I’ve been involved in social services and health care my entire career in Alaska. So you’ll excuse me if I tell you how tired I am of hearing about all the programs that are going to be funded to prevent sexual and physical abuses in our villages. While some may have worked a little, most don’t work at all. Women still flee if possible to Anchorage or Fairbanks to get away from it only to find that it can be hard in those cities to stay safe too.
You know how to stop that kind of violence in the villages? By making it unacceptable in more than just words at a meeting or declarations from some health corp or municipal government. And that only happens when the men of the village get involved on a very public and vocal level.
This is not about signing pledges. Words on paper are worth nothing if no true actions back them up. And the actions that should be taken need to be public and loud. Very loud.
The good men in any village need to visibly turn away from their cousin or brother or buddy who beats his wife up. They need to publicly tell an abuser that they want nothing to do with him if he doesn’t change. They will not allow him to run for city council, or apply to be the Village PSO or be their hunting buddy. Good men in the villages need to cut abusers from their lives, their village life and their friendships – in other words, they need to shun them so that life in the village becomes isolated, impossible, humiliating and unbearable for abusers. Those men can then make the choice to change their ways, leave their village or live a life of isolation.
Will this stop a lot of men from being abusers? Probably not. But it will let them know that they are no longer free to wreak havoc in their villages without consequences that can be felt on a daily basis. You’ll know who they are because you will see your sisters, mothers, aunts, nieces walking around bruised and scared all the time. These women aren’t hard to spot. I could see them coming a mile away after very few months in the field of social work.
So let’s publicly out and humiliate ever abuser in every village. And that’s a movement that only men can lead because in the end, they are a large part of what keeps abusers abusing – no fear of any real repercussions.
I am sick and tired of the days when a man could violate his family at night and sit on the city council the next day. And so should every man and woman in this state who have watched this abuse continue unabated for decades without any hope of it ending.
You want to be a real man – stand up for your women in the most public places in your village by totally cutting to the quick any abuser who dares to say hello to you or who thinks of you as a friend.
Your reluctance to confront them publicly gives them permission to keep abusing.