As a woman, I truly do realize the importance of being taught to recognize abuse. However, to think that will solve the problem is to overlook half of the puzzle.

In recent light of Gabby Petito’s horrific murder and abuse, I’ve noticed a lot of posts circulating around Facebook and social media about the importance of teaching a woman what constitutes abuse, how to escape it, and how to avoid it. But what about teaching men not to abuse?

What about raising men who respect boundaries and thrive in compassionate relationships?

We’ve focused so much on teaching men to be strong and to take what they want from this life, that in many ways, our culture has empowered them to abuse because they believe themselves to be stronger for it.

In reality, our strength lies within our ability to empathize, relate and understand others. Strength or true strength is within a man’s capability to protect and nurture those who aren’t as strong as he is.

In many cases, abusers are paying forward the lessons they were taught in unhealthy environments, where they endured trauma. Abuse, in many ways, is an unhealthy trauma response that could be avoided through therapy and counseling.

We live in a culture in which it is deemed strong to push through and to never ask for help. In many cases, when men go to therapy they are met with gasps of confusion. They are thought of as weak. I would counter that a strong man, one that truly is empowered is a man that recognizes his flaws and would do anything to be a better man.

I’m not bashing men, I am simply calling for an awakening to the spiritual and emotional needs of EVERYONE, not just women.

Yes, it is important to teach women what abuse looks like, I stand by that. But it’s equally important to teach men to be emotional warriors as well.

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