One million men, one million promises to help end gender-based violence

Our own Zerlina is still getting rape threats from conservatives who apparently think suggesting men can end sexual violence is the very height of stupidity. Meanwhile–over in the reality-based community–a global movement of men doing just that is growing.

Launched today by Breakthrough, in partnership with UN Women and grassroots groups from South Africa to Malaysia, the “Ring the Bell” campaign is aiming to get one million men to make one million promises to help end violence against women this year. Former football player Don McPherson explains:

What can men do?

Men do not just need to stop being violent. The vast majority of men are not violent. But men do need to stop being silent. Calling violence against women, whether street harassment or sexual harassment or rape or murder, a “women’s issue” allows men to ignore it as if we have no responsibility for it or stake in ending it. We all have grandmothers, mothers, sisters, daughters and female friends and colleagues. Our lives are inextricably interwoven; women’s issues of safety and equality directly affect our lives as men.

Beyond that, women are humans, with the same rights to safety and freedom as men. It is therefore our moral responsibility to not remain silent or passively on the sidelines, but to be actively engaged in confronting this problem in every corner of homes, communities and societies.

Check out the website to watch videos of dozens of men–from a Days of Our Lives star to the UN Secretary-General–making the promise. It’s really exciting to see so many men taking ownership and standing up to say–in the words of Dallas Mayor Rawlings–“it’s our problem.” It does indeed feel like we could be “on the brink of a global tipping point.”

Atlanta, GA

Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director in charge of Editorial at Feministing. Maya has previously worked at NARAL Pro-Choice New York and the National Institute for Reproductive Health and was a fellow at Mother Jones magazine. She graduated with a B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. A Minnesota native, she currently lives, writes, edits, and bakes bread in Atlanta, Georgia.

Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Editorial.

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  • John

    “Our own Zerlina is still getting rape threats from conservatives who apparently think suggesting men can end sexual violence is the very height of stupidity.”

    There are many men who have been victimized by women. The CDC estimated in their 2010 NISCS that about 1,000,000 men where forced to penetrate a woman. The DOJ reported in it’s 2008 report under PREA that 50% of prison rape was prison staff raping inmates with 80% of those being female staff raping male inmates. The BJS reported that in juvenile detention 80% of the sexual violence was perpetrated by staff. 95% of the was female staff against male detainees.

    Men can definitely help end sexual violence, but as a man who was drugged by two women in a bar in my 20s, that statement men can end sexual violence sounds like a lot of victim blaming to me.

  • Jack Fields

    NEW YORK STATE WE BEG THAT YOU END THE VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN PERPETUATED BY JUDGE LAURA DRAGER !: New York State has been enabling violence against women through the Courts. Although the Most Notoriously Corrupt Judge in the USA, Laura Drager is entering her “swan song” of being on the bench as hundreds are calling for her removal at, New York State has turned a blind eye, to child abuse, vicious domestic violence, and unlawful seizure of the assets of decent hardworking women.