text of Jose Manuel Narvaez
In the ESO classes, in the cases that we have found when giving a talk on Prevention of Gender Violence, when there is a violent act on a student by other students, the response of the rest of the Class is usually silent. “Silence is an accomplice”, we usually say in the talks we give. This silence places the students on the side of the abusers, who are usually more boys than girls…
The rest of the class does not usually speak for fear of reprisals from these “negative leaders” or, because they are not called “frogs” or what is the same, sneaks… At this age it is difficult for them to group together to face an unfair situation, or assume that they are not informers because they say who is abusing a partner.
The transition to spaces in which boys can denounce the injustices of other boys, with respect to any type of violence, is the desirable objective that we men have to move towards.
If we associate the above reasoning with current Gender Violence and analyze some advertising campaigns of recent years, we will see that some are aimed at social awareness, others are aimed at victims denouncing, and others have evolved and put in the center of the looks at the men who mistreat, even rectifying some texts from previous campaigns, so that it does not seem that the victims are to blame for their situation for not denouncing.
I’m not sure that campaigns targeting male abusers have an effect on them, because male abusers minimize literally their behaviors with respect to their victims and also generally make responsible them for their violent behavior.
In my opinion, these campaigns aimed at male abusers have awareness-raising effects in the rest of the population and are also reassuring for some men, who do not identify with these violent behaviors.
The men who control and mistreat the women around them, the clearly recognizable ones, these men DO NOT feel challenged by the advertising campaigns that reach us today through the media.
Maybe you should change the “target” the target audience to whom the campaigns are directed.
At this point I return to the reasoning with which I began this text, since I have been able to watch a video of an Argentine advertising campaign against gender violence by the Avon Foundation, which precisely what it does is clearly change the target audience the campaign is directed.
In this campaign, one of his videos depicts a scene in which a friend is going to pick up another on a motorcycle. They argue and one tells the other to stop, to stop verbally harassing a girl who happens to be passing by, that what she is doing is violent, that she is causing fear. He even tells him if he is an animal that cannot be controlled…
Eureka!!!! This campaign has found the crux of the matter… It seems that this campaign has turned its objective towards the environment, the group of friends of someone who is stalker, sexist, violent, etc. They are his friends, the ones who have to “block and deactivate” his teasing, his thanks and confront unfair behavior of this kind of boys.
In classes, violent people, those who bully, those who verbally go too far or want to show their “manliness” usually have followers and also female followers who laugh at them…In the classrooms, practically no one confronts them.
In a class I had just entered, there was a boy crying in the second row. I asked what was wrong, they told me that someone had hit him in the gym locker room. There were more than 12 boys, but “none of them saw anything”, they were first year ESO boys, 12-13 years old. After it was found out that they had been two classmates, I was surprised that one of them was especially small, despite that nobody dared to tell me.
This campaign focuses on the fact of being able to confront something that you do not like about a friend, that does not fit with your values and your way of seeing the world and that also implies harassment of a woman. It is important to be aware from an early age that we cannot be complicit.
The truth, as a student told me in a class, is that it is not as easy to convince someone as quickly as in this ad. I replied that we have to try.
In my talks, in the first year of ESO, I ask them if they know of any case of injustice against a classmate or high school colleague. After talking about what silence means, I propose that you actively commit to act against any injustice that you may be aware of in the Institute and that you report it to trusted adults in the school environment or to me if you wish. They usually commit to act.
We have planted a seed, which in the future may flourish and confront unfair situations, focusing mainly on sexist situations.
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