In Lauren‘s excellent post on why rape is a men’s issue she highlights this quote from Derrick Jensen in his book “The Culture of Make Believe”:
She believes that violence against women will stop – and presumably the same is true for violence against blacks, Jews, children, homosexuals, or other targeted classes – only when other men refuse to socially reward those who are violent. “Women can’t do it by ourselves. If a man hits his girlfriend, the man’s friends need to stop playing basketball with him, and they need to tell him why. They need to confront him about it, and they need to socially isolate the men who have shown themselves incapable of mature relationships. And they need to do it every time. The bottom line is that members of the class of people who are doing the violence – in this case, men – need to take responsibility for the violence done by their class, and they need to work to stop it. Until that happens, not very much will change.”
Powerful words. Go read the whole thing.
I whole-heartedly agree that men’s disapproval is necessary to stop the violence from that subset of men who feel they have the right to treat other classes of people as though they are “beneath me.” I wish I could do something about it myself, but I don’t know of any men in my circle of acquaintance that behave that way.
On the other hand, I’m not sure that the “Free Kobe” T-shirt episode is the best example of this. Seems to me that the kid wearing the shirt suffers from the same mistake that Lauren and her boyfriend suffer from: they all assume they know what happened in the Kobe Bryant case, when they, in fact, don’t know what happened. The kid is certainly suffering from some of that “arrogant machismo” Lauren writes about, but it also seems that she has decided that Kobe is guilty of the crime he’s been accused of, when that question is still unresolved.
I’ll agree that the whole Kobe case is a mess, and that his accuser is suffering a lot because of her accusations. Kobe is suffering from them, too, and we don’t know yet which one should be suffering and which one is being unjustly painted with that tar brush (although Bryant’s a scumbag either way, due to his adultery. But adultery is a far cry from rape.).
By the way, I disagree a bit with Lauren’s proposed solution to “the guy who beats his wife/girlfriend” scenario. If the guy is just an acquaintance, then I can go along with ostracism. If he’s a friend, though, he needs my help. I expect that I would take a more active role in his rehabilitation than just not playing basketball with him anymore.
I think part of the problem is that we tend to gravitate to similar people (birds of a feather, as it were). I don’t behave that way, so I don’t hang out with guys who behave that way, so I don’t have much influence in stemming the violence.