One million promises to end violence against women
We have struggled to end violence against women for as long as any of us can remember. But today — finally — I believe we stand at a global tipping point. As we all know, series of increasingly shocking — and increasingly visible — acts of violence from Delhi to Cairo and from Bredasdorp, South Africa to Steubenville, OH have drawn unprecedented attention and outrage worldwide. Journalists, activists, and other influencers have made clear that all such incidents are expressions of one shared global problem. Awareness and momentum, among both civil society and government leaders, have never been stronger. The world is watching. The world is responding. Perhaps most important — and perhaps now more than ever — men and women are responding together.
More and more, the men joining women in this struggle are starting to think of themselves as part of the solution. More and more men are standing shoulder to shoulder with women to protest rape, sexual harassment, and gender-based violence and discrimination as a whole. We have seen men's outrage in and in response to events in Delhi, Steubenville, and Cairo. We have seen Dallas mayor Mike Rawlings launch an initiative calling on the men of his city to stand up against domestic violence. Bottom line, more and more men are understanding that men's violence against women is not a "women's issue" or a "private matter." It is a human issue and a human rights issue, and it hurts us all. It is an expression of the inequality that limits everyone. Only when all of us are safe can all of us thrive.
And in my experience, men often want to do something but don't know what to do. After all, what can one man do to stop a global pandemic? But we have also found that when people are invited to be part of a solution, part of something bigger, and prompted to think about something clear and concrete they can do — whether grand or small — in their own worlds, they step up.
That's why One million men. One million promises – which we launched March 8 -- asks men from around the world to look at themselves — their own attitudes, homes, schools, workplaces, and spheres — and commit to actionable promises that can help reduce the inequality and violence they see around them. Add those actions up, and we will see real change.
We are asking women to do the same: of themselves, and of the men in their lives.
And they're responding already. Leaders and partners from all around the world have already begun to make actionable promises to help end violence against women, from disrupting a violent neighbor with a knock at the door to calling out misogynistic street harassment to helping make every space they touch safe and equitable. Politicians, actors, comedians, ambassadors, musicians, schoolteachers, religious leaders, businesspeople, and beyond have agreed that enough is enough, and promised to take action.
You can too. Visit breakthrough.tv/ringthebell to make your promise. Ask yourself: Am I doing all I can to challenge inequality in my family, classroom, office, military unit, sports team, group of friends? How can I safely interrupt the violent argument I overhear in my building or witness on the subway? What action can I take, just in the world I inhabit and influence? How can I be accountable? Make your own promise, and then share, share, share.
With men as leaders and partners — and everyone working as allies — I believe that our generation will be the one to build a safer world for all.