What a week. One shooting at Fort Hood, then a second shooting in Orlando…a bit closer to home (Portland, OR), the 3rd shooting of the week…because she filed for divorce?? And a fourth shooting and a fifth shooting in the Portland-metro area. In all five cases the perpetrators are men.
UPDATE (11/18): A sixth shooting…
UPDATE (12/03): Ninth shooting
UPDATE (02/11): Tenth shooting
In the last three four SIX SEVEN EIGHT local murders in a matter of weeks, it is the same old story…
- man believes he has a right to control women
- woman tries to escape from abusive man/unhealthy relationship
- man punishes woman
There are variations on #2, such as a man feeling he can no longer provide for his family. All variations involve us men feeling that our family dominance and possessiveness — core identities of our masculinity — are threatened.
Chiquita Rollins, Multnomah County’s domestic violence coordinator, said the majority of domestic-violence related killings occur when the victim is leaving a relationship.
“That really is the most dangerous time,” Rollins said. “When you look at homicides, the victim is very often in the process of leaving, has decided to leave or has talked about leaving.”
Asked why the perpetrator would kill a child, Rollins said such a person might feel that if he can’t have his child, no one can. She advises women in abusive relationships not to discuss their plans to leave with their partner.
When white people (not all white people…) did this to black people we call it “racism and slavery.” When men do it, we need to start calling it what it is: sexism and violence against women. Sexism is brutal. The men who commit this violence don’t exist in a vacuum. They learn their sexism from the rest of us. End sexism, end violence like this. The women and child who died now serve as warnings to others who are thinking about leaving abusive men. Women’s resulting fear protects our male privilege and sense of entitlement.
Another side of the same coin: men suffer under sexism and we turn that suffering into violence. Our insecurities become fears, and our fears becomes hatred. Shit rolls downhill. This is a problem of masculinity, and we reinforce it internally with ourselves as well as with boys and other men: homo, gay, faggot, pussy, bitch, etc. Women often reinforce it in the men around them. Communities can achieve an end to violence when everyone participates in breaking open the box.
To summarize, three ways we end the violence:
- Engage in bystander intervention (courage)
- Explore and develop healthy masculinity (courage)
- More courage
Lastly, a technical note: Free hugs are given and received willingly in the absence of force or coercion.