I’ve always found myself in the company of women, strong women, smart women, successful women. Women have been the cause of some of the greatest lessons I’ve ever learned. They have been a huge influence on my character, beliefs and values. Women are some of my best and longest friends.
I owe women a lot. After all, I wouldn’t be the man I am today without the women in my life.
In saying all that, it hasn’t always been peachy. They have been the cause of my greatest loves, and debilitating heartbreaks. I’ve been cheated on, ghosted, lied to, teased, manipulated, taken advantage of, used, bullied, degraded. In fact my most hurtful and traumatic experiences have come from women.
I guess I’ve been lucky though. Sure, I’ve let some challenging women into my life over the years, but I’ve also had the privilege of meeting and letting in considerably more amazing women. Women that I would defend, fight for, love, encourage, support, and drop everything for. Honestly, words don’t do these women justice.
I admire women, I respect women, I love women, I see them as equals in every way, and I thank them for all they do and everything they are.
White Ribbon Day’s message is about men being role models for other men, and to stand up against violence towards women. All women deserve the right to feel safe walking down the street, in the work place, at the gym, out clubbing, on the beach, and in their own homes.
Sadly, too many of the women I’ve met over the years, have been the victims of abuse, violence, rape, threats, assaults, and have lived in fear. Some at the hands of men, others at the hands of women.
Many never spoke out, it went unreported, untreated. In some cases I’m the only person who’s ever been told.
Even now, just thinking about it makes me feel physically sick.
Violence does not sit well with me, it never has. It creates a feeling that I’m still learning to articulate. It leaves this pit in my stomach, my chest tightens, and I hold back tears. It’s like grief, but weirdly different.
This is a serious and necessary cause and I don’t want to muddle White Ribbon Day’s noble message.
However, a part of me is compelled to say more.
Over the years, and especially since writing my book, I’ve spoken with a lot of guys about their mental health, and again, too many have been on the receiving end of violence. Again it goes unreported, untreated. Again that physical sickness is brought up.
The right to feel safe in all areas of your daily life is a right that all of us deserve. Violence occurs to women, men, boys, girls, and many people who don’t identify with either.
For me, today is a day to stand up against violence, to intervene, to educate, to never be on the perpetrating end. As a man, it is a day to love and cherish the ones we love most, to be the example of the world we want to have. To be the example of how we want ourselves, and our loved ones to be treated; as equals, with respect, and kindness.
For every person that suffers from violence or abuse, and lives in fear… Quite frankly it is a reflection and failing of us all.
By no means does any of this take away from today's core message. My intention was to reinforce it. Reducing male inflicted violence towards women is essential. This is something I will always support, promote, and push for.
White Ribbon Day has a powerful message that all of us can learn from; a message that can and should unite us.