Addressing male violence involves everyone

There are many reasons for violence, and women and even girls can be violent and can provoke violence, but there;s no doubt that most violence and in particular the most damaging violence is from men, and boys learn from that.

Australian Dr Michael Salter, Associate Professor of Criminology at Western Sydney University, has written in the Sydney Morning herald about the complexities of preventing violence.

A few years ago, I was speaking to an Aboriginal educator about his work with men’s groups. I asked him how he got men to engage with the issue of violence against women. He said that he started every workshop by asking the men, “What kind of father do you want to be? What kind of husband? What kind of man do you want to be?”

He went on to make a comment that has always stayed with me. I return to it again and again in my anti-violence work. He said, “I’ve seen the hardest, hardest, most brutal-looking men reduced to tears in that very moment because everybody, I think, wants to be good.”

Almost everybody wants to be good, to be better.

No boy grows up aspiring to hurt the people he cares about. We all want to live in families and communities characterised by security, warmth and trust.

However, violence destroys these relationships.

Violence is not a strategy in which men win and women lose. With violence, everybody loses.

The reason men and boys need to help prevent violence against women is very simple. For as long as this violence persists, it will continue to eat away at the relationships that sustain us and make our lives
meaningful.

To end violence against women, we need to work with people where they are at: in communities and institutions where change is needed, and even wanted, but hasn’t yet taken place.

This is challenging work, because it means engaging respectfully with diverse groups who have a range of views about gender relations and equality. However, it is by bringing men and boys into the conversation that we can understand what they want out of their lives, show how violence is an obstacle to achieving those dreams, and find non-violent solutions.

Men and boys ‘into the conversation’, individually and as groups, is important. Especially men and boys who are having problems with violence – and also women and girls who are subjected to violence, and are mixed in with violent lifestyles.

The best way that men can help prevent gendered violence is to collaborate with women to build families and communities we are proud to be a part of: where violence and inequality has no place, and everyone wins.

Sounds good. It is difficult to achieve, because intergenerational violence has been a problem for a very long time, and learning less violence, and more equal relationships, will take time to turn things around. This involves men and boys, and women and girls, learning how to deal with violence better, and how to avoid and prevent violence – the things that cause and provoke violence as well as violent acts themselves.

It’s complicated, but we need to get much better at dealing with and preventing violence.

Leave a comment

33 Comments

  1. Gezza

     /  November 25, 2018

    As long as we still value or excuse violence between men there’ll be violence towards women & children.

    Reply
    • And as long as violence by woman to men is seen as a bit of a joke, there’ll be violence, full stop.

      Greg Newland said that a woman with a black eye from a man is an object of pity, but a man with a black eye from a woman is an object of mirth.

      I wonder what the courier who was the first to see me with two black eyes after that accident would have looked like had a man come to the door with a cut face and two black eyes. I bet that his expression would have been quite different.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  November 25, 2018

        Hello, PDT. (Pathetic, Dull Troll)

        Reply
      • Griff.

         /  November 25, 2018

        Well said kitty .
        Some woman think it is ok to slap and abuse men.
        We see the same sort of double standard when a woman sexually abuses a child .
        Violence and abuse is a problem for society not a hammer to be used only against men .

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  November 25, 2018

          A woman did a sex act on her baby and sold the video. She didn’t go to prison. I bet that a man would have, even if it had been what I think it was and not ‘real’ sex.

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  November 25, 2018

            I couldn’t find that one, but did find one where a woman did something with a child of nine….and avoided prison because her mother took her in. Her defence was that she wasn’t aroused and didn’t fancy children, really. I think I see a man avoiding prison under the circs. I don’t know or want to know if it was her own child/ren.

            Reply
  2. Mother

     /  November 25, 2018

    ‘Sounds good. It is difficult to achieve, because intergenerational violence has been a problem for a very long time, and learning less violence, and more equal relationships, will take time to turn things around.’

    It does sound good. We need to hold to our Christian values. True Christianity always brings peace. Presently most churches do not value/teach/practise equality. This creates frustration, which is the beginning of strife. Therefore, I recommended that we each hold fast to our Christian principals whatever we do about church.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  November 25, 2018

      People holding fast to their Christian principals is what has got all these Catholic bishops & cardinals in the grotney pudding.

      Reply
    • Griff.

       /  November 25, 2018

      True Christianity always brings

      The No True Scotsman (NTS) fallacy is a logical fallacy that occurs when a debater defines a group such that every groupmember possess some quality. For example, it is common to argue that “all members of [my religion] are fundamentally good”, and then to abandon all bad individuals as “not true [my-religion]-people”.

      Reply
      • PartisanZ

         /  November 25, 2018

        Holy Mother … Well said Griff!

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  November 25, 2018

          The number of priests accused is, I believe, less per capita than the number of men generally accused.

          A priest I knew loved children and looked at them as if they were all angelic. He used to touch them lovingly and innocently, but I bet that he doesn’t now.

          Reply
          • Griff.

             /  November 25, 2018

            The issues with the Catholic Church is not so much the abuse .
            It is the fact that the church allowed it to happen for so long covering abuse up and enabling more.
            I have seen many times Catholics claim priestly abuse is less than in society
            Do not believe anything they say as they have a long history of denial, coverup and misdirection.

            Reply
            • Kitty Catkin

               /  November 25, 2018

              This was someone who knew, not a Catholic making excuses; he had the statistics.

              My husband’s friend went to prison for what was obviously a pack of lies. Is it remotely credible that he could walk around naked and unnoticed in the Orthodox clergy house which was also a busy diocesan office ? Or abuse the boys when he wasn’t even in the country at the time? The judge was openly anti-clergy and said that there would have been other victims and that they should advertise. They did and nobody answered. This was somehow also proof of guilt. It happened in Canada and I suspect that the judge had the French anti-clerical bias.

      • Mother

         /  November 25, 2018

        I wasn’t thinking of Christianity as a them and us thing, nor really a religious thing. I am actually trying to find out whether or not we want to be a country with Christian values, because our laws etc were set up on Christian values. Is it worth fighting to maintain the status quo (a country founded on Christian values) or are we content to be complacent about this? Countries with Christian values are the least violent. I will always want NZ to hold to our Christian heritage, for the sake of the children.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  November 25, 2018

          The thing is, our society has now moved ahead of “Christian values”. Christian values are themselves somewhat fluid and believers in the Bible tend to pick and choose which parts they follow and which parts they do not. Some people’s “Christian values” are actually rather harsh. There are many contradictions in the Bible. As more and more people get better educated the myths and nonsense in the Bible are seen for what they are.

          And many people with so-called “Christian values” (e.g. who say they believe in the 10 commandments) demonstrably don’t follow them. They shag around. They divorce. They swear. They steal. They are not charitable. They criticise their elders. etc. Jesus never abrogated the Old Testament’s advocacy of slavery as long as the slaves were not Israelites, as another example. And while many Christians opposed it, others supported it. The fact we abhor it nowadays has nothing to do with Christianity. It has to do with developing more empathy and humanity than is instructed in the Bible.

          Which is why we have a bit of a struggle with defining our values. They need to be better than the 10 commandments. The UN Declaration of Human Rights and our Bill of Rights kind of try to do that, but the flaw in these is that they demand that everyone respect everyone else’s religion, and Islam and even its other 2 Abrahamic predecessors, Judaism and Christianity, need to be criticised and some parts of them disrespected before people will abandon them.

          Reply
          • Mother

             /  November 25, 2018

            The Christian values I am talking about are the ones encouraged by the new covenant. This brings both freedom and peace. This is what reduces violence. I agree that the Bible has what seem to be contradictions. But the overall message is help for mankind. That kind of help reduces violence.

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  November 25, 2018

              The overall message is that if you believe what you are told about Christianity and Jesus and emulate him or follow what he is said to have done and said you will go to heaven and be in paradise eternally, and if don’t believe it, you will go to hell and suffer eternally for rejecting him. This is not going to happen and is not acceptable, nor freedom, nor peace.

            • Mother

               /  November 25, 2018

              ‘Harsh’
              I agree. From personal experience I know you’re right. I think we’re moving on from being able to cope with harshness. It’s a hopeful realisation. People with hope are not violent.

            • Gezza

               /  November 25, 2018

              People with hope are not violent.

              Too trite. That all depends on what they’re hoping for.

        • Gezza

           /  November 25, 2018

          @ Mother.

          Christian Values? The Sermon on the Mount. The Beatitudes. Have a watch. A former Baptist pastor who wanted to be the best Christian he could be so went to Bible College. But he turned out to be too curious and too intelligent not to realise the truth there.

          Reply
  3. PartisanZ

     /  November 25, 2018

    For the source of violence in a man, look to his relationship with his parents … Mother and Father both … and siblings …

    For the nourishment of violence in a man, look to his family, neighbourhood, school, sporting, cultural, social and societal environment …

    Which is not to rule out ‘nature’ …

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  November 25, 2018

      No, indeed.

      Years ago one of the sons of a man who was the music master at Collegiate School was one of two who callously murdered two old people, stole things from the house and stole the car. All the other brothers and sisters had careers. There was nothing and nobody like that in the family. Who knows why that boy went so terribly wrong?

      I have told the story before about the boy from a family of career criminals whom my mother taught and thought would go a different way. He didn’t.

      When I was looking at houses in Wanganui and asked a friend what X St was like, she just said that the S’s lived in the next one. I didn’t bother to look at the house.

      Reply
      • PartisanZ

         /  November 25, 2018

        “No” to nurture and nature then is it, Miss Kitty?

        What’s left? Random chance … ?

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  November 25, 2018

          Well, in the case of the first boy, there must have been a quirk in his brain that made him into a criminal who ended up (if that was the end of his crimes) murdering two old people in a home invasion.

          In the case of little S, the environment must have been stronger than anything else. He was an intelligent child, and my mother was very disappointed for him when she saw his name in the paper.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  November 25, 2018

            The fundamental problem is that humans are one of the four Great Apes. The drives and behaviours you see in male gorillas are still there in us. And small children often hit each other until taught not to and they begin to be old enough to experience empathy. Proper socialisation is critical. And the Dunedin study
            & others showed that there IS actually a gene which predisposes some individuals to violence and crime. Brought up in the correct environment & socialised well this innate tendency is overcome. Brought up neglected or in a violent environment they have a high probability of being violent criminals. Other overseas research (eg using brain scans) in prisons has corroborated this study.

            Reply
            • Kitty Catkin

               /  November 25, 2018

              In the case of young AW, there was nothing that anyone could think of that would make him go like that.

              The S’s are petty criminals, thieves and pickers-up of unconsidered trifles. Living one street away from them, although it was a nice street, did not appeal. You couldn’t leave anything out and expect it to still be there later. It was a great shame that my mother’s intelligent pupil who could have had a career followed in the family’s footsteps.

              Tangent: I had forgotten the detail in A Child of the Jago (1870) that the time off for good behaviour happened then; it was called something like earning your marks and the hero’s father earned his and was out early. That time; he ended up on the gallows.

            • PartisanZ

               /  November 25, 2018

              The 1.6% difference between our DNA and that of our nearest “Great Ape” relatives the Chimpanzees certainly sets us apart though, doesn’t it?

              We appear to be the only Great Apes capable of choosing how we live and behave – largely a product of nurture – and our nurture itself is almost miraculous compared to theirs – of having spirituality, and of making quantum advances in technology that have allowed us to go to the moon and transplant human hearts, lungs & kidneys … etc etc etc almost ad infinitum … language, science, technology, art … you name it …

              Ah … there’s the rub …

              It’s really a question of definition … of “naming” … and one thing we do know about “the names for things” is that the name and the thing “in itself” are not the same …

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hominidae

              Humans will probably continue to behave like Great Apes so long as we see ourselves that way and are encouraged to do so …

            • Gezza

               /  November 25, 2018

              The problem is our capacity for aggression is so strongly inbuilt even those who think they are total pacifists or too weak to fight easily turn to things like posting comments in newspapers and blogs and twitter & demonstrate aggression there. You’re right in a way – but until we understand that that is what we are and our that much higher reasoning capacity than other apes possess can be and is often simply transformed into different ways of seeking to dominate or to resist domination by someone else’s actions or thinking we probably won’t make much progress. It doesn’t take much to bring out the animal in humans.

  4. Alan Wilkinson

     /  November 25, 2018

    So long as women partner with violent men we will have family violence. Seems to me hypocritical to condemn violence but enjoy violent movies and videos. I find them both repugnant and boring but many seem to be excited by them including many women.

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  November 25, 2018

      They do nothing for me, either.

      I do like a good whodunnit, though.

      Reply
  5. Trevors_Elbow

     /  November 25, 2018

    ‘Addressing Violence involves everyone’

    I know way to many woman who are free with their fists to allow that headline not to be edited to my first sentence.

    The problem of calling it male violence is that when a man hits his body weight and muscle mass are normally way larger than than the average woman. Its classic confusion of action and outcome.

    A woman punches me – meh, I’m pretty large so chances of damage very small. I punch a woman, bones are breaking….

    Addressing violence in society is an everyone thing and singling out men is unfair and counterproductive in my rather jaundiced view

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  November 25, 2018

      Have you noticed how often violence towards men and men being hurt is considered amusing on television ? Not that I see much television, but there is a real pattern there. There was an ad for Dodge cars where a woman was punching and verbally abusing a man as they drove along. She was hitting him hard, too. Imagine the hoohah if she’d been driving and he was abusing and punching her ! I don’t usually make complaints, but I did over that. The excuse was feeble and specious.

      Reply
  1. Addressing male violence involves everyone — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition

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