crippling problems − this is particularly so because the internalized expectations of masculinity are themselves impossible to satisfy or attain − this may well be a problem inherent in patriarchy, but it seems particularly true in an era and in cultures where rigid gender boundaries are being challenged or where there is a fear of challenge and change − whether it is physical or financial accomplishment, or the suppression of a range of human emotions and needs, the imperatives of manhood (as opposed to the simple certainties of biological maleness) seem to require constant vigilance and work, especially for younger men − the personal insecurities conferred by a failure to make the masculine grade, or simply the threat of failure, is enough to propel many men, particularly when they are young, into a vortex of fear, isolation, anger, self-punishment, self-hatred, and aggression − within such an emotional state, violence becomes a compensatory mechanism − it is a way of re-establishing the masculine equilibrium, of asserting to oneself and to others one's masculine credentials − this expression of violence usually includes a choice of a target who is physically weaker or more vulnerable − this may be a child or a woman, or it may be a social group, such as gay men, or a religious or social minority, or immigrants; the victim poses an easy target for the insecurity and rage of individual men, especially since such groups often do not receive adequate protection under the law − what permits violence to become an individual compensatory mechanism has been the widespread acceptance of violence as a means of solving differences and asserting power and c
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