On my way to work today, I saw a new huge billboard. In bold, solid letters it said, “Real Men Don’t Hit Women.”
I hate this form of public condemnation. It is completely based on shame and humiliation. Does anyone honestly think the way to reach men who hit women is to humiliate them and challenge their manhood? Perhaps thus is the reason they are abusers in the first place. If you admit to hitting a woman you are admitting to not being a real man, driving you into even more shame. It only leads to the perpetuation of a shame/abuse cycle. I feel ashamed, I deal with that shame through abuse, I feel ashamed again, I abuse to deal with it, etc. There’s little way out. MY OPINION is that for many abusers, there is a strong sense of shame, but the abuser has not learned how to handle shame, except to take it out on those around them.
Men who hit women are responsible for their actions. It is wrong. My point is shame and humiliation is the worst response. Where is the offer of help in this? Where is the grace in this for the ashamed, emotionally unstable abuser? My belief is that an abuser can’t change without a show of compassion, and you CAN extend compassion with accountability and responsibility.
Oh, and don’t you ever forget, “REAL men love Jesus.” Ugh…give me a break!
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