By David D. Underwood Jr., Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Public Affairs
The Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH) Military and Family Support Center recently sponsored a guest speaker in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month which is observed in October. The Day of Unity is celebrated the first Monday of October.
Dr. Jackson Katz, American educator, filmmaker and author, spoke to audiences at Hickam Memorial Theater and Sharkey Theater at JBPHH, Kaneohe Bay Chapel and Schofield Chapel to bring awareness and provide information on gender violence prevention.
Katz is internationally recognized for his innovative work in gender violence prevention education and the co-founder of the Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) program, the leading prevention initiative in college and professional athletics.
“Everybody’s talking about Ray Rice and the NFL, which is a good thing because it’s a national conversation that’s long overdue,” said Katz.
“Many of us will be having this conversation for decades,” said Katz. Katz also mentioned that because of the video and social media, more people are paying attention.
“Men of all ages, races, social and economic backgrounds are involved in gender and domestic violence. Mostly, the expectation is that it’s a women’s issue rather than a men’s issue,” said Katz.
“The issues of domestic and sexual violence have been understood for too long as women’s issues that some good men help out with. My work is to help shift the paradigm,” he said.
Katz noted that women have been at the forefront in the movement against sexual violence, sexual abuse of children, and sexual harassment and will continue to lead on these issues. He said their efforts have helped transform the way we think about the subject matter as well as begin to change institutional practices in terms of addressing it.
According to Katz, men need to take a more aggressive role in getting involved in this paradigm shift. Men should not be bystanders but stand up whenever there is an issue. They should mentor young boys and be positive role models. Also, he advised they shouldn’t be silent if they see or hear a friend, family member or coworker behave badly toward women or express abusive attitudes. Silence may send a message of approval to other males, he said.
“Dr. Katz’s message that domestic violence should not be looked at as a women’s issue, but instead as a men’s issue, is so important,” said Juli Robertson, family advocacy program prevention and education specialist, JBPHH Military and Family Support Center.
“Men have the voices that need to be heard by their peers that domestic violence is absolutely unacceptable. Dr. Katz really drove this point home when he showed the clip of Australian Army Lt. Gen. David Lindsay Morrison addressing his male troops about their disparaging remarks about females.
“Morrison showed how powerful it can be for a man, especially a man in a leadership position, to stand up and speak out against not only gender discrimination, but also about the importance of accountability,” Robertson explained.
“The standard you walk by is the standard you accept,” Morrison pointed out in his message.
“The thing I found most important is how Dr. Katz explained how males think these issues don’t apply to them and how friends not speaking up reinforces behavior,” said Blandine Reid, student intern from the University of Hawaii, working with the JBPHH Sexual Assault Prevention and Response office. “The power of not speaking up, I never looked at it that way,” she said.
“We’re still in the process of making change, and it’s amazing to see how much has changed as the result of women’s efforts,” Katz said.
“Not just women and girls have benefited, but also men and boys’ lives have been affected in a positive way by women’s leadership in addressing the issue,” he added.
“We are committed to this cause,” said Col. David A. Kirkendall, commander of 647th Air Base Group.
For more information, contact the JBPHH Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office hotline at (808) 449-7272 or 449-SARC.