Something We Should Talk About

This is video is making the rounds at the moment…

This¬†segment, from “The Project” host Waleed Aly, is a welcome addition to the the discussion around these issues. As I’ve said before, it is a discussion that is well overdue and one I’m glad to see is gaining some traction.

Segments like this and movies like “The Mask You Live In” give us a platform to base these discussions around. Social media is pounding us with horrific data about domestic violence on a daily basis, and as confronting as it is… this is a good thing. It’s about time.

As I’ve said before though, I think the discussion is missing the mark. It’s great that it’s happening but I think the focus is wrong. This segment talks about funding some much needed programs in Australia to help the victims of domestic violence. That’s hard to argue with. The victims of this abuse need to be protected and supported with the aftermath of their attack. But the focus here, and in much of the discussion that’s happening is about just that.. the aftermath. Our discussions, for the most part are about responsive approaches. I think we need to be discussing this with a PROactive headset.

I want to state here that I know that men can be victims of domestic violence as well. This is no less horrific and no person should be subjected to abuse by another person regardless of gender. Having said that, in the vast majority of cases, women are the victims. Because of this, domestic violence is often talked about as a ‘women’s issue’. I don’t agree. This is most definitely a men’s issue. Men hit women. Men verbally abuse women. Men sexually abuse women.

If we really want to make a difference and change the data, we need to work on this with our boys. I know I’ve talked about this a LOT but it’s something that I feel strongly about. If we can plant the seeds of change with our boys from an early age, we have a much better chance of improving things. I’m not talking about “don’t hit women”. The conversation needs to be about challenging¬†ideas around masculinity, power, and the ideas we spread about ‘being a man’. It’s a big conversation and it’s not going to be a quick fix. We are talking about generational change which means we need to get started now.

Our education department here in SA (DECD) has committed to become a ‘White Ribbon Accredited Workplace‘. This is a great start, but it’s not the only thing we should be doing. We have a unique opportunity to work with the next generation of adults. It’s a huge responsibility. We have room for boys programs in our schools. In ALL of our schools. Wouldn’t it be great if we could harness this and start working toward a more positive future?