Michelle’s murder highlights men and their violent disposition

The murder of Michelle Gardner-Quinn is a tragedy certain to reverberate throughout our community for a long time to come. As the board of the Lake Champlain Men’s Resource Center, we add our collective, sorrow-filled voice to the outpouring of support towards Michelle’s death. Yet, we know there is more to say and do. While the story is still being pieced together, we feel certain that one sad and disturbing fact will be irrefutably corroborated: Michelle was the victim of a man’s violence against a woman. We need not look further back than the past few weeks to the murders of women and girls by men in Vt., Colo. and Pa. to recognize that male violence against females continues unabated. Let us label this a “male violence,” not shifting the focus to the victim or location, but keep the spotlight on the perpetrator and society’s role in socializing men to be violent. Unless we want manhood and masculinity to be defined by the behavior of violent men who assault, murder and often commit suicide, it is incumbent upon men of conscience to move from being well meaning bystanders to vocal opponents of men’s violence against women. We invite men to join us in stepping forward to explicitly condemn such behavior – to pledge to educate ourselves about men’s violence against women, to reach out as allies to women and women’s organizations asking how we can help, and to teach our children, especially our sons, about respecting girls and women. We must encourage everyone to forge an alliance of peacemakers in our community. Out of the tragedy of Michelle Gardner-Quinn’s death, may we become more personally aware of men’s violence and engage in collective action to prevent such violence. Doing so will both honor Michelle’s memory and demonstrate our intention to create a society committed to raising healthy boys and promoting peacemaking men that the concerned citizens of our community so desperately need.