Updated: Sep 22
Today's blog post was supposed about AAVP's upcoming Community Conversation Series that kicks off next month. Community Conversations is a platform designed to uplift unheard and underrepresented voices in the discussion of violence prevention so that we can include those voices currently missing from the conversation.
However, as I try to string words together to describe the voices missing from the violence prevention conversation, the words that keep coming to mind are, "Women belong in all places where decisions are made," (Ruth Bader Gingsberg).
Before she was a supreme court justice, RBG was a strong advocate of gender equality and women's rights. As director of the ACLU's Women's Rights Project in the 1970's, she oversaw 300 discrimination cases and argued six of them before the supreme court. She won five of the six cases she presented to the supreme court, which was quite the feat.
However, what many don't realize is that at least in two of the cases she argued before the supreme court she was representing men. RBG believed she needed to raise issues of gender based laws that impacted men as well as women because gender discrimination was not just a woman's issue.
Just like gender discrimination, domestic violence is not just a women's issue. Men are negatively impacted by domestic violence as well. Whether they are victims of domestic violence, witnessed domestic violence growing up, struggle with pressures of manhood or are perpetrators of violence themselves, they are part of a system of inherent inequities and inequalities that lend to violence.
In much the same way that RBG challenged the inequities of gender based laws, we need to challenge the inequities of gender based social norms surrounding violence. As much as women need to be present when decisions are made, men need to be present when we talk about violence and violence prevention. As important as it is for women to use their voices to help shape decisions so must men use their voices to help shape violence prevention.
RBG will forever be known as a woman's advocate who sought to make laws and policies more fair and equitable for all genders. With her passing a strong voice for equity has been lost but with her legacy, we have an understanding of the importance of giving voice to the voiceless and being deliberate to raise up all voices. This is a legacy that we, in violence prevention, cannot let be lost with her passing.
Rest in Power RBG