25 July 2016

The role men need to play in stopping family and domestic violence

Author :

With a reported 2 women a week being killed by their partners (or ex-partners) in Australia, the time for talking about preventing domestic and family violence has ended. It’s now time for the community to lead by example, taking the initiative that policy makers seem hesitant to take.

While domestic and family violence doesn’t only affect women and young girls, it is disproportionately our sisters, mothers, nieces, grandmothers and cousins who are directly impacted by domestic and family violence. Whether this is due to the lack of men reporting the crimes against them to the police or not, is for another article.

A current fall-back on social media is the “not all…” response. I’ve lost count of how often I’ve seen people calling for real change to lower the incidences of family and domestic violence, only to see the tweets drowned out under a flood of ‘not all men beat their wives and children.’

No one is saying they do, but all men can (and must) play a role in preventing it happening.

UN Women’s He for She campaign, launched in September 2014 by Actress Emma Watson, called on the men of the world to acknowledge that the fight to reduce gender equality needs their input and support, saying in her speech:

“I am inviting you to step forward, to be seen to speak up, to be the ‘he’ for ‘she’. And to ask yourself if not me, who? If not now, when?”

The He for She campaign website is filled with interesting facts and stories. For example, 14,944 Australian men have committed to making a difference and supporting the programmes aims. While this is a great start, it needs all of us to play our parts.

Men have an integral role to play in stopping domestic and family violence. Not by making themselves a hero, or perpetrating violence themselves, but by ensuring they hold not only themselves, but the men and boys around them to a higher standard.

In the 2010 report by the White Ribbon Foundation – Where Men Stand: Men’s roles in ending violence against women, the report examined how men themselves can play an important role in helping reduce and prevent men’s violence against women. The report suggested three key forms of action all men could take:

  • Avoiding the personal use of violence against women, or to put this more positively, practising non-violence
  • Intervening in the violence of other men; and
  • Addressing the social and cultural causes of violence.

Another key for action we can include in this list is telling appropriate jokes.

A joke is only a joke if it is funny. As the Australian media continues to be impacted by jokey blokes talking up violent behaviour against Australian women, the message being sent to the broader community is ‘violence against women is bad, but it’s perfectly okay if it’s the punchline for a joke on the TV or radio’.

By taking the time out to understand how our own attitudes and actions may perpetuate sexism and violence, the men of Australia can make a stance against misogyny and hate. While it is easy to dismiss things as being ‘PC’ the reality is, it’s not just words that hurt.

Family and Domestic violence is about control, it’s about power and it’s about dominance.
It’s the last refuge of weak men who are so afraid of not being perceived as ‘manly’ they hurt the ones they are supposed to love and protect the most.  

The need for men to stand up and speak out against domestic violence is one that cannot be understated. This has a powerful effect in bringing about a change in attitudes and social acceptability. By changing the attitudes that continue to support or perpetuate abuse, we can do more to bring an end to this epidemic than all the policy makers, in all three levels of Australian Government.

Taking the call to stand up and be counted are Dubai-based band Carl & The Reda Mafia who wrote and released the song “Fight for Your Queen,” to make their voices heard as part of the He for She campaign.

The bands lead singer Carl Frenais, who is originally from India, is a passionate supporter of gender quality and a vocal opponent of the horrifyingly violent crimes against women in his home country. By writing and releasing their song, the band were able to convince 500 men in Dubai to sing up to the He for She movement.

But you don’t need to be famous, or have a level of public exposure to hold yourself and others to a higher standard. We teach our children not to hit each other, not to bite, not to bully and yet the family and domestic violence abusers appear to think they are held to a different standard?

Surely, if we as a culture expect our 5 year old not to punch his sister, or bite his cousin than the men of the country can do their best to behave in a manner better than that of a 5 year old throwing a tantrum.

To make family and domestic violence a sad and pathetic chapter in Australian history, it takes more than just policy makers and money. It takes the men of Australia standing up and saying ‘enough is too much.’ We need to act, not observe. Observation gets us data, but actions get us results.

And ultimately, the result will be safer families, safer mothers, daughters, and sons. The result will be vliing a life that is worth living, not one crippled by fear, by pain and by secrecy.

Mike Cullen has recently returned to Akolade after a period as the conference producer for one of Australia's leading economic think tanks. Mike began working in the conference industry in 2007 after looking for a career change from the high pressured world of inbound customer service. Mike has worked for some of the most well-known conference and media companies in the B2B space and in his spare time is working on his first novel in a planned Epic Fantasy trilogy.

Mike’s most recently published story, Seeds of Eden, is featured in the Sproutlings Anthology released in March 2016.

1 comment :

  1. I believe the more people unite and address these issues, and keep addressing, and following up on them. The near future will provide measures and securities for people that have never been available before. This is a huge achievement and will be of greater benefit to all people in society and at every level. With security other issues, concerns or education can be addressed and ultimately will reduce the need for support,safety,services and funding from the government or others in our communities. To break down the barriers and make it impossible for perpetrators or shift blamers to continue using there tactics without be confronted and made accountable. It is only fare that everyone lives without fear or intimidation and has their individual needs and concerns addressed. We are all human and hurting another intentionally is not acceptable regardless off whether or not its your baby, parents neighbours kid or the cyclist on the road that cut you off. No one should harm or dominate anyone as this will only exaggerate problems safety and happiness as well as deprive a person or being from behaving and living in a happy healthy natural state. Which in turns creates more accidents and bad choices that continue to spiral on in a downwards or negative path. Providing our acknowledgements therefor an opportunity to escape or seek help during any stage of abuse, fear or uncertainty will be of great achievement and put security independence and wellbeing on the path to recovery or intervene a lot quicker while preventing further more complicated concerns and situations. To communicate and find the roots of contemporary issues today as a contribution to our children families and future generations.