Added: Alexsandra Struble - Date: 18.09.2021 13:11 - Views: 14742 - Clicks: 2449
Over the last 15 years Australia has been at the forefront of violence prevention efforts, developing policies and programs that aim to stop gendered violence before it occurs. Violence against women is on the public agenda as never before.
The work of the Australian of the Year Rosie Batty, appointed in recognition of her advocacy work following the murder of her son Luke by her ex-partner, has been an important turning point.
The subordination of women by violence and other means has become the target of mass media coverage, social media interest and preventive effort at all levels of government. This brings with it the challenge of translating traditionally feminist concerns about gender inequality and violence to a much broader constituency.
Engaging men and boys in community-wide desistance from physical and sexual violence is a prominent but unresolved question in this work. Criminological research suggests that violence is a key practice through which masculinity is constructed and embodied. On the other hand, characterising masculinity in the negative terms of violence and aggression is likely to alienate men and boys from prevention efforts. We need ways of speaking to men and boys about gender and violence that encourage change but avoid stigma.
These approaches contain positive messages about masculinity as strong, benevolent and fundamentally oriented away from violence against women. They aim to validate the masculinity of non-violent men while shaming perpetrators of violence. The question is whether this approach will ultimately change male behaviour and keep women safe. History shows us that violence against women has coexisted with its public denunciation for a long time.
Historian A. James Hammerton described the nineteenth-century English tradition in which groups of young men constructed effigies of known wife-beaters to be paraded and beaten around the village before being set on fire. Hammerton argued it was a ritualised projection of masculine authority through the humiliation of men, and women, deemed to have breached social codes of respectability. Other similar rituals were performed targeting women complaining of rape or suspected homosexuals, since they were also considered to be challenging the gendered social hierarchies of the day.
This is a history that is worth bearing in mind as men take prominent positions in public discussions about violence against women. It is undoubtedly true that speaking out against this violence reflects the genuine convictions of many boys and men. Nonetheless, conviction alone is not enough to stop that violence, particularly if it is reworked into declarations of manliness rather than directed to more constructive ends.
There is ificant slip in the language of violence prevention that, at least for some, is being read as a powerful reaffirmation of gender inequality. In the ensuing discussion, Joyce foregrounded cultural change and respect as the solutions to violence against women. All these things so we can change the attitude so we can show that we respect people. Joyce appeared genuinely bewildered when other panellists felt that better manners would not prevent domestic violence.
To some, this means that we need more mutuality and equality in heterosexual relationships. Every boy in Australia grows up being told not to hit women. The reasoning is simple: women are, allegedly, too weak to make it a fair fight. As I was on occasion taken aside by an adult male who explained this to me. I found the argument quite perplexing. It was apparent that my two Real woman for gentleman were more than capable of using physical force to protect and advance their interests. He stopped talking about it. This denial is accomplished by dividing men into simplisticand labelling abusive men as a deviant minority.
If we did, we might have to confront the substantial links between violence against women and the normalisation of male aggression. In a male-dominated society, boys and men are expected to show an aptitude for violence, if not through outright physical conflict then in coded forms such as on the sports field or through the consumption of violent media. We idolise violence, war and sport as the quintessential tests of masculinity.
There is a continuity between violence against women and the other kinds of aggression that men internalise and externalise. These are precisely the linkages that need to be untangled in the prevention of violence against women; however, this is a challenge that prevention advocates and agencies have often shied away from.
Celebrating cultural associations between masculinity and violence is a paradoxical approach to the reduction of violence against women, to say the least. It suggests that the protection of women can be accomplished by the mass Real woman for gentleman of male force. This is little more than a male revenge fantasy, and one that is entirely disconnected from the realities of violence and the needs of women.
Where police attend a domestic violence incident and find that the man and woman have sustained injuries, they may arrest both parties, which then impacts on the response the woman receives the next time she reports victimisation. Yet violence against women is not a boxing match or a contest based on brute strength. Gendered violence is part of the entrapment of girls and women in intimate life through contradictory expectations, and the constrained choices available to women in a society in which they have less access to power, resources and opportunity.
Violence against women is reprehensible not only because violence is harmful, although this is true, but also because it is the terroristic enforcement of a much larger system of gendered injustice and oppression. In patriarchal societies, the prevailing cultural and economic context enables men to control and dominate women in their lives in a variety of ways, including violence.
In truth, leaving oppression in place while prohibiting its violent expression is not only unlikely to work, since the fundamental causes of violence remain in place, but it is wholly unjust. Even if patriarchy without physical and sexual violence were possible, it would still be unacceptable and unjust.
Entirely absent from this vision is the possibility of female empowerment or the need for social transformation to ensure the equitable distribution of power between men and women. This is a pervasive issue in violence prevention more broadly. This concern appears to be borne out by the most recent Australian review of gendered violence prevention programs, which indicates that the majority of interventions are focused on changing attitudes about gender and violence. There is no question that attitudes are major drivers of gendered violence and need to change, but the economic and political basis of gender inequality is at risk of being overlooked.
Women in power consistently prioritise the safety of women and children at a higher level than their male counterparts but these issues are deprioritised in male-dominated parliaments and decision-making bodies. These are entrenched systemic issues that are unlikely to shift solely through behavioural and attitudinal change.
The question remains about how to bring boys and men along in this ambitious work. Male violence is not simply a behaviour that can be turned on or off, but rather an entire complex of norms, values and practices with deep connections to the social, political and economic order. For men and boys, abandoning violence implies a ificant break with the broader patriarchal context, to the point of imperilling masculine identity altogether.
Male aggression is re-envisioned as a potentially emancipatory force that can be directed against perpetrators of violence against women. This risks transforming violence prevention efforts into a platform for performances of aggressive masculinity. In his Nobel Prize acceptance speech incivil rights activist Martin Luther King offered a powerful critique of violence as a political strategy:.
It solves no social problem: it merely creates new and more complicated ones. Violence is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all. It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his understanding: it seeks to annihilate rather than convert. Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love. It destroys community and makes brotherhood impossible. It leaves society in monologue rather than dialogue. Violence ends up defeating itself. Here King explains the futility of responding to violence with more violence.
He decries violence on practical as well as moral grounds, noting that it fails to achieve its goals and only produces more harm. Drawing on the pacifist philosophies evident in Christian, Hindu and Buddhist thought, King instead promoted non-violence as the only efficacious response to violence. In hisnon-violence is not the absence of violence but rather the presence of characteristics that oppose violence: namely love, compassion and patience. Non-violence expresses our shared orientation towards mutuality as the very basis of human flourishing.
When put into practice, non-violence creates social contexts in which violence cannot take root, and where the damage that violence causes can be repaired. It may be necessary to restrain or incapacitate perpetrators of violence but, ultimately, peace must be built and cannot be imposed.
He did not capitulate to ideologies of white supremacy in an attempt to appeal to those who disagreed with him. This is another important lesson for the prevention of violence against women. Non-violence offers new options for violence prevention. After all, every boy is born non-violent.
No boy grows up aspiring to abuse his partner or his children. Men and women share a deep wish for lasting relationships. Under the conditions of male dominance, this wish can be fundamentally distorted. The experiences of men attending family violence perpetrator programs attest to the fact that violence destroys relationships and can produce deeply unsatisfying lives of alienation and frustration. In contrast, there are numerous examples of non-violent men in Australia. Their lives are testament to the satisfaction that arises from the work of building strong families and communities.
How they arrived at non-violence, and the path they took to get there, is rarely the subject of public discussion. Non-violence inverts this common logic by emphasising the weakness and destructiveness of violence in comparison to the enduring power of peace-making. Violence prevention efforts could have a critical role to play in affirming the choice of non-violence for boys and men, illustrating not only the pitfalls of violence but also the potential of non-violence as the basis for meaningful relationships and happy lives.
Cunneen and T. Day, D. Chung, P. Flood and B. White Ribbon is a male-led organisation that aims to prevent violence against women, and it has nominated 25 November 25 as the annual day on which it promotes this cause. Mottram and M. Carmody, M. Salter and G. Taylor-Robinson and R. Gray, T. Broady et al. Broady, R. Gray, I. Gaffney and P. Men seeking help can call No to Violence on In his Nobel Prize acceptance speech incivil rights activist Martin Luther King offered a powerful critique of violence as a political strategy: [V]iolence never brings permanent peace.
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