Amid the coronavirus, we need to acknowledge now and forever a reality often hidden in the shadows.
As the majority of the country is under shelter in place orders whereby the government highly encourages everyone to stay in their homes to stop the spread of the virus, these measures mean increased danger to the abused.
Power and control dynamics such as isolation, manipulation, coercion, threats, and possessiveness are contributing factors that lead to domestic violence.
Shame On Billy Joe
Someone should tell British boxer Billy Joe Saunders that.
He had the nerve to take to social media and post a video where he demonstrates how to hit a woman “if your old woman is giving you mouth” during this pandemic.
He also used a punching bag to demonstrate using an uppercut to the chin.
The video thankfully has been deleted, and his boxing license has been suspended.
You can find more at CNN
He took the time to offer an “apology” that wasn’t sincere.
Billy Joe said that he “doesn’t condone domestic violence” (which is highly ironic because the video is of him doing just that). The fighter also stated, “if anything like that were to happen to my daughter, I would hurt them bad.” That begs the question, if he didn’t have a daughter, would he have cared? Also, he has no understanding of what domestic violence is.
Finally, he made references to his “sense of humor” and that “my sense of humor is not everyone’s cup of tea.”
Domestic violence is nothing to joke about. There is no humor in condoning, belittling, and minimizing this grave issue.
It is a matter of life and death for so many.
Domestic violence doesn’t discriminate based on gender, race, class, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, ability/disability, or immigration status.
It is an ongoing societal crisis that the coronavirus pandemic compounds.
Billy Joe Saunders is to boxing what Andrew Dice Clay was to stand-up comedy.
Billy Joe is a vocal misogynist and sexist who embodies a toxic definition of manhood, which we define now as toxic masculinity.
The notion is that society conditions men and boys into representing an ideal of being a man rooted in a lack of empathy, degrading towards women and girls, deprivation of fragility and vulnerability, and an overemphasis on physical strength and prowess.
This idea of hypermasculinity has had a tremendous cost to the lives and well-being of women and other men.
It is a significant factor in the high rates of domestic and sexual violence that permeates our society.
Billy Joe Saunders says “real men” hit women. “Real men” keep women in a state of fear. And that “real men” lead with intimidation and threats.
Time Is Now
Society conditions us men to live up to this standard for too long, and the time to change is now.
We, as men in the world of sports and beyond, must become active allies in the fight against domestic violence.
We can use our platforms and our resources to educate ourselves and other men about how to break out of the man box and embrace a more progressive and forward-thinking ideal of manhood that says:
- Show empathy
- Are compassionate
- Are not afraid to show emotion
- Hold themselves accountable for their actions
- Treat women and girls as our equals, our equals, OUR EQUALS!
We should volunteer our time to working with gender equality organizations and domestic violence shelters.
Men should join many organizations that center on embracing healthy masculinity.
Heroes can set a good example to other young boys and men about how we conduct ourselves and to treat women and girls with respect.
There are many opportunities, so let’s seek those out and get to work.
As we are still coming to terms with the coronavirus pandemic, let’s not forget those who are suffering behind closed doors.
If there is anyone is being abused and need to talk to someone, please contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233, or you can chat with an advocate online at their website https://www.thehotline.org/ or text LOVEIS at 22522. You are not alone.