Why more men should fight for women’s rights

Owen Jones

To end the harm inflicted by aggressive masculinity men must embrace feminism – without stealing it.

20-year-old psychology student with dreams, fears and aspirations who was tortured and murdered by a man. She could have become just another statistic in a global pandemic of male violence against women, but in Turkey and neighbouring Azerbaijan she has become an icon.

Across Twitter, Turkish women have responded by sharing their experiences of harassment, objectification and abuse. But something else happened: men took to the streets wearing miniskirts, protesting at male violence against women and at those who excuse it or play it down.

Before assessing how men can best speak out in support of women, it’s worth looking at the scale of gender oppression. The statistics reveal what looks like a campaign of terror. According to the World Health Organisation, over a third of women globally have suffered violence from a partner or sexual violence from another man. The UN estimates that about 133 million girls and women have suffered female genital mutilation, and believes that nearly all of the 4.5 million people “forced into sexual exploitation” are girls and women. In Britain, about 1.2 million women suffer domestic violence a year, 400,000 are sexually assaulted, and 85,000 are raped: again, misery inflicted by men against women on a mass scale.

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