Last month, I wrote about domestic and family violence. It is a hot topic at the moment, and rightly so. Domestic and family violence causes so much disruption to people’s lives and has ripple effects for children, women, and men. 1 in 4 families are affected by DFV, and that’s probably a conservative number because so much of it goes unreported. 1 woman on average is killed each week by her partner or ex-partner.
Have you been watching See What You Made Me Do on SBS? If not, check out this 3 part documentary on SBS Demand. But watch and listen carefully in the second episode how one man minimises his violence and blames the woman. ‘If she didn’t nag me I wouldn’t have snapped and tried to strangle her.’ What? That one slipped past the editing crew. Since when did someone’s words justify you trying to kill him/her?
Have you also seen the television ads ‘Unmute Yourself’ (https://youtu.be/9g4-puN2K9o)? They are brilliant. A boy is seen being aggressive to a girl, and one parent says ‘he probably just likes her’, and the other parent reflects ‘no, there is no excuse, we have to stop him’. A fella on the sidelines at the footy tells a young male player ‘stop playing like a girl’ and an older man says ‘what’s wrong with playing like a girl?’.
And finally I come to my point of this article. There is no excuse for violence of words or actions. What we teach our little boys is how they will grow up. Don’t give them a sense of entitlement, that just because they are boys they can do as they please. If they grow up rough they will be rough men, and it might be your daughter or daughter-in-law that they will be treating rough. Don’t blame the victim, ‘if she didn’t do this, he wouldn’t do that’. Teach your children that they can’t control anybody else but themselves and they alone are responsible for their thoughts, words, and actions.
I have had the opportunity and honour to observe a Men’s Behaviour Change group recently. There are a few organisations around (BaptistCare, Relationships Australia) that offer individual counselling and groupwork for men who use coercion, control, and violence with their partners and in their families. These programs are supportive and gentle, but they do challenge the men to take responsibility for their own behaviour. What I have learnt from the men in the groups is don’t grow your boys up rough. Acknowledge that they have feelings, and allow them to express their feelings. Grow them up as humans, regardless of gender.
We all have the power to end violence.
Article Written + Submitted by
Narelle Smith | Family Practitioner