Saskatchewan·Point of View

Men must step up to prevent gender violence, says expert

On Friday, Jackson Katz said society needs to change its social norms in order to end gender violence. He was in Regina as the keynote speaker for the 40th anniversary luncheon of the Provincial Association of Transition Houses of Saskatchewan.

Gender violence is a men's issue, says Jackson Katz

Jackson Katz is the keynote speaker for the Regina Transition House's 40th anniversary luncheon. (CBC)

A public speaker who was in Regina Thursday to talk about gender violence says men who don't abuse women can play a huge role in stopping men who do.

Jackson Katz has specialized in gender violence prevention for decades. He looks beyond the perpetrators and victims of violence and holds everyone accountable. 

He spoke to CBC's The Morning Edition ahead  of a speech he gave at the 40th anniversary luncheon of the Provincial Association of Transition Houses of Saskatchewan 

Gender violence: A men's issue

Katz classifies gender violence as a men's issue, He says calling it a women's issue is a "subtle form of victim blaming." 

"We need all men who are in positions of influence to speak out on these issues," said Katz. 

Your silence is a form of consent and complicity in his abuse.-Jackson Katz

From young to old, generations must be guided away from the common practice of accepting casual gender violence, he said. 

Education is key

This means teaching men who aren't abusers not to settle for being a bystander. 

Katz said this can be as simple as teaching men to intervene when their peers crack "rape jokes" or spew discriminatory comments. 

"If you don't say anything to challenge and interrupt him, then in a sense your silence is a form of consent and complicity in his abuse." 

Jackson Katz was 19-years-old when he realized how pervasive men's violence against women was. He thought he was a man who could do something about it. (CBC)

Additionally, men should end their misogynistic ways because the behaviour is unaccepted by society, not because it's punishable by authority, he said. 

Katz called on people to challenge their fellow men, be it co-workers or drinking buddies, noting this can stop the culture of gender violence that enables abuse. 

Preventing gender violence will be more attainable if society questions what is the norm, he said. 

"The typical perpetrator of domestic violence or sexual assault in Saskatchewan or anywhere is not a sick monstrous man," Katz said, adding most offenders are people who are "much more normal."

With files from CBC's The Morning Edition