Jackson Katz: “Gender Violence is Everyone’s Problem”

[not sure of exact date of publication]

Jackson Katz lectures on “The Macho Paradox” to a public audience at the University of Cape Town.
Jackson Katz lectures on “The Macho Paradox” to a public audience at the University of Cape Town.

“Violence against women is not a women’s issue. It’s a men’s issue.” This was the heart of Dr. Jackson Katz’s message during his recent visit. The internationally recognized American author, filmmaker and cultural theorist traveled to South Africa to share his groundbreaking work in gender violence prevention education and critical media literacy.

In Cape Town, where he teamed up with Sonke Gender Justice, a leading non-governmental organization (NGO) which urges men and boys to proactively prevent gender-based violence, Katz argued that men must step up to combat violence against women; “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.”

Katz lectured on “The Macho Paradox” at a University of Cape Town event organized by its Safety and Violence Initiative (SAVI); addressed a South African Faith and Family Institute (SAFFI) forum discussing the role of religion in curbing violence against women; and shared a stage with business power-couple and philanthropists Wendy and Raymond Ackerman and renowned singer Thandiswa Mazwai at Cape Town’s annual WHEAT Trust “1000 Women United Against Domestic Violence” lunch.

The images from award-winning South African photographer Jodi Bieber’s “Quiet” series enhanced many of Katz’s presentations, providing a powerful backdrop reimagining labels of masculinity and challenging social norms of the violent male. Katz’s Gauteng program kicked off at the Wits Art Museum with a discussion about Bieber’s images.

In Pretoria, Katz advocated for a paradigm shift in the way we view gender violence and prevention strategies. In a blunt talk at Loftus Stadium with professional and community sports coaches, Katz highlighted his MVP (Mentors in Violence Prevention) model as a blueprint for cultivating in the sports genre a non-violent environment on and off the field while encouraging gender equality.

The MVP strategy—which Katz also implements with the U.S. and Australian militaries—particularly interested members of the South African Defense Force, police, and correctional service sectors at a forum in Bloemfontein.

Katz challenged men throughout his South Africa visit to take action to stop abusive language and behavior toward women and be “empowered bystanders” rather than tacitly complicit. Katz’s empowering message also inspired audiences at the Universities of the Free State and Johannesburg, Medical Research Council personnel, social workers and community activists at the Eesterust Community Hall and NGO leaders at Soweto’s Rosa Parks Library as well as gender-equality commissioners and union leaders.

For more information about Jackson Katz’s work, visit his website at: http://www.jacksonkatz.com/