In early January of 2016 I shared an article to Facebook which was at the time very uplifting. It was the first time we had seen a truly male positive story reach mainstream media all of it’s own volition. While it was just a ripple on the pond, it felt significant – and it was!
Throughout this year we have seen enormous gains in raising awareness for men’s issues here in Australia which include
- A stream of male positive stories as seasoned journalists have started to speak out with conviction and empathy.
- A rise in the number of politicians prepared to engage in conversations about the problems in family law.
- A greater number of conversations addressing the complexities of the epidemic of male suicide.
- An allocation of $13m in funding over 4 years for male victims of domestic violence in the State of NSW.
- A dramatic rise in the number of men and women on social media who are prepared to speak up saying ‘enough is enough’ with the demonisation of men and boys.
As stand alone topics each of these things have contributed to a more awareness and empathy across the nation. I remain, as always, grateful for small mercies!
Yesterday I read with interest (ok, maybe disdain!) another try hard article by Jane Gilmore trying to diss men’s rights calling us ineffective. Au contraire, Jane! The very fact that you’re writing about the men’s movements means you have noticed the significant gains we are making. A dog only barks when it’s afraid!
Typical of her style of ‘journalism’, Gilmore never bothered to research exactly what is going on behind the scenes in the men’s and father’s rights movement, and so she naturally failed to be informed as to what many of us actually do which has led these radical feminist opinions to attempt to assert their dominance as if they hold a moral high ground. If only she would learn to ask questions …..
Feminist lobbyists often make grand claims that the men’s movement is doing ‘nothing productive’ and we should just ‘go start shelters’ as they did in the early days for women who were experiencing domestic violence or raising issues of female empowerment.
In this poorly constructed argument they have a vested interest to ignore that they were not fighting the opposition which we must face.
There was no movement controlling media who vehemently opposed them. There were no government controls to say what standards had to be met for shelters and accommodation; and both men and women worked together to achieve the successes they did. They also never had to overcome $30m advertising campaigns which erroneously demonised women and girls, damaging the very core of their femininity labelling them toxic, bad and wrong based on nothing other than propaganda.
Despite these oppositions to men’s issues being raised, anti domestic violence organisations like One In Three have tirelessly and steadily campaigned for many years to correct many of the perpetuated myths around family and domestic violence. And they do it in a manner which is calm and rational and empathetic for men. They are not misogynistic or hateful and they do not dismiss female victims nor lack empathy and concern for them.
There are organisations like Dads In Distress which has grown and moved into a new era soon to be known as Parents Beyond Breakup which has created a ground breaking forum which aims to change the landscape of how couples separate into one of amicable arrangements for couples to co parent, or at least into a less adversarial system. Parents Beyond Breakup now supports both men and women through this process because like the vast majority of us, their focus is on an improved society with better outcomes for children.
There are men like Glen Poole who gave this inspiring TEDx talk on gender equality and who has now dedicated his time to the Stop Male Suicide seminars being held around Australia. This is a self funded program with absolutely nothing coming from the Australian government.
My own focus through Relating To Men in the past few years has been general awareness, but with a strong focus on the missing piece of the domestic violence puzzle, which is that to stop domestic violence we must look further at the family generational context of that violence and address both male and female perpetrators. I also remain passionate and dedicated to a move towards a broader societal acceptance of amicable shared and flexible parenting.
We are all organisations dedicated to working with and supporting men and boys, yet this somehow causes a problem.
While campaigners are often vilified as angry men on the internet not once do feminist opinion pieces ever take the time to address what’s behind that anger, nor recognise it as a normal human emotion. Instead, they label any and all people who are passionate about improving the lives of men and boys as angry MRAs. And in doing this, they forget the violent, angry and aggressive foundations of feminism where the suffragettes were bombing houses and throwing stones through shop fronts causing a chaotic and violent era so they could be seen and heard.
It’s been a while since I’ve bothered engaging in feminist or even anti feminist debates online because as I see it, radical feminists do our job for us. You only have to look at the recent glaring and blatant discrimination of men in the Personal Safety Survey by the Human Rights Commissioner, no less. While they insist on gender division those of us supporting men and boys are doing so with gender inclusion.
There is no patriarchal hub of the men’s movement. We do not have a Minister for Men and Boys and there are no secret meetings or handshakes or government appointments for men to administer funding to to help themselves to the tax payer purse.
However, what I see as the core focus of the men’s movement in its broader context is this.
- An inclusive approach to men and women who are victims of any form of violence and abuse through ethical research
- Having in-depth research into the epidemic of male suicide and those factors attributed as leading causes.
- Recognition of men’s issues being unique to women’s issues, and addressed with proportionally government funded services
- A focus on the rights of the child to maintain a loving relationship with both parents, even though those parents may no longer like each other.
- Changing the domestic violence narrative from gendered to generational.
- Funding programs to raise all children to feel empowered and say no to violence and abuse from either gender.
I believe we have much to celebrate in the gains made for the rights of men and boys. While we may not yet have the equality we are striving for, we are creating grass roots change across society which will eventually bring that outcome.
We are creating conversations that matter. We are living true to our values and ethics. We are saving lives and giving hope to the otherwise hopeless. And we have the courage of our convictions to maintain our focus on gender free solutions to issues that affect us all, even in the face of extreme adversity.
Thank you for your ongoing support of Relating To Men