On Being Ariel

Hi, my name is Ariel.

Like many of you, I have been horrified by the atrocities allegedly perpetrated by another Ariel -- Ariel Castro. Day by day, as each detail of this awful reality is revealed, I find myself more and more outraged. And, I am cringing at the sound of my own name.

This is odd, because I love my name. I love how it sounds, especially when pronounced with a rolling R, Israeli style. I love what it means: Lion of God. I love that it is a secret name for the city of Jerusalem. I love that is the name of a moon orbiting Uranus, the name of a character in Shakespeare's The Tempest, and a book of poetry by Sylvia Plath.

As a boy, I did not love that Disney had chosen my name for its title character in The Little Mermaid. Frankly, this was a source of much pain as I already had to defend my name to others as not being a "girl's name." For the record, it is a male name in Hebrew although in recent years in English-speaking countries, it has been more commonly used as a female name.

But now, this.

I am sickened that someone with such a beautiful name -- my name -- could possibly do such evil things to women. And, as a man who truly loves women and cares deeply about their fate, I am disgusted that such things are done to women.

This is the case more than ever now that I have two precious daughters. Like some fathers, I have already considered placing microchips in my daughters. But, of course, that is not realistic.

So, what can I do? Unfortunately, nothing for this case's victims -- now survivors and heroes.

But, I am reminded of the Edmund Burke quote that hung framed in my childhood home: "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." Of course, the quote in my home was altered to include a "WO" in front of the word men, but that is another story.

I believe that woman hatred and the objectification and sexualization of women's bodies play a role in these kind of crimes.This is not to say that all men are capable of such evil. But, the statistics tell us that many men are capable of domestic violence and rape. So, our culture of objectification and violence against women must change.

Beyond guaranteeing that I will never personally view women as objects or be abusive to the women in my life, I am pledging to do more to speak out against woman hatred. I will write about it when I can. I will speak to the other men in my life about it. I will mentor boys on it. I will speak out if I ever suspect a case of domestic violence or sexual assault. I will support organizations such as Men Can Stop Rape and the National Organization for Men Against Sexism and support the very important work of Jackson Katz, co-founder of the Mentors In Violence Prevention (MVP) program, the leading gender violence prevention initiative in professional and college athletics.

This pledge is not simply a way to reclaim my name. I am hoping to do something to stop the triumph of evil against women.

Will you join me?