White Ribbon Day gathering in Queen St Mall

Brisbane’s Queen Street Mall will be the site for a gathering of hundreds of men on Wednesday of next week as part of the build up to White Ribbon Day.

Former star of the (sadly now defunct) Brisbane Bullets basketball team, Leroy Loggins, will MC the event, which goes from 12.30 to 1.30.  Men from a range of backgrounds will speak about violence against women from their perspective as a digger, a Muslim, a police officer, an aboriginal man, and a young man.

White Ribbon Day is on 25th November and marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.  I’ve provided some support to it on different occasions in the past. Encouraging individual men to be publicly supportive of the issue and recognising the individual stake we all have in opposing violence against women can be a very powerful thing. Sitting back and leaving it up to government to ‘do something’ or assume it’s all up to others is a common affliction when it comes to responding (or not responding) to many social ills.

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165 Comments

  1. Naomi,

    One reason why I do not support the WRD and DV against Woman advertising campaigns, is that I believe their negativity is causing more damage and more deaths by further isolating men who are already suffering in silence and trapped in their situation.

    Whilst on the other hand, if you look at the phenomenal uptake of Movember in the last 2 years in Australia, you will see a more male friendly and supportive campaign being embraced by women as well as many 1000’s of men.

    In comparison I find the WRD campaign embarrassing and ineffective and a product that would only come from male hating feminists who do not have the common of good of all people at heart.

    It is good that you are starting to ask questions of why men do what they do. Please keep on asking questions and please try to find some answers.

    Dolphins,

    Try this reference for a start:

    http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/publications/synopses/withdrawn/mh11.pdf

    As I have said before DV is more complicated than simply seeing it as a physical assault on a partner.

    Also this recent study shows that of the many risk factors that may lead to suicide, relationship issues is ranked the highest risk factor.

    http://www.mcsp.org.au/files/user4/Albany_Mens_Resource_Centre.pdf

    Happy reading!

  2. Dolphins:

    I think a bit of extrapolative thinking might get you at least some of the answers you require. A man might suicide after being ejected from the family home by his wife, probably with the help of drugs and alcohol.

    Lots of men are thrown out of their jobs once they hit 40. It’s been happening for a very long time. The society doesn’t value experienced workers, and young people also have far less respect for their elders in the workplace and elsewhere.

    It’s not an unusual thing to find highly trained and experienced professional men working in call centres or more menial jobs.

    Naomi:

    I think women need to be taught to stick up for themselves quite a bit more. If we all did that, and were backed by our brothers, fathers etc in terms of both DV and rape, some people might learn quite a lesson about the acceptability of their behaviour.

    My daughter-in-law is 6 feet tall and used to run her own karate school.

    In the case of my mother, a person can hardly call in police 2 weeks after the alleged incident and there’s not a single mark on her. Even if someone had called them, she would have told them nothing had happened. If I had picked her up and carried her out of the house (quite difficult since she was bigger than me) she would have protested and come straight back.

    You can’t do things like that to other women anyway. You can’t treat them as if they are children. You have to empower them as independent adults, where possible.

    A sexual relationship is a fundamental part of a marriage. If you NEVER want to have sex with the other person, why are you still there, driving your adult children nuts with your complaining, and no intention of ever changing anything?

    We all offered to help Mum. We tried to get her to leave, even offering her a home. I even found a safe haven for her close to some shops/services, and looked into social security arrangements.

    You can take a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.

  3. Dolphins – Yes, I agree with you. I’ve read many articles and listened to people who work in support community based organizations, who believe, by the callers they seek to help, that the reasons for male suicides are many and varied. When there’s long term drought in any State for example, sadly, the suicide rate increases. I haven’t been able to find any documentation that points to just relationship/DV reasons.
    GLEN – “Do you agree that DV perpetrators need help or support like that received by DV victims?”
    Let me ask you; Do you agree that those who steal cars “need help or support like that received by DV victims?” Or do you believe, that the law should take care of the perpetrators, and it’s up to the them to seek “help or support”? Why take a different stance on DV?IF males who commit violent acts want to change their behaviour, out of their professed love for the victim they’d seek it – those who do are to be encouraged and welcomed, but it’s not the victims’ place to negotiate anger management; in fact, I’d suggest that they could be the worst ones to try due to fear, resentment, anger and maybe even hatred, particularly if their children were involved. I’ve never heard a victim say “there there dear, let’s go see a counsellor”! They’d probably cop it again! Many perps blame them anyway. “You made me do it, because?- you’re useless, hopeless, stupid or ?”
    “..their stats for DV against women were only based on hospital emergency admissions.” In that case their stats would be lower than reality as most women don’t present to hospital -The ABS and the National Crime Authority, State govts, refuges, rape crisis centres, midwives and other health and support services (including rape centres at hospitals)have stats re DV. It’s also recognised, that DV costs the economy approx. $8 billion per year.

  4. I wonder if GLEN, IAIN or LORIKEET have either spoken to or read about a woman who’s been abused by their partner/s (apart from your mother LORIKEET?). I suggest not. Have you known a male friend who you suspected of abusing his wife/partner/children?Did you intervene? With all the ‘but’ comments, you overlook an important aspect; it’s not as simple as you portray, and until you take the time to read personal stories etc, they just emphasize the impacts of abuse by taking the ‘but’ side of the issue. If other crimes of violence are considered crimes, why a different stance on DV? That’s been the problem for too long. ‘Behind closed doors, personal business, none of mine, that’s his right, she deserved it, asked for it, she’s lazy’ – blah blah!

    The horrific stats re DV aren’t just applicable to Australia. The crimes of violence against women and kids, particularly by partners/husbands etc is a world issue; that’s why the UN sets aside the days from Nov 25-Dec 10 each yr. When war zones etc are included, there’s an undeniable problem with attitudes to women. How people can spend almost 2 months on the ‘but’ bandwagon is quite frankly, amazing and personally, troubling and saddening. Why would a woman approach any of those who are looking for rational ‘reasons’ or ??? is beyond me. In short, they wouldn’t – why take a chance on being rejected by antagonistic people ‘outside’? Your attitudes could have caused many women to shut up, and not have the courage to seek help again – perhaps for years! More years of abuse! I hope none of them have read some posts here! Ring a helpline or go to a refuge!

  5. Glen: again, there is a misunderstanding — I don’t think the proponents of WRD are saying that their campaign is against physical violence only. I know from personal experience that it is usually more than that, though that is bad enough. Yes, relationship issues are high among the factors involved in suicide, but those issues may stem from financial difficulties, substance abuse, mental illness, poor interpersonal skills … and these may or may not feed into abuse of/by the partner. It is clear that this is all linked in some cases, and in other cases it isn’t. My last word in this subject is that if non-abusive males feel that their good name is being blackened by a campaign that targets abusive males, then perhaps they need to target the abusive males too. Or, if they have some need for activism, support a campaign against abusive females … show the statistics, show case studies – if the cause is there then organise to get something done about it, but don’t whinge about those who DO have a case and whose cause is being supported. Thanks for the references, by the way, but while valid, they relate to a separate issue (male mental health) and again they are 10 years old, and maybe you need to agitate to get more work done on this.

    Lorikeet: My point is that there are people posting here who claim that the stats for DV against men by women are greater, or as significant as those WRD has publicised about male DV on families. They are claiming (in some cases) that male suicide rates are directly linked to females oppressing males, and some of these claimants link the Family Court to the high rates of male suicide. (High rates, by the way, that have existed since the early 20th century, long pre-dating the Family Court.) What they have not done, though, is produce stats or other studies supporting their claims.

  6. Naomi,

    Yes reasons for suicide are varied, however if only 2 of the 4 suicides per day were directly linked to emotional abuse from a partner then 700 male deaths per year is still nearly double the female death rate of all DV and suicides. There are also many suicides that are not recorded such as car accidents and the like.

    There are not a lot of studies out there looking at male suicide. One reason is that the Office for Women are not interested and therefore do not provide any funds for this. They are generously funded to provided whatever is required for women’s needs. State and Federal Governments are only interested in youth suicide and men are ignored. The second link I gave is a recent study on male suicide in a local rural area that focuses on older men. You will not find too many studies like this anywhere as it was by funded by state/local authorities.

    Naomi – I believe that we need to provide support for all people with problems. I do not agree with what the Americans do and just lock people up and throw away the key. The law should protect everybody and provide means for all people to be rehabilitated.

    I know or have known friends and colleagues both male and female that have suicided or been murdered due to marriage breakups or abuse within the relationship. I professionally work with children and encounter all types of abuses every week. I see parents in conflict, drug abuse, people that lack appropriate communication skills, children that abuse their parents. I don’t need to read personal stories as I see and hear enough every week. I also do not experience a prevailing gender as the abuser or victim. Everyone suffers!

    I am not trying to downplay the example of abuses against women that you emphatically give in your posts. All I am saying is that DV needs to be seen from a bigger picture perspective than the one sided view you have. If done so then I believe we will find the answers we need to deal with it.

  7. Dolphins,

    ABS data shows that male suicide in the 15 – 35 age range has increased dramatically in last 30 years and has not remained constant. The second link I gave is not very old.

    All the reasons for suicide are linked. You cannot separate each reason, for example depression, and say that it was the sole cause for suicide, unless you want to hide the real reasons.

    If you have been in a relationship then you will know that financial decisions can cause a lot of conflict, and also the lack of communication skills, mental illness all which can lead to DV. Substance abuse is usually a result of the above where a person cannot cope with the abuse in their relationship or conflict. All this inevitably leads to depression which can then lead to suicide.

    Separation and divorce is like a double edged sword.

    First the couple have to deal with the abuse from each other and then they have to survive the legal side.

    Family court decisions usually give majority care of kids to the mother. This usually results in the mother receiving most of the assets of the marriage, which then results in the father having to pay the mother child support which stops him from re-establishing his life or having a meaningful relationship with his kids.

    From this process I can come up with many reasons why life might not be worth living for the father, and other agendas whether they exist or not.

    Please show me some evidence that WRD is about all forms of DV and not just about physical assault?

    I think that both men and women should unite to end DV. Making men the sole persons responsible for fixing the problem will not eliminate DV against women.

    The claims I and others are making are self evident. There is no real need for intellectual government funded studies to tell us what is obvious in relationships.

    You only need to ask family and friends what they think about these issues. Lorikeet did so and got a very strong response in favour of what we are saying.

  8. I think Glen views the situation from a much broader perspective than some.

    In regard to Family Court, unfairness can occur on either side. I think it is a far more common experience that the father is able to rebuild his life, while the mother goes backwards.

    There has been a fairly recent shift to 50/50 parenting, and a 50/50 division of assets depending on the parents’ circumstances. This has mainly advantaged men, not women or children, with government also sending mothers out to work.

    Naomi:

    I have never known of any men complainng of abuse by their wives, but I’ve already told you twice why that is. I’m not doing it a third time.

    The only women I have known who were abused by their husbands were too co-dependent to act in their own best interests. They just kept coming back for more, instead of drafting up their “Bill of Rights” as to what they would put up with in future.

    One of these women had a full-time job. Her husband didn’t go to work, mow the lawn or do anything useful. He just drank, ordered her about, demanded food and also abused their child.

    I was only a child myself at the time, and could therefore do nothing. There were other options available the woman could have taken.

    As a child, I remember much worse domestic violence going on in at least 2 homes in our street.

  9. Glen – according to the White Ribbon Day website http://www.whiteribbonday.org.au/About-WRD-34.aspx “The White Ribbon Foundation of Australia aims to eliminate violence against women by promoting culture-change around the issue. The major strategies to achieve this are a national media campaign as well as education & male leadership programmes aimed at men and boys around Australia. ” It was orginally a reaction in Canada after a man targetted 14 women and I gather killed them, simply because they were women. I’m sure you deplore this kind of action. An example from a police PR statement in the ACT : “”On average, ACT Policing officers attend around 3600 domestic violence matters per year, 92% of which are committed by male offenders. Nationally, one in three women report being subjected to violence at the hands of a male at some point in their lives.” http://www.afp.gov.au/media_releases/act/2008/police_support_white_ribbon_day

    If you have a problem with the campaign, not aimed at blaming every male, but aimed at enlisting them in showing support for the non-use of violence against women, then as has been said, gather support for your own cause and marshall stats etc to get it recognised.

    Perhaps my history as a victim and as a worker in this area makes me extrapolate into the statements above a broader definition of “violence” that you want to see there.

    Perhaps you are right, and all the people saying that women suffer disproportionately from violence directed against them by that sub-group of men who commit such acts are wrong. Please let us know what constructive actions you want taken and are willing to help organise .. rather than narking about some cause you don’t approve of?

  10. I have given further thought to this matter, and almost without exception, any DV cases I have ever known of had alcohol involved. I can only think of a couple of cases involving drugs, or drugs and alcohol combined.

    So I think a large part of the solution must lie with the government doing something more about the consumption of alcohol.

    If there was better access to mental health services, the situation might be further improved.

    So that’s 2 important isssues that have been inadequately addressed by both State and Federal governments.

  11. LORIKEET “I have given further thought to this matter, and almost without exception, any DV cases I have ever known of had alcohol involved. I can only think of a couple of cases involving drugs, or drugs and alcohol combined.” Christine Nixon who is Victoria’s Police Commissioner in an article in the Bulletin a few years ago (written by Deborah Light, a journalist, and a victim of a violent father) said, that she thought some men drink in order to commit violence against their wives/children, rather than the way this aspect is treated by many. I think she has a point that is certainly worth thinking about. However, you’re still making excuses for their behaviour.

    The other important aspect in violence against women by men, is that the men aren’t usually violent against anyone else. Why is that? Probably because as cowards, they wouldn’t be able to cope with someone who was on an equal footing. They don’t commit violence against their colleagues, mates or siblings or strangers, just their wives/partners, mothers of their children; they come from all walks of life, and so do their victims. And you and Glen etc have spent weeks making breaks for them. You can’t help yourself! You blame the women, other wholly or partially, but you probably don’t blame victims of house or car theft, bank robberies etc! The type of men who abuse women need to have the power; it’s the power that prompts the behaviour; they’re incapable of adult discussion re issues, and believe that their lives, needs, wants are paramount. It’s amazing how a man who insists that he loves his wife/partner can whack her across the head and then go and answer the phone or the door as though everything is fine. What sort of a person can do that, do you think? One sick bastard that’s who! They don’t need relationship counselling, they’ve past that point! They don’t deserve to have a relationship or their kids either! And their punching ‘bags’ shouldn’t have to prop them up by being concerned about them

  12. LORIKEET, GLEN and IAIN – If you really want an insight into the types of abusers and the affects, read Journey by Danielle Steel (yes, a novel)Just a small grab;
    “..a woman who has seen domestic violence at home as a child, say with a physically abusive father, may think that a man who never beats her phsically is a great guy, but he may be ten times more abusive than her father, much subtler and far more dangerous.He can control her, isolate her, threaten her, terrorize her, insult her,belittle her,demean her, disrespect her, withold affection or money from her. Abandon her or threaten to take away her children,but she won’t have a mark on her,and he tells her she’s one lucky woman, and what is worse she believes it. And you’ll never be able to put him in jail, because when you nail the bastard for what he did to her, he’ll tell you that she’s crazy, stupid, dishonest, psychotic and lying to you about him.”
    “..sometimes it happens to beautiful, smart women that you can’t believe would fall for it. Sometimes they’re the easiest targets.Women who are more streetwise are less apt to buy the bullshit.They’re the ones who get the shit kicked out of them. The others are tortured more subtly.”
    Go to the library or buy it at Kmart or somewhere. It’s worth reading to get an insight into the grooming, the psychological mind games, and the sheer evil of some, too many men! The author must have 1st or 2nd? hand knowledge! When self esteem, self confidence is removed, and fear is a strong deterrent; it’s not hard to understand how it happens. Sadly, it’s often AFTER the woman has left that the real clarity arives, and understandably anger follows – in place of shame! But that journey is not pleasant – necessary, vital even, but not pleasant! What then? Go to the police? And try to prove what exactly?

  13. Naomi:

    Thank you for showing everyone what a dreadful attitude you have towards men. I wouldn’t waste my time reading the book you suggest, because all it appears to do is cast men and women into aggressor/victim (adult/child) rolescenario.

    I don’t think it is normal for anyone to take such ridiculous ideas away from any kind of abusive home life. We all have reality checks outside of our own homes, don’t we?

    Also to suggest that a man deliberately drinks in order to hurt his wife is the craziest idea I’ve ever heard.

    Some people (men and women) have addictive personalities which lead them to alcoholism, drug abuse, smoking, gambling etc. Some are addicted to a person or activity. Some are unhappy in their relationships.

    I think the best thing to do is to find out what is wrong, and do something about it before the problem escalates.
    I will remind you again that I am a trained exit counsellor, and I am well aware that some manifestations of destructive cultism can occur between a husband and wife in the home. The control freak could be either the man or the woman.

    When I was a child, the husband and wife living across the street both got drunk and then bashed one another. I’ve already told you of another couple who threw saucepans of boiling water and hot food over one another, and also broke chairs over each other’s heads.

    Also, your previous contention that a woman with martial arts training wouldn’t have sufficient strength to hurt a man is partly fallacial. Success at martial arts is largely based on skill and technique.

    The women you are discussing are the ones who are extremely co-dependent. Their men have probably had no respect for them, because they didn’t draw a boundary line early in the piece.

    Sometimes when counsellors/psychologists work only with a select group of people, they lose objective insight into the society as a whole. I suspect that is what has happened to you.

    I am not condoning domestic violence.

  14. Naomi
    I have seen more than my share of Danielle Steele’s fiction and the one thing that is consistent about all of it is that it is rather divorced from reality.
    Now while I don’t doubt that some men do try to emotionally manipulate their partners when it comes to that “art” women, as a gender are by far the superior masters of that skill. Anyone who has been in a long relationship will acknowledge that there has to be an ongoing negotiation and each party will constantly try to get their own personal agenda to the forefront. It could be conflict over the trivial (like the positioning of the toilet seat) or it could be about serious matters like paying the rent rather than booze or drugs but it is always important HOW these matters are negotiated. Domestic violence is the result of a failure of civility in such negotiations.
    I don’t know how much practical first hand experience you have of relationships but I suggest investigate some that have endured for a long time and you will see that the common factor is almost always a willingness to compromise by both parties as much as it is a shared goal fro the relationship. I suppose what I am suggesting is that instead of focusing your attention on all that is wrong in relationships that fail that you should look and the ones that work and see it there is a lesson there that can help those that fall into dysfunction and violence.

  15. Thanks to everyone for their contributions on this post. At the risk of ebing accused of censorship, I might close off comments now. I believe this is a very important topic, but it seems to me that people are basically making the same arguments over and over without really hearing each other – and two months is a good enough length of time for people to give their views.

    Seeing Iain started it off, it’s probably also apt that he finishes it off too (although I must say that, 164 comments after the first, I still haven’t seen any explanation of why White Ribbon Day could be described as “misandry” (or man-hating), given that it is men (including me) who are the ones who publicly promote and support it.)

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