Comments on: A “real man” respects a woman transforming conflict, one story at a time Mon, 16 Dec 2013 20:20:00 +0000 hourly 1 By: sfcg Tue, 10 Jan 2012 01:33:45 +0000 I’m glad that you read SFCG’s blog and we encourage dialogue and exchanges about the very complex topics around which we focus our work. With this in mind, I would like to respond to a few of your comments:

You explained that you were not sure whether the MCSR interview was saying that Lena Slachmuijlder was sharing the actual thoughts of the men she spoke with or her assumptions about the experiences that led to them saying that they had been raped. Here is the full quote from the article:

“But we often found that these sensitizations were creating another reaction on behalf of the men in the audiences. They felt as though they were not getting attention; they invariably stood up and said that they, men, had been raped. But that was coming largely from feeling disempowered. They would often use this phrase, “Women are raping us” referring to the way that women dress or the fact that they have money, giving the impression that the men are unable to resist, and the women are able do whatever they want.”

In this description, Ms. Slachmuijlder was reflecting back men’s reactions to sensitization about rape of women. The men to whom she refers were not actual victims of rape. This is because, wrongfully, rape is associated with so much societal shame that people rarely – and men very rarely – stand up publicly to testify that they’ve been raped. This in no way was meant to disrespect the thousands of men, as you rightly point out, who are actual victims of rape. Ms. Slachmuijlder knows, from her work in Congo, of the tremendous challenges that male victims of rape face – too often in the shadows of silence and solitude.

Our work does not deny that rape is being committed against men in the DRC. And while statistics show us that the vast majority of rape is committed by men on women, SFCG’s work does not demonize men. In fact, the ‘Vrai Djo’ project was aimed specifically at sounding a positive resonance for Congolese men across the country that treats women with dignity and respect. Ms. Slachmuijlder has witnessed time and time again the positive role that Congolese men are playing in supporting their wives, mothers, daughters, sisters, and other women in their communities. This positive role has been reflected in numerous activities by SFCG in the DRC, in which men are portrayed as people capable of making a choice, doing the right thing, and standing up against injustice. The “Vrai Djo” project was developed in consultation with men specifically to be inclusive, as too often initiatives that address SGBV do not engage men as partners, only perpetrators. Rather than dismissing men, Ms. Slachmuijlder’s work in the DRC has been notable for its inclusiveness, while holding out the possibility for positive change.

By: g2-a43493745f63f579f8acd705a29843b5 Sat, 07 Jan 2012 18:30:27 +0000 Ms Slachmuijlder has a sexist attitude that dismisses men. Some critique here:

How can she teach men to respect women, when she disrespects men? One must lead by example to achieve change.