Time to “Man Up”

manup2The other day on my way to see clients, I heard Rihanna’s latest hit song “Man Down” on the radio again. When I heard the song for the first time, I was pulled into the Caribbean beat. I admit, the Jamaican in me connected to the music and I didn’t really hear the words. Then I heard the song again. This time, I actually listened to the words and eventually saw the video. It all made sense and I thought everyone understood the point. I was surprised to see and hear how many people in the media shared their dislike for the song and video. It is clear that the video contains strong violence and talks about killing someone. In no way, am I saying that violence or killing someone is acceptable. At the same time, many people missed the point. Even though the title of the song is “Man Down”, the real point is “Man Up”!

As a man, as a therapist and as a father, I am tired of countless stories of men abusing, hurting and raping women. In the video, (two people) had a connection. They had a good time, but he wanted more and she was ready to go home. That should have been the end of the night and the end of the story, right? Wrong! Regardless of how she was dressed or how sexual their dancing was, it was time for him to Man Up and do the right thing. Until more men man up and hold other men accountable, what we saw in the video will continue to happen.

Too often as I interview clients, I listen to them discuss their experiences of violence and abuse in their relationships. A client may come in because she is depressed and thinking less of herself because a man abused, assaulted or raped her. Sometimes it could even get to the point where I have to make sure if my client feels safe going home. I know, I know. At this point, if you are a man reading this, you are tired of hearing about what other men have done. I understand and I’ve been there. There are many women who hurt, abuse or try to put men in a situation where he will act out. At the same time, the numbers show that abuse and what we see in the video happens to women much more than men. Regardless of who it happens to (famous, or not, man or woman, adult or child), abuse is abuse and no one should have to experience it. One way to decrease the number of incidents of abuse is to expect other men to MAN UP and do the right thing. No means no, so does stop, wait, not now, hold up or later. They all mean no and that you should stop.

When will you Man Up? When will you expect your brother, your son, your father, your cousin and your uncle to Man Up? I know that thinking about this and even talking about this is not high on your list. It’s not easy hearing about how we as men can be capable of such hurtful actions. It might even make you think of someone you know (including yourself) who didn’t do what he was suppose to do at one point. I realize you didn’t ask for this, but someone needs to say it. The more we as men hold each other accountable and expect other men to man up, we won’t have to worry about women getting to the place where they take a man down.

If you haven’t seen the video, check it out but watch it from the perspective of Man Up, not Man Down. 

Posted in Men.

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