Campaign To Teach Young Men About Violence Against Women

Police Scotland recently launched a video to invite young men to reflect upon some small actions that may be considered as violence against women, and that has been normalized by society. The video quickly became popular on social media.

The Woman Post | Catalina Mejía Pizano

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Having a public agency critically question the behavior of the young male population, which has been educated in a way that tolerates violence against women, is something that many of us would have never imagined. However, in only one week, the Police Scotland Campaign has become viral with almost 50,000 likes on Twitter in just one week. The initiative named "Don’t Be That Guy," encourages men "to look in the mirror" and modify common behavior which may be intimidating for many women. The video remarks "Most guys don’t look in the mirror and see a problem. But it is staring us in the face. Sexual violence begins long before you think it does."

But, if violence against women is no novelty, why is this campaign becoming so popular? Instead of placing the focus on the behavior of the victims or in traditional social norms about the way women should dress or act, the video "Don’t Be That Guy" finally gives importance to small actions that we tolerate from men and that are violent against women. The video calls on men to first observe their actions when thinking about how to reduce gender violence. In only one minute, several actors formulate questions that seek for the spectator to recognize daily behaviors as part of the problem of misogyny. "Have you ever whistled at a girl while she’s walking down the street or stared at her on the bus?" The actors explain that these small actions should not be seen as innocent because they are disrespectful towards women and may trigger further abusive behavior.


As the video continues, the other actors ask: "Do you ever get three shots in a row, hoping you’d get a shot of her? Then what? Bundled her wasted into a taxi and took her back to yours." The video invites men into the conversation about sexual violence, to a point of making them reflect on their daily actions that are not as far from sexual abuse as they may have perceived them to be. The video has not only been popular in many countries, but has also been celebrated by DJs, Olympic athletes, TV presenters, and even by Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland. As women, the campaign also makes us reflect on how we have asked our daughters to be careful or to dress modestly, instead of telling our sons to respect girls or not to force them into any behavior. Maybe we should empower our girls and let them know that abuse and misogyny are not caused by their actions, and they should not be guilty of uncontrolled behavior of men.

The campaign has become even more relevant, bearing in mind the recent murder of Sarah Everard, who was also kidnapped and raped in March 2021. But it was not only the tragedy that called the attention of women, but the poor response of the authorities, which gave more importance to the behavior of victims instead of aggressors, telling women to shout when in danger, or to run into a house or stop a bus. The campaign also includes a webpage that publishes articles for men, concerning gender violence and sets examples not to follow of men celebrities that have shown misogyny in their actions. It is always a good idea to start a conversation about how society should tackle gender violence, but it is even a better one to address the problem by modifying the behavior of the aggressors instead of putting the focus on victims!

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