Be an ally of women and girls
Being an ally to women and girls goes beyond supporting their causes. It is connected with self-reflection because as an ally, you really need to know yourself. It takes a lot of strength to be a good ally, but not the kind of strength that men usually learn about in society. Instead, it is the strength to deeply listen to women’s stories, to fully believe them and not to negate their experiences, to allow women to take the lead and respectfully follow, to “step up to the plate” when it’s called for and women want it, and to step aside when you are not needed. Being a true ally involves not following your urge to fix things and find solutions to every problem; it often only involves listening well.
Here are some things that good allies do:
- When offering help to an individual woman or women’s organization, make an effort to really listen to what they want from you. Don’t assume that you know what’s best for them.
- If a woman tells you that she is suffering abuse, believe her and reassure her that it is never her fault. Help her connect to an organization for women who have experienced violence if that’s what she wants. You can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline for more information on organizations in your area.
- Be aware of the signs of possible domestic violence. They can include: Threats against a partner or their family, insults, extreme jealousy; controlling actions, such as not allowing the partner to work, visit friends, talk to family, learn English, etc.; physical, emotional, and/or sexual abuse, cruelty to pets.
- Call your congress people to support legislation to help combat violence against women, such as the Violence Against Women Act and the Family Violence Prevention Services Act.