We recognize, as women, our work is just beginning as we come together to raise consciousness and discuss the significance of gender in violence. The gut-wrenching suffering in the wake of verbal violence (frightening, intimidating words and gestures), domestic violence, child abuse, sexual and physical assault (encompassing rape and murder), neglect, all pornography (on and off the internet), genocide, trafficking, torture (embracing harm to animals), environmental assaults, honor killings, declared and undeclared wars (including gang violence), violent staring, stalking behaviors, and suicide can be prevented!
We know many men never do harm – Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gandhi, to name two. However, we endorse the idea that males are more at risk to become desensitized and numb. Males are more apt to lose the ability to pick up on the cues of the suffering of someone else. Men can more easily shut down and not hear screams for help, see tears, feel anything. Without visceral, heartfelt, tender cues inhibiting human behavior, hostile, delusional thinking of men can cause atrocities. Women, biologically, seem to be more sensitive – are better able to pass on emotional safety. Certain cultural and environmental influences impact genetic expression.
We believe, just as soldiers are desensitized by military establishments and sent to war, we, as women and men, can help sensitize soldiers. We imagine a world without war and violence.
We acknowledge this truth – acts of worldwide violence are predominantly committed by men. How many women, throughout history, have made decisions to go to war, to commit genocide or rape? In the United States, in 2010, expanded homicide data identified offenders as male over 90% of the time, when gender was known. In 2011, arrests for violent crime were attributed to males more than 80% of the time. For the same year, arrests for forcible rape were reported as 98.8% male. The statistics are from the Uniform Crime Reporting Program of the FBI, the United States Department of Justice.
We know our children have no freedom when they are murdered in our schools. We recognize some of our mothers and our fathers have no freedom from profound grief. We strongly endorse the preservation of human life and dignity to be our Number One priority. We understand freedom as our Number Two priority.
Written by the Women of The Empowerment Program Advisory Council, Denver, Colorado