When you initially set off on the journey that is your life, you were given one of two labels: Male or Female. If you were labelled Male, little did you know at the time (because you had only just emerged from the womb) that you were more likely to be fodder for the Vultures of Violence.
Whether it is a homicide, suicide, weapon use, or physical fighting, those damn Vultures of Violence love the Male Labelled. They circle round our heads, just waiting for their next victim, knowing full well that the statistics are stacked against us.
Some say that it is our fault that the Vultures are drawn to us. They say that the Male Labelled are too stupid or stubborn to avoid the Violence, and so we deserve to fall prey to them. Talk about victim-blaming.
I say that it doesn't matter why the Vultures are there in the first place. We simply need to find a way to survive life's journey without falling prey to them.
So how do we Survive the Vultures of Violence?
We need to first work out who needs more protection than others. If we work together, we have a better chance of survival. If we look at all the Male Labelled who are in this journey that is life, we can see certain patterns. Here is what I mean -
1. The Vultures of Violence are Transphobes
Some of our fellow travellers may be Gender Diverse, which means they have been given the Male Label at birth but they don’t necessarily identify with that label. For example, they may identify as transgender, non-binary, or gender queer. If this is the case, the Vultures of Violence are likely to attack 86% of people who are Gender Diverse (Transequality.org). You only have to turn on the news to hear about the frequent attacks on people who are Gender Diverse.
2. The Vultures of Violence are Homophobes and Biphobes
Putting aside someone's true Gender Identity, some of your fellow Male Labelled travellers may identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community because of their sexuality. For example, they may identify as gay or bisexual or queer. If this is the case, you can see that the Vultures of Violence are significantly more likely to attack in the form of violent hate crimes (Human Rights Campaign). It is 21 years since Matthew Shepard was brutally murdered by people motivated by homophobia and, all these years later, we are still seeing similar attacks.
3. The Vultures of Violence are Racists
Some of your travellers may be Persons of Color and if so, you can see the Vultures of Violence are more likely to attack. Homicide is the leading cause of death for African American males aged between 15 and 34 (CDC, 2014), and African American males are ‘3.5 times more likely to be killed by police during arrest/encounter’ (American Psychological Association).
Three Tools Against the Vultures of Violence
Whether we have been given the Male or Female Label at birth, and no matter what our true Gender Identity, Sexuality or Ethnicity, we are all travelling along life’s journey together. So we can all play a part to keep these Vultures of Violence at bay.
Here are Three Tools to strike down those Vultures of Violence –
1. The Umbrella of Understanding
We need to stop labelling each other in a way that pathologizes and divides us. Only when we understand and empathise with each other can we shield ourselves, and each other, from the Vultures of Violence. Understand that we may be united by the Male Label, but our experiences of this may differ considerably.
2. Strength in Numbers
We are more vulnerable when we are isolated; the Vultures will pick us off one by one. When we stop labelling and pathologizing each other, and we come to understand our similarities and differences, we can start to recognise each other’s strengths. When we take the time to get to know each other just that little bit more, we may see past certain behaviour and understand that, for some, this is the way they have been able to survive.
3. Pierce at the heart of Power Dynamics
The Vultures of Violence will keep coming back if we do not attack them at the source. We need a cull of these Vultures, and to do this we need to pierce at the heart of Power Dynamics. We need to be honest about
So what do you think? Does any of this resonate with you? Get in touch by sending me a message privately via the Contact Page, or add a public comment below, and engage in the debate.
Chris Warren-Dickins LLB MA LPC
Therapist, writer, educator, and LGBTQ+ advocate
**This binary way of categorising people is an over-simplification of our true gender identity, and I explain why this is so in another article (Gender Identity Myths)