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

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.

All boys plus coach now rescued

The huge cave  rescue effort in Thailand has been successful, with all twelve boys plus their football coach now rescued.

Unfortunately one rescue diver died last week while preparing for the rescue.

RNZ: Football team and coach successfully rescued from Thai cave

The remaining “Wild Boars” and their coach have emerged from a flooded cave in northern Thailand and been taken to hospital.

The rescue mission commander, Narongsak Osottanakorn has confirmed that all 12 boys, their coach, and four Thai Navy SEALS who spent a week underground with them, have been brought out.

A team of Thai Navy SEALS and foreign divers guided four boys out on Sunday and a further four on Monday through narrow, murky flooded channels from deep inside the Tham Luang cave where they had been stranded for more than two weeks.

Read more on the final rescue as it happened.

Very good news.

Death of diver shows difficulty of Thai cave rescue, rain forecast

That it took nine days to find the thirteen people trapped deep in a cave in Thailand indicated the serious of their predicament.

It didn’t take long for warnings to be made about how difficult it would be getting them out of the flooded cave system, especially with the looming threat of several months of monsoon rains.

And the risks have been emphasised even more with the death of an expert diver, who ran out of oxygen on his way back out of the cave after dropping off oxygen tanks along the exit route.

BBC: Ex-navy diver dies on oxygen supply mission

Petty Officer Saman Gunan lost consciousness on his way out of the Tham Luang cave complex, where he had been delivering air tanks.

The group was found by British rescue divers after 10 days in the cave, perched on a rock shelf in a small chamber about 4km (2.5 miles) from the cave mouth.

Teams of Thai and international divers have since supplied them with food, oxygen and medical attention, but there are mounting concerns about the oxygen level in the chamber, which officials said had fallen to 15%. The usual level is 21%.

The death of Saman – a highly trained diver – on Thursday underscored the danger of moving from the chamber to mouth of the cave, and raised serious doubts about the safety of bringing the boys out through the cramped, flooded passageways.

The diver died after losing consciousness in one of the passageways, said Passakorn Boonyaluck, deputy governor of the Chiang Rai region, where the cave is situated.

“His job was to deliver oxygen. He did not have enough on his way back,” Mr Passakorn said.

Very sad.

On the surface, a huge military and civilian rescue operation is racing against the clock to bring the boys to safety. Heavy monsoon rains are expected on Sunday, threatening further flooding.

Officials had initially considered leaving the boys in the chamber to wait out the rainy season – which could have seen them trapped there for up to four months.

But Thailand’s Navy Seal commander suggested on Thursday that the divers may now have little choice but to attempt a daring emergency rescue – fraught with danger for the boys, who are aged 11 to 16 and some of whom cannot swim.

The latest news: Thailand cave rescue: no attempt to get boys out tonight, says governor

That was last night Thai time. It is nearly two weeks since they got trapped in the cave.

Official says even if rains start overnight, the football team ‘cannot dive at this time’

“There is no chance the boys will come out today. it is not suitable. they still cannot dive.”

He says the British diver, who came out of the cave at 9pm (local time), reported that the boys were fine.

The governor adds that he speaks to the families every day and asks if they want him to bring out the children right now. He says he wants the minimum risk before attempting the rescue.

If it rains, he says, the authorities “will try” to bring them out.

Efforts today to find appropriate locations to drill a shaft down to the stranded footballers were unsuccessful, meaning that the only viable option out is via the tunnels.

More: Full report: Falling oxygen levels add to risks of delays

Oxygen levels in their chamber may have fallen to about 15%, the deputy army commander Chalongchai Chaiyakham said at a briefing on Friday. Normal oxygen levels in the air are about 21%.

So many people – the boys, and the rescuers – in confined spaces are using up the available oxygen.

Updates from authorities throughout the week have emphasised the dangers of shepherding the boys through the cave to the exit, but the oxygen issues that emerged on Friday highlight the risks of keeping the boys in place during the monsoon.

Major decisions face those leading the rescue attempt. Very difficult decisions.

The cave is in Chiang Rai, which is in the north of Thailand:

Google Maps


Thailand is divided into three seasons.The first is the rainy or southwest monsoon season (mid–May to mid–October) which prevails over most of the country. This season is characterized by abundant rain with August and September being the wettest period of the year.

Nonetheless, dry spells commonly occur for 1 to 2 weeks from June to early July.

The boys and there coach became trapped just before a current dry spell.

This from shows the imminence of rain:



Questions about going into Thai cave during monsoon season

It was great news that the twelve boys from a soccer team and their coach were found alive deep inside a cave system in Thailand.

Guardian: Thailand cave rescue: where were the boys found and how can they be rescued?

When 12 missing Thai boys and their football coach were found alive deep in a cave system on Monday, joy was tempered with anxiety. The caves are flooded with surging monsoon waters, pitch black and in places too narrow to allow rescuers to pass while carrying scuba gear. None of the boys can swim or dive. The dilemma: risk a highly dangerous escape or wait possibly months for the waters to subside. Next 24 hours will be crucial in Thai cave rescue drama

A CAVE explorer assisting Thai authorities trying to rescue 12 trapped schoolboys believes “we’ll know in the next 24 hours” if they will live or die.

British cave expert Vern Unsworth, who lives in Thailand, said the conditions were getting worse and there was now a narrow window in which the group could escape.

“I think we’ll know in the next 24 hours…We’ll keep our fingers crossed – everybody needs to pray and hope for a good outcome,” Mr Unsworth told the BBC.

The boys aged between 11 and 16, along with their football coach, have been trapped in the flooded Tham Luang cave system for 12 days.

But heavy monsoon rain is coming, and Mr Unsworth said rain that had already fallen had caused a dramatic rise in water levels in the cave.

Obviously the rescue is the most important thing right now.

But I have to ask why they were in the cave at all in the monsoon season, especially if it could take months for the rainy season to finish and for waters to subside.

Is the level of flooding unusual, even during the monsoon? Or is it a common risk?

Wikipedia says that the Thai monsoon runs from May to October, so flooding must have been a risk for some time.



Boys and coach found alive in Thai cave

After a junior soccer team and their coach were trapped in a 10 km cave in a mountain in Thailand on Saturday 23 June (nine days ago) there was a sustained rescue attempt by Thai and international teams, often battling flood conditions.

The boys and coach have now been found alive.

Reuters: Junior soccer team found alive in Thai cave after nine days

Twelve boys and their assistant soccer coach have been found alive by rescuers inside a Thai cave complex nine days after they went missing, Chiang Rai province’s governor said on Monday.

The boys, aged between 11 and 16, went missing with the 25-year-old after soccer practice on June 23 after they set out to explore the Tham Luang cave complex in a forest park near by the border with Myanmar.

“Thai Navy seals have found all 13 with signs of life,” Governor Narongsak Osottanakorn told reporters who have been following the increasingly desperate search that has gripped the country.

Relatives of the boys, who have been at a shelter near the cave hoping for a breakthrough, were seen cheering, smiling and receiving calls after being given the news. Rescuers shook hands and congratulated each other as occasional cheers broke out.

It remains unclear whether any of the group are injured or in need of medical attention, but they have been given energy gels to sustain them while a plan is worked out to bring them to safety.

The shouldn’t have had a problem with thirst, but presumably will be hungry.

Wellington College student consequences

The two Wellington College students who triggered a social media scandal that spread through mainstream media and resulted in a protest at Parliament this week have had the consequences of their actions publicised.

The comment that started it all: If you don’t take advantage of a drunk girl, you’re not a Wc boy”

Newshub: Wellington College students stood down over rape comments

Wellington College has stood down two students for five days as a result of comments they made about rape, and the unnamed students have issued apologies.

The school’s board of trustees made the announcement on Wednesday afternoon.

These are the consequences issued to the two students:

  • Both students will be stood down for a period of five days.
  • School leadership responsibilities have been withdrawn.
  • Neither student will be allowed to represent the school in any sporting or cultural activities for an agreed period of time.
  • Both students have made personal apologies and will undertake community work over the next months.
  • Both students will undertake education about consent and healthy relationships.

“We have been unequivocal with these students and the rest of the school that the views expressed online last week have no place in our school or our community,” the board said in a statement.

“The school will continue to strengthen our existing education programmes on healthy relationships and consent. These have been in place for more than a year but we know we can do better. We are also going to be working with our parent community because it is clear that everyone has an important part to play in keeping everyone safe.”

As both boys are under the age of 18, some details are being withheld.

The unnamed boys both issued apologies:

“It is a really destructive attitude that leads to these sort of comments and I don’t want others to make the same mistake as me because it hurts lots of people and it is not OK under any circumstances to write and say what I did, or to joke about it,” one of the boys said.

The other wrote: “What I said was completely out of line and I deeply regret saying it”.

The attention these two boys have had to deal with is also a major consequence, as will the stigma they will carry for some time.

This may seem disproportionate given that they are probably unlucky to have been outed – stupid comments are often made  – but girls who are raped while under the influence of alcohol often suffer disproportionately to other girls who drink and get away with it unscathed.

But if it takes a media furore to raise attention and force these issues to be exposed and dealt with then so be it.

It is for the greater good if disrespectful and abusive behaviour is reduced and  responsibility amongst teenagers improves.


Garner: Jobs for the boys

Duncan Garner has tweeted () National’s jobs for the boys.

  1. Tim Groser to Washington shortly.
  2. David Carter to London (last time I asked him if he was set to be Speaker – he lied to my face)
  3. Gerry Brownlee to become Speaker. (Later knighted)

“I don’t guess in this game mate.”

For that it’s fair to give him a plug:

@RadioLIVENZ Drive from 3pm weekdays ‘where content is always king.’