• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

SPRING FUNDRAISER

Is it time for our Spring fundraiser already? If you enjoy what we offer, and have the means, please consider donating. The sooner we reach our modest goal, the faster we can get back to business as (un)usual. Please, stay safe and we’ll see you down the road.
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Truth and Reconciliation for Gender-based Offenses

I was very inspired by the bold New York Times piece “Eight Stories of Men’s Regret,” published in response to the polarized debate over now-Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Not only is it brave to confess one’s past transgressions, but it is also necessary for accountability, which is the missing link of #MeToo.

Perhaps most importantly, these actions will inspire others to do likewise. #MeToo should get much of the credit: Its hashtag inspired other, albeit less catchy, offshoots (#HimThough and #IDidThat) that focused on male accountability. This was the necessary counterpart to the outpouring of sexual assault survivor solidarity in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein exposé.

It is likely that these offshoots lacked the staying power of #MeToo primarily due to the reluctance of men to participate. Nonetheless, there is a tendency within #MeToo and beyond it to chastise men for speaking up in areas deemed sensitive to women — arguing that men need to listen rather than speak, defend, mansplain, etc. — but the question remains: What does male accountability look like? It certainly cannot be reduced to passive listening. This is how you would scold a child with some poor parenting. In the case of an adult, passive listening can only be the beginning of accountability.

This effort by men to publicly confess in a thoughtful, self-reflective manner is a major step forward in the fight for accountability. I can recall that one of the most powerful and inspiring moments from my years of anti-war activism (which led me to anti-violence and women’s rights activism) was watching the teary-eyed testimony of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans confess during the Winter Soldier testimonies the crimes they committed against civilians. I can also recall, on video, the steely-eyed white South African police officers recounting how they tortured and murdered black freedom fighters during the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

While the latter example was far less inspirational, truth is critical to any resolution of conflict or reparation of harm. It is the fulcrum of the lever of accountability — and of justice by extension.

It must be noted for the sake of fairness that accountability cannot be limited to one gender, and we cannot assume that men only harm women or that men are the only ones who cause harm. A major flaw of truth and reconciliation processes has been selective justice — that they have only scratched the surface in most cases. If these eight regretful men had gone deeper into their pasts, the reader may have learned where their lack of respect for boundaries originated. While they were all influenced by rape culture and violent socialization to some extent — just by being American men in their particular cases — no boy or man is immune from direct victimization. A victimized man is often a dangerous man due to the hyper-masculine need to disguise weakness or compensate for it in (often) violent ways.

While mainstream society has come a long way in recent months in propping up survivors and calling out perpetrators for violent and sexist behavior (despite the painful lurch backward so evident in the Kavanaugh confirmation process), it is time that we hear more from those perpetrators in the context of truth and reconciliation.

More articles by:
May 28, 2020
Melvin Goodman
Trump’s War on Arms Control and Disarmament
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The Virtues of Not Eating Animals
Jeffrey St. Clair
Last Stand in the Big Woods
Jack Rasmus
Two Fictions of Mainstream Economics
Marshall Sahlins
State Terrorism
Louisa Willcox
“What Are We Fighting About?” 9th Circuit Hears Yellowstone Grizzly Bear Delisting Case
Danny Sjursen
The Future of Forever War, American-Style
Steven Salaita
To Students and Teachers Targeted by the Israel Lobby
David Rosen
Silence=Death: Larry Kramer, RIP
Dean Baker
Restaurants in the Pandemic
Martin Billheimer
There is No Vacation Anymore
Jesse Jackson
It’s Time for Bold Responses to a Stark Crisis
Deborah Toler
Is Stacey Abrams Progressive?
Binoy Kampmark
Budget Cockups in the Time of Coronavirus
May 27, 2020
Ipek S. Burnett
The Irony of American Freedom 
Paul Street
Life in Hell: Online Teaching
Vijay Prashad
Why Iran’s Fuel Tankers for Venezuela Are Sending Shudders Through Washington
Lawrence Davidson
National Values: Reality or Propaganda?
Ramzy Baroud
Why Does Israel Celebrate Its Terrorists: Ben Uliel and the Murder of the Dawabsheh Family
Sam Pizzigati
The Inefficient and Incredibly Lucrative Coronavirus Vaccine Race
Mark Ashwill
Vietnam Criticized for Its First-Round Victory Over COVID-19
David Rovics
A Note from the Ministry of Staple Guns
Binoy Kampmark
One Rule for Me and Another for Everyone Else: The Cummings Coronavirus Factor
Nino Pagliccia
Canada’s Seat at the UN Security Council May be Coveted But is Far From a Sure Bet
Erik Molvar
Should Federal Public Lands be Prioritized for Renewable Energy Development?
R. G. Davis
Fascism: Is it Too Extreme a Label?
Gene Glickman
A Comradely Letter: What’s a Progressive to Do?
Jonathan Power
The Attacks on China Must Stop
John Kendall Hawkins
The Asian Pivot
May 26, 2020
Melvin Goodman
Trump Administration and the Washington Post: Picking Fights Together
John Kendall Hawkins
The Gods of Small Things
Patrick Cockburn
Governments are Using COVID-19 Crisis to Crush Free Speech
George Wuerthner
Greatest Good is to Preserve Forest Carbon
Thomas Klikauer – Nadine Campbell
The Covid-19 Conspiracies of German Neo-Nazis
Henry Giroux
Criminogenic Politics as a Form of Psychosis in the Age of Trump
John G. Russell
TRUMP-20: The Other Pandemic
John Feffer
Trump’s “Uncreative Destruction” of the US/China Relationship
John Laforge
First US Citizen Convicted for Protests at Nuclear Weapons Base in Germany
Ralph Nader
Donald Trump, Resign Now for America’s Sake: This is No Time for a Dangerous, Law-breaking, Bungling, Ignorant Ship Captain
James Fortin – Jeff Mackler
Killer Capitalism’s COVID-19 Back-to-Work Imperative
Binoy Kampmark
Patterns of Compromise: The EasyJet Data Breach
Howard Lisnoff
If a Covid-19 Vaccine is Discovered, It Will be a Boon to Military Recruiters
David Mattson
Grizzly Bears are Dying and That’s a Fact
Thomas Knapp
The Banality of Evil, COVID-19 Edition
May 25, 2020
Marshall Auerback
If the Federal Government Won’t Fund the States’ Emergency Needs, There is Another Solution
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail