Or Brutality toward Women?
am the author of Chivalry-Now, the Code of Male Ethics,
and one of the two founders of our international fellowship. As
such, I am deeply concerned about attitudes toward gender which
are unacceptable for the modern world, attitudes that should have
been unacceptable in the old world too.
toward women is somehow associated with the word "honor"
is especially troubling, and needs to stop. These oppressions include
restricting the experiences of women as fellow human beings to the
point that their lives are held in bondage, punishing them for behavior
that a culture mistakenly deems worthy of extreme punishment. These
punishments include such barbaric atrocities as mutilation, permanent
disfigurement and even death-often instigated by the guilt of someone
The men who
do these things believe that "honor" demands such treatment,
referring to the honor of family reputation. "Punish
the one who brings shame or even a hint of shame. Punish severely
to exonerate one's name. It is the honorable thing to do."
is not derived from conscience, but from tradition, transmitted
memories of past behavior that culture has associated with correct
behavior. It is mistaken because it is cause and effect that has
no heart, and no real thought. It only survives as an expectation
aligned with fear-not honor. It is a lie that exonerates no one
and, instead, heaps evil upon evil that reflects upon a whole community.
Is it honorable
to harm a loved one whom an untwisted nature would otherwise compel
us to cherish and protect? This runs against nature itself.
such unnatural behavior? Anger derived from perceiving an imperfection?
Who is perfect enough to legitimize such anger? If it is fear of
public opinion, then those who support it are slaves to gossip.
What is honorable about that? Tradition affords no excuse. Any tradition
that runs contrary to love and God-given conscience needs to be
rejected. Why would any honorable person add suffering to the world,
when there is too much already?
One can never
retract an undeserved punishment. One cannot bring someone murdered
back to life, or reverse the consequences of disfigurement or mutilation.
One cannot heal scars of the mind and spirit that are born inside.
There is no
manly honor in fearfully surrendering to traditions that are contrary
to life and love. That is the way of the moral coward who has no
regard for justice. Likewise, there is no honor in trading one's
compassion for anger. It is compassion that makes us human. There
is no honor in blaming God. God's justice would never support traditions
that reject both conscience and nature. To declare that God is good
and merciful is to hold these attributes in high regard, not deny
Some men think
that they are protecting the women they love by barricading them
from the outside world. They believe that familial love gives them
the responsibility to take away their freedom. They fail to see
how this degrades women. Why? Because their values are such that
they do not see women as persons on par with men. This too is a
blasphemy against nature.
A flower cannot
blossom within a closed box, where it experiences no sunlight, no
rain, and no appreciation for its uniqueness. This is not what life
is all about. The man who acts as jail keeper of the innocent becomes
the oppressor from whom women need protection.
of two genders. Due to strange twists of cultural traditions, lost
in forgotten contortions of the past, the two are often not seen
as equals. And yet they are, by the undisputed fact that both are
human. To various extents, this mistaken view is seen in just about
every culture. It will not change until it is recognized as wrong.
we hold the 12 Trusts as a behavioral code. Its simplicity
is derived from the past but updated for modern times. The 6th
Trust tells us the proper response to be shown by men toward
the female gender: "I will honor and respect women, and
refute sexism in all its guises."
From this perspective,
honor is not decided by family reputation or fear of gossip. It
is as it should be, a personal commitment to truth, justice, the
advocacy of what is right and good
and a partnership
with women that defends their rights. It is not limited
by mistaken tradition, but a principle that finds its value in life
The reason we
hold women's rights as equal to those of men is obvious. Women think
and feel and dream. Given half a chance, they contribute to the
world as surely as men do. This is self-evident. All we need is
to do is see what free and educated women accomplish. That their
value is beyond rational dispute, it stands to reason that no one
has the right to interfere with any woman's dreams or potential.
When any man,
be it father, husband, son, uncle, person of authority, or other,
disrespects a woman's human rights, just because she is a woman,
he immediately destroys his own validity of being a man. He has
rejected the innate principles of honesty and compassion that manhood
In this respect,
the liberation of women is coexistent to achieving the liberation
of men as wella liberation of conscience that completes us
is simple. All men have to do is find and assert their own true
identity by opening their hearts and minds to fairness and compassion.
They must step forward, no longer as cattle bound to tradition,
but as heroes capable of condemning traditions that oppress women
and ruin men at the same time.