Ted Bunch gives a "Call to Men"

Idea of manhood often behind domestic violence

· December 4, 2013, 9:32 pm   ·  Updated December 4, 2013, 11:10 pm

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Last night, Ted Bunch, the co-founder of Call to Men, spoke in Huntsman about how the traditional concept of manhood contributes to domestic abuse.

When Ted Bunch, co-founder of A Call to Men — a national association of men and women committed to ending violence against women — talks about manhood, he doesn’t limit himself to the man’s side of the story.

Last night, Bunch gave a talk in Huntsman Hall on how contemporary values and conceptions of manhood affect not only men but also women.

Bunch’s first question, after listing some of the many ways that women have suffered violence by men, was simply: “Who’s perpetrating the violence?”

He answered that the blame falls on only “about 15 to 20 percent of men.” However, it’s this “small amount of men who’s causing the largest amount of injury to women,” he added.

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Bunch suggested that many women, no matter their age or background, carry a latent fear of men and the violence they could potentially inflict. “My daughter knew intuitively that [the world is] not safe for women — even where most of the men are not going to harm them,” he said.

But women’s attempts to address or confront that fear are often complicated by some men’s views of them as property. “If she’s connected to men, she has value — that’s our socialization,” he said.

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On the other side, Bunch also touched on a kind of oppression more unique to men, which he called “man box.” “At what age do fathers stop giving hugs to their boys?” he asked, citing emotional restraint and moderation as important qualities of the “man box.”

Men “don’t have the permission to express [emotion] all the time,” he said. He also characterized homophobia as “the glue that keeps men in bondage.”

Later in his talk, Bunch played a short video on “man prayer” — which asks men to be more cherishing and respectful toward women — and introduced an event coming next February called One Billion Rising for Justice.

The audience generally empathized with Bunch’s speech, often expressing their thoughts out loud throughout his talk.

College sophomore Liz Barr said the talk was “really good, especially for a lot of people who are not familiar with the topic.” With Bunch, she added, “people can see what are the causes of sexism.”

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