Uncomfortable conversation men need to have to end violence against women


People would possibly have as soon as known as The Notebook one of the crucial romantic motion pictures ever however 17 years later, one scene specifically has not aged nicely.

Yet one other 12 months within the midst of a seemingly unending world pandemic has handed us by. And very similar to final 12 months when this all started, it has uncovered the startling fee of current social inequities, particularly these relating to women.

One of the worst impacts has been elevated charges of violence against women, with far too many women experiencing a rise in bodily, emotional and on-line abuse.

According to Destroy the Joint, 38 women have been killed this 12 months, many who have died by the hands of a accomplice or ex-partner. In 2015, my 23-year-old sister Nikita was a kind of women.

To those that knew Niki – as we affectionately known as her – she wasn’t only a statistic. Niki was a cherished sister, daughter and pal to many, and her life was tragically lower quick by her accomplice who stabbed her to loss of life.

Every 12 months since Nikita’s homicide, I have had many conversations with men – in particular person and on-line – about intimate accomplice violence, coercive management, sexism and misogyny.

These conversations are unavoidable for me, as a result of who can look away after we see such excessive charges of men’s violence and eventually, the information is overlaying these incidents?

This 12 months alone, we have learn concerning the hundreds of younger men who coerced and pressured younger women into intercourse, as a part of the testimonies on Chanel Contos’ Teach Us Consent petition, not to point out the various men chargeable for office abuse and harassment, which led to the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Respect@Work report.

And there’s additionally the high-profile male sport stars who have abused or harassed women.

Most men I do know, and have spoken to, agree that every one acts of violence against women need to be condemned and that this violence wants to cease.

They additionally agree that perpetrators needs to be held to account, and that we need responsive measures, equivalent to via our regulation and prison justice system.

But when it comes to what we need to do cease violence earlier than it begins, the conversations develop into extra advanced and uncomfortable. A whole lot of men assume that in the event that they aren’t violent themselves, then what may they presumably do?

While some men are engaged and concerned in being a part of the answer, by calling out disrespect and actively supporting gender equality, some aren’t. Some are nonetheless uncomfortable difficult their mates’ sexist attitudes and don’t see gender equality as a problem on which men needs to be taking motion.

The actuality is we nonetheless have a good distance to go.

Today, Our Watch launched the second version of Change the Story, a nationwide framework targeted on ending men’s violence against women, which makes clear the connection between men and masculinities, gender inequality and violence against women.

This is critical, as a result of violence against women in Australia is overwhelmingly perpetrated by men. For most women this violence is from a person that they know.

But we additionally know that this violence will not be inevitable, it’s preventable.

The proof reveals that men who conform to inflexible concepts of how to be a person – being dominant, in management, powerful, aggressive and stoic are extra probably to be sexist and disrespectful in direction of women, and finally extra probably to be violent in direction of them.

Change the Story highlights that we need to have a look at the methods our programs, constructions and broader tradition is contributing to gender inequality and perpetuating dangerous gender expectations for everybody, notably men.

This contains, for instance, the expectation that men needs to be the breadwinners, and never major carers for his or her youngsters.

We see this taking part in out in lots of workplaces, however particularly male-dominated ones, which have fewer part-time staff, and a tradition of lengthy work hours. Less flexibility signifies that men are unable to spend the identical period of time with their youngsters and this places extra strain on their feminine companions.

By having much less alternative for equal parenting, working fathers are robbed of selection as nicely. And we all know that dads right this moment need to play a extra hands-on and energetic parenting position in contrast to their fathers, so it looks as if a no brainer for workplaces to assist this.

We additionally see gender stereotyping play out in popular culture, the place a male character’s jealousy or controlling behaviour is forged as ‘romantic’ in a narrative, or in promoting the place men are forged as powerful or impassive, as if that’s the one method to ‘be a man’.

I believe many people can now acknowledge on reflection, that Ryan Gosling’s character in The Notebook, hanging off the Ferris wheel whereas demanding a date is much less romantic than it appeared on the time.

Some of the stereotypical traits of masculinity aren’t essentially dangerous in and of themselves, however they will develop into an issue when men really feel like they have to conform and reside up to these stereotypes persistently, and once they strain different men to match the identical mould. This inflexible attachment to these concepts helps preserve gender inequality, which we all know creates the circumstances for violence against women.

There are numerous methods to “be a man”, and by addressing these inflexible concepts and stereotypes of masculinity in any respect ranges of society, we will contribute to the prevention of violence against women.

If there’s one symbolic and highly effective gesture for masculinity in 2021 it’s the {photograph} by James Robinson who burnt his St Kevin’s blazer in response to the misogynistic and homophobic tradition he skilled on the college. Rather than being an act of defiance, Robinson mentioned that it was an act of therapeutic and of regeneration.

While many men know that we need to change, we additionally know that particular person motion can solely take us to date. To proceed to stamp out gender inequality, we should have a look at the broader social and structural modifications, which is what Change the Story focuses on.

But that is additionally a chance to be sincere, come collectively and have a look at how we will all create a greater future by taking collective motion.

Hopefully, like Robinson hopes, it may be a regeneration.

Tarang Chawla is an Our Watch Ambassador, Victorian Multicultural Commissioner and Founder of Not One More Niki. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter.

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