What will it take to end violence against women and girls?

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What will it take to end violence against women and girls?

By Allison Dearing
Campus Coordinator, Crisis Center’s Rape Response Program
Submitted by the YWCA Central Alabama

Allison Dearing
Allison Dearing

In the age of tweeting and information-at-my-fingertips, I have to admit: I still love a good bumper sticker. Recently, sitting in my car at a red light, bumper stickers on two separate cars caught my attention. To my left, the sticker asked, “Got Hope?” The sticker on the car in front of me simply stated, “May Peace Prevail on Earth.” It struck me, sitting there waiting for the light to change… do I really have hope that peace will ever prevail?

I’ve spent the last decade advocating for victims of domestic abuse, all the while juggling life as a mother to two boys. In my work, I’ve spent a lot of time with women. Lately, I’m wondering if I haven’t spent enough time considering the responsibility—and opportunity—of raising men.

Men who will extend respect to any man or woman.

Men who will assume responsibility for and manage their own thoughts and actions.

Men who won’t define their manhood in terms of power and privilege.

I can’t say I know what it will take to end violence against women and girls, but I do know that hope happens when we believe in ourselves. And changing the world—ending violence against women and girls—begins with you and me. We display that hope in the everyday interactions with our partners; and in the way we openly question cultural stereotypes; and even in the “simple” conversations we have with our kids and their friends.

Gloria Steinem taught us, “The art of behaving effectively is behaving as if everything we do matters—because we can’t know what will change the future.” So for me, today, tomorrow and the day after, I’m committing to behaving as though everything matters. And maybe, soon enough, my sons will too.

I’m spending time with my boys… raising men who believe they can change the world.

Got hope?

Allison Dearing is Campus Coordinator with the Crisis Center’s Rape Response Program. She works with colleges and universities seeking to utilize best practices when responding to cases of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking on campus. Allison graduated from Samford University and Cumberland School of Law. She is the mother of two spirited, elementary-age sons.

YWCA Week Without ViolenceThis post is part of the YWCA Week Without Violence™ 2013 Blog Carnival. We invite you to join the dialogue! Post your comment below, share your story and follow the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #ywcaWWV.

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