There is a TV ad I see regularly entitled "Respect Women". The hook is a father teaching his young son how to read and it has the line, "I will teach him how to respect women." Every time I see it, I wonder why the message is not teach your son and/or your daughter how to respect PEOPLE. Isn't that what it's all about?
I was at a meeting a few days ago when a young man was describing a trip his male friend and his friend's boyfriend planned to take to visit a large American city. When he mentioned it was his friend's boyfriend, you could sense a slight change in the atmosphere in the room. And it was full of highly educated people. Why aren't they getting the message about respecting PEOPLE, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation? Could it be perhaps because we don't think a lack of respect for men is an issue? An issue of consequence?
I applaud the Newfoundland/Labrador government for talking about respect, but let's make it inclusive and not exclusive by asking for respect for one gender only. The Violence Prevention Initiative of the Women's Policy Office is starting on the right track, but it is apparent from their website that inclusivity is not part of their agenda and I think that's a shame. They have an opportunity here to do some stretching into a larger sphere. Activism against gender violence shouldn't exclude anyone - female, male, transgendered or transsexual. Ask any public school teacher about what they see on the playground everyday and they can tell you that while they try to inculcate respect for all persons, the message doesn't always get through.
I`d love to wear your purple ribbon and would be happy to do so - once you call for respect for all PEOPLE.