Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Why are schools still asking Mums to bake?

This is not a reflection on the beautiful little schools that my kids attend. Or for my baking, crafting, loving Goddesses that come alive when they create and share. This is for my mums that I counsel because they are at their wits end. Exhausted. Defeated. This is for the inequality that I see perpetrated in everyday life. The message that a Mother's time is less valuable, more expendable. 
With Mothers Day approaching, and every day, we could - we should - do things differently.

When our schools ask our mothers to bake, what message are we sending to our children?

The school is the formative place of our child's social conditioning, right?  But one of the first thing that is asked of mothers as they enter the school community is that they:
1.  Volunteer for tuckshop
2.  Bake for tuckshop
3.  Bake for fundraising

The message is.... yeh, we are all equal, and a community, but your mother is a lesser person if she does not bake.  Her time is less valuable then Daddy's.  And even if the written request is gender neutral, we know the reality don't we?  Mums do the baking and the tuck-shopping.  Mums get the beak-slap for children lunch box habits.  Mums get judged.

The underlying assumption is that good mothers bake.   And create.   And you know what, if she has to take serapax to deal with the pressures of work and baking and volunteering and homework.... whatever.  She has a responsibility to keep up appearances.  For her community.  For her children.

And it is so very relevant as we about to approach Mother's Day.

Ironically mothers are often conjouled and bullied into catering for the very day that is supposed to celebrate the often over-worked and over-whelmed woman of the house that is expected to have a full time job but act like a full time mother.  And I find it is not the men doing this coercing.  Cue the women in the wings with the subtle act of high street bullying learned in the hallowed grounds of the very institution sending out the instrument of coercion.  The school newsletter.  Men are conditioned to watch and condone, and throw in a feeble "I don't know why we can't just buy a pack of 12 cupcakes from Woolies," only to be countered with the acidic glare of Medusa incarnate.

I can't buy the cakes, I will be judged.

It was addressed in the 60's when public school systems looked at the need to have women 'bake' to fundraise, but hey.  It's 2019 and it appears we have regressed back to the 1950's.  Hooray for us.

One would think that with the rise of social media, instant messaging, online shopping and networking this archaic division of power would be long dissolved into the archives a of a patriotic time that our children now learn about in a wiki link.  Additionally, with the advent of boutique based businesses, online catering and food vans that are salivating to be involved in school functions - and in turn provide revenue to the school  - that there would be no need to put out a call for the 'little lady of the house' to bake for for the 'sake' of [insert pressing school resource need here].  If I ran my businesses like schools run fundraisers I would have been bankrupt 12 years ago.

I know men bake.  Some men.  And I also know that these men get sniggered at by the less evolved knuckle draggers amongst us.  If I see it I call it out.  And equally, our male bakers shouldn't have a parade from the female cheerleaders every time they get out a kitchen-maid.  Unless they are really good at carrot cake  - then Hunger Games salute to you dude.

The pressure to bake (and craft create) is primarily determined by what genitals you were born with.  It is irrelevant that I have worked in a male dominated profession since I was 20.  The Police is one of the most modern professions of our time.  I now teach in the oldest profession (no, not prostitution, I just saw a glimpse into your Freudian mind).  The profession of teaching self defence and mortal combat.  The bare knuckle kind.  Not the kind that uses technology to increase the perceived or real extension of my penis ie: guns, knives etc.  It does not matter that I have three businesses and two companies, five websites, write policy and workplace training modules and sit on steering committees and educational reform groups.  Still, still, I am expected to bake.  It does not matter that it has been proven time and time again that sugar is sending our kids bat-shit-crazy and historically endemically fat.  It doesn't matter that I don't personally eat baked goods (ok, I do occasionally.  But, I digress).

I. Am. Judged.  Every. Day.  Because I don't fit the version of what a mother should be.  And this is the lesson that we are teaching our children.  We drum into them 'just say no to bullying' and 'respect each other', 'be tolerant' but what they see is the coercion of their already struggling mothers to fit the mould that no unmedicated human being can possibly fit.

Woman are judged... every day, in a way that men are not.

We have been conditioned to fail.

This is societies way of keeping women small and feeling unworthy.  How on earth can they see the patriarchy for what it is, if women are up to their arms in gluten free flour, self doubt, judgement (of themselves and other women) and lacking the very basic ability to know what makes them happy.  As long as your kids are happy right?  No.  I call bullshit.  If you are unhappy then you are teaching your children a very specific skill set.

You are teaching them to be so busy that they cannot question the very system that keeps them small and feeling lesser. And this is the very definition of oppression.

Woman are judged so hard that even though I have said women are the worst at this (mis)placed judgement toward other women that I will receive loads of trolly male comments blurting, "but what about men?"  I must add however, in criminal psychology one of the first profiles I was introduced to was the white middle aged woman who would also defend and cover for their son or husband's dysfunctional behaviour.  For the sake of artistic creativity I call this profile 'the handmaiden' and I also see them featuring heavily in the trolling game of 'what-aboutery'.  "What-about my son, brother, husband... 'such good men.'"

Yeh.  But, what about?  The 'what-abouters' just keep distracting from the issue of inequality and gender expectation.  It's a big-baby cry for '"Hey, enough about you.  What about me?  Whhahhhhhh.  Talk about meeeeeeeeeee!!!!"  If you are asking 'what about?' change the question to "What do I condone?"

What. Do. I. Condone?

Me.  I am part of the judgement, and the automated instinctual reflex to be part of the pack and keep churning out our matrix cookies to keep our children held firm in the sugar industrial complex matrix, so I can be judged by teachers in the matrix to say that my child is not fitting into the matrix.

The education system and it's endemic success to reproduce results that are failing our children is a blog for another day.

This mother's day, and every day, take the time to see and feel the pressure for what it is.

Not the, 'I neeeeeeed to heal my soul by being elbow deep in creating nutritional goodness.  I neeeeddddd/ knead to make bread'.  Do more of that.  Do more of makes you happy.  But recognise the pressure of the 'Holy shit how am I going to get to bed tonight because I just got this "If you're a good Mum you will bake" email and a facebook nudge from the school page.  That pressure.  It is an illusion, an illusion reinforced by our habit of behaviour.  So to break the illusion, rub the sleep from your eyes and wake up.

Forward this article to your school principal.  Be brave and be authentic in naming the bias for what it is. Principals and school administrators are probably asleep themselves and never intentionally wanted you, or them, to be a part of the groundhog nightmare.  Give them the gift of waking up.  You owe yourself this small gift this mothers day.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Mobile phones are killing our teens, and that is the truth.

School teachers don't have the time, nor are they allowed, to go public on this major health epidemic.

But every time you hand that phone to your child, you are enabling their personal safety demise.

I guarantee that you gave your child that device on the premise that it was for their 'safety' so that they could call you.  Call you if they are in trouble, being abducted, being threatened - need help.  But what if I told you that the phone is the reason that they will be targeted in the first place?  And when they are targeted the phone will retard any natural survival instincts they may have, and long after an incident, will trigger or compound mental health issues.

Statistically that phone won't be used to save them, but will enable their demise.  The phone makes your child a really good victim.

I have been teaching self defence and personal safety to high school students for 12 years.  What I see in classrooms would make your hair fall out.  Our kids are in trouble - mentally, emotionally, socially, intellectually, and physically - and we are enabling it.

I have seen a degeneration in physical coordination - an inability to know left from right.  An inability to hear a direction and react immediately.

I have seen a degeneration in emotional regulation - outbursts similar to my 4 year olds tantrums.  An inability to recognise that they control their emotions.

I have seen social degeneration. Ok, ok.  Socrates himself would bemoan the self-centred ignorance/arrogance of Ancient Greek teens.  This is nothing new.  But what is new is that the brains of our teens has been deprogramed - reprogrammed - and it is not a program of resilience.  Whole sections of our brain die when we become dependant on iOS technology.

When I was teaching this week most of the students had their phones in plain view.  The screens white and blinking, thumbs flicking - regardless of the fact that the school has a 'no phones during class' policy.

Your child will replicate whatever behaviour they use daily in an uncomfortable situation.  For example, your teen girl will giggle during a sexual assault, the same as she will giggle, whisper and eye-roll with her friends when reprimanded for disruptive behaviour.  I actually lost a court case when a female sexual assault victim was cross examined and gave evidence that she giggled during the rape.  A giggle does not imply consent.  We got that?  No consent given.  But I can't teach the patriarchal judge that this is normal modern female behaviour - instilled the moment a kindergarten teacher claps 'inside voice, outside voices' or 'girls, close your legs,' and 'ladies, don't yell.'  I can't re-teach or reach that jury that where predominately male, pale, and stale.  That classroom was let out a long time ago.

But I can teach your girls to start watching how they unconciously react when they are under stress.

And it is most likely they will reach for a phone.

They will reach for the phone the same way that mums have been shown in recent disaster victim studies to clean their kitchen, put on a load of washing or walk around in circles muttering and giggling (or phoning their mum) when being told to evacuate immediately.

True study, read more here.  It made me realise it is my natural reaction to clean and stack. Those fluffy toys are all going to be neat and tidy for the arrival of a cyclone at the expense of my children's survival.  This is embarrassing, but true.  Self reflection is always going to a vital tool on your personal safety tool belt.

I was telling a group of grade 11 students the story of a young Russian woman who was fishing with her Dad when they were attacked by a brown bear.  It may be observed that the girl's natural reaction when in discomfort was to go to her phone - so while her father's lifeless body was being ripped apart she started making phone calls.  The bear - a new mother - may have instinctively assessed the young woman as easy prey and went away to rally her starving cubs.  She returned with her brood to find the injured girl in-situ, and on her phone.  So the whole nightmarish feast continued all the while with a frantic and helpless Russian mum on the other end of the phone, listening to her daughters agonising demise.

This is not just a story about humans encroaching on the animals kingdoms natural habitat and a mothers trying to feed her starving babies.  It is a story of a deterioration in human survival instincts.  It is a complete inability to assess risk,  react and act - using our body and mind simultaneously to remove ourselves from danger.

For every second we are on that phone, searching for that phone, or wishing we had that phone, we are food for bears. Figuratively and literally.

I just finished telling this story when I saw one of the girls playing with her phone.  The story made her uncomfortable, so #ironically she turned to her comfort source.  Her phone.  I gave her a warning.  Told her to put the phone away.  She sat on it and said "You can't make me."

I could make her, but the thought of removing a phone covered in bum juice made my choice pretty obvious.

An hour later we where talking about defence against sexual assault, and that 1 in 3 Australian girls under the age of 16 had already been the victim of sexual assault.  This meant that at a hand full of girls in the classroom could have been sexually assaulted already.  This may have made my 'phone sitting student' uncomfortable.  Or not?  So she got her phone out again and started to show her boyfriend  something that was uber interesting.  In plain view.

I related to her that while she may not be concerned about her personal safety, statistically the person beside her may already a victim (1 in 6 boys experience sexual abuse before the age of 16), or will be in the future, so don't deny them the right to learn strategies to keep them safe.  I told her to put her phone away or leave.  So with a great gusto (the most activity I had seen from her all day) she threw her arms in the air and left with a cloud of expletives and statements blaming everyone else for her predicament.  "I wasn't even on the phhhoooonnnnnneee!!! Wah!"

She was like a cocaine addict being denied a hit.  Violent.  Irrational.  Inconsolable.

This is the result of mobile phone addiction.

The cycle becomes more vicious when you consider that this girl, when feeling triggered, may then use her phone (as she is hiding in the school dunny) to attack her 'frenemies' on social media.  These attacks will lack emotional intelligence, the ability to discern, and most certainly lack empathy.   Her brain will be stuck in lizard brain - the brain that attacks, plays dead, and then attacks again.  The same brain that trolls and bullies and lashes out.  The same brain that blames other people for how they feel.  But let's think about the person/people that may be at the end of the attack: they too may have a dependance on their phone, and a lack of emotional resilience.  So when they read/ hear/ are confronted by the outburst of a lizard brain this may trigger a defensive reaction within them.   Lizard V Lizard.  And then they may start to lash out - or - retreat into depression.  And we don't need the statistics on teen suicide to see where this is going.  The phone has caused a cycle of mental illness, dependance, and aggression, and has enabled countless premature deaths.  Are we brave enough to put a number to a death toll?

Our children are incapable and emotionally and mentally addicted to their phones -  and as result  they are intellectually and emotionally handicapped.  It is yet to be seen whether they are going to have the life skills to be able to live independently in our society.   Those statistics have already trickled out into our trade industry where only 20 -30% of apprentices complete their qualifications.

Without boring you too much let's think about a couple of times the phone puts your child at risk:
  • crossing the road and talking/ texting the phone
  • running with ear buds
  • texting while driving
  • 'connecting' with groups our individuals that groom your child for sex, or to become involved in terrorism or hate crimes
  • sexting (this could land them a criminal record as a sex offender)
  • not hearing/ seeing/ feeling danger
  • killing off sections of the brain required for basic survival
When the phone may save your child: 
  • when your child (or emergency services) call you because of all of the above

So, this is really a no brainer.  We don't need governments or schools to do something about this.  It is as simple as reassessing the BS that you believe that your child needs a phone in order to be safe.

Do you hand your child a gun to keep them safe?

Uh oh....... that's food for another blog.

We have been believing a lie.  It's time to change what is not working.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Passive aggressive is still aggressive

Have you ever had a sick day rather than have to deal with a supervisor that has been riding you like a pack mule?

Or fantasised about holding an imaginary voodoo ritual conducted on a family member who insists it is their birth right to prove your stupidity at every family do?

How many nights have you lay awake arguing with a phantom work mate?
(If this scenario just took a romantic turn in your head this blog may not be for you.)

One of the most empowering things I have done in my work/life history was not learning to fire a semi automatic glock (albeit badly), but to get down and dirty with a communication professor to learn true communication terms and how they can impact on our ability to deal with stress.   I really had to have a good hard look at my assertion and listening abilities so that I can develop a better way to work and play.  And most significantly - the ability to develop strategies to eliminate bullying, domestic violence and war.  Yes peeps - the big stuff.  But we are the shittest of the shit at communication.  Hence, an Australian woman's greatest threat to her life is her current or former partner, and we are teetering on the edge of World War III.

Maybe people get to the point where they believe, "Man, it's tough, I don't want to have one more thing I have to do... think.... say...  I would prefer it just all went away."  #ponderingmylifeasarapper

Maybe this is why people say 'I don't like confrontation', and are supported with knowing nods.  And if anyone were to say, 'No, I do like to put it all out on the table,' people take a little step away and look upon said self confessed confronter with a tentative curiosity - wondering where we store this one-eyed, war-scarred unicorn. Is this person dangerous?  Or are they useful?  (And, how can I use them to my advantage? Hmmmm.)

But it is our inability to confront people that could be eroding away at our mental health, our family life and our workplace performance.

Confrontation is one of the most poorly understood terms in the English language.  Hollywood has brain washed us to invoke images of strapping on a fully automatic weapon dripping with ammunition and a sweaty head band to make good on a cause.  There are connotations of witty verbose, yelling, name calling and courtroom scenes.   However, the true, literal definition of confrontation is much more benign and calm.  It is almost bland. Confrontation in its purest form is an attempt to bring awareness of a significant gap between a persons actions and their words.

For example:
I am here to tell you that what you doing, and what you saying, are not the same. 

No blood shed, no screaming, crying, streaming snot bubbles.   No steely glances, fist pumping or spitting.  No one gets sacked, killed, or hot water thrown in their face.

Just one soul telling another soul that something isn't adding up.

The words 'I don't like confrontation' becomes an excuse, or a validation, to remain passive.  And this is the most simple definition of passive aggressive behaviour.  By avoiding confrontation, the very drama the person is claiming they are seeking to avoid is actually being created - but on a different level.  A level of avoidance, complacency and a general expression of "I can't - you do it."

An example of passive aggression may be:

"I didn't do what I said I would.... because I was sick, tired, busy, busy, busy."

Hey, don't think I don't see the #irony here.  There are only so many balls in the air that we can all juggle before they come crashing down.  But in the spirit of learning and teaching better communication I no longer regale people with my lists.  Because a communication expert taught me that this is just me being passively aggressive. And she is uber smart. Even when she was shining a light brightly and solidly at my big pimply communication flaws, I still enjoyed the process - and didn't die.  I just had to squeeze a bit to get to the core of the matter.  (Try and get that image out of your head).

And more importantly I needed to learn this:  Passive aggressive is still being aggressive.

And I made a decision - that is not how I want to roll (anymore).

I don't want to be aggressive anymore.

I don't want that flittering, unhinged feeling anymore.  So now, instead of the passive aggressive lists, I apologise and acknowledge my actions, and propose solutions to said inadequacies.

Likewise, if I see that a person's actions and their words are on two seperate paths I make a judgement call as to whether it needs to be addressed for the sake of my work life, family life and mental health.  Once I recognise it, I confront it, and I deal with it.  I wash the dishes so I can get an early night.

I don't need to name call, or blame, or say "You let me down you doe brained fly penis, don't you know how busy I am?"

That is just plain aggressive.

I am also more cognisant of 'poor me' statements like "You make me feel... [insert superimposed feelings of guilt, shame, inadequacies here]."

Nobody makes me feel anything but me.  It is my job to confront it and deal with it.

And I will also confront a person (my children are definitely not exempt) if they say to me: "You made me...", "You make me feel..."

Nope, nope, nope.  I understand you feel a certain way.... and I am compassionate to that.  But they are your feelings.

I have no control over you, or your feelings.

But I do have control over my response.  And my response can be one of compassion, and one can should never confuse compassion with submission.

Just like if I saw somebody in pain standing on a bridge contemplating whether to jump, I would not hesitate to confront them.  I would not walk away with a subconscious passive belief that it was someone else's job to help them.

I would say something like this:
"You don't have to do this.  Not today.  Not here.  I will be affected by what you are about to do forever."

There are only two real emotions - fear and love.  We get to choose which one we are going to run with.  Which one are you taking out on to the track today?

Does your training officer need to get onboard with workplace stress and communications training?  Send them this way, I will sort them out.

Who is the twit writing this blog?

What do people think about RAVES and RAVES courses?

Monday, May 1, 2017

8 Tips to Prevent Child Abduction

This is not click bate,  here are eight (8) really important lessons to teach our kids about safety and what to do to prevent child abductions.  It and has been applied to real life child snatches that I have investigated, or researched.

So buckle up and let's get our safety on.


Apart from the obvious health concerns, predators will use chips, lollies and ice creams the same way that parents may bribe and reward: as an incentive to do what they want.  Be careful with the lessons that you are teaching.


If you hear your child screaming because they are hurt, or being hurt, don't 'shush' them up.  Instead address the reason that they are screaming.   The scream is their go-to alert system, and instinctual way of facing down fear.  Give them sports and activities where this is encouraged.  If they don't use it, then they will lose it, and this is not a survival skill that you want to die.


Abusers use threats and intimidation to keep children compliant.  Things like, "Don't tell mummy or daddy about our secrets or I will....".  The next time you hear yourself say "Shhhh this is a secret..." reinforce the learning that secrets are only for birthdays and Christmas parties, and not for bodies.  If a secret feels bad, it is not the kind of secret that you keep.

Tip Four: EMBARRASSMENT makes good victims.

If you are embarrassed about your body, bodily functions and sexuality then you are teaching your child the emotional tools that predators will use to to foster their silence.  Tools like shame, guilt and fear.  If we continue to teach our children these dysfunctional emotions then we are creating a fertile ground for dysfunctional sexual behaviours - whether that means your child will be more likely to be a victim, become a predator: or in fact, both.  Learn what are normal sexual behaviours of children and what are red flags for abuse so that we don't project our own sexual maturity onto a child's normal development or curiosity.  For example: a red flag for abuse or inappropriate exposure is when children pair sexual behaviours with adult framed sexual words.  This is now a major concern with children as young as 7 being exposed to online porn.

Tip Five:  THRASH, SHOUT and JUMP about.

Punching and kicking in a traditional martial arts setting have been proven in U.S. College Studies to slow down victims of sexual assault.  There are far more bio-mechanically efficient ways for a child to instinctively and instantly become slippery hurt machines. Big movements like thrashing the head, pumping the arms and stamping the feet.  Couple that with an ear shattering yell and your child will no longer be seen as the 'best' victim.  A test you always want them to fail at.


If someone strange pulls up in a car beside your child, teach them to TURN to the rear of the vehicle AND RUN.   It will buy your child some time, or hopefully, make them a less attractive target.  It is good practice for us all to take leisurely runs and walks on the footpath that faces toward traffic.  Then it is obvious if a car is pulling in toward you.


Scratch those suckers off right now.  Stop advertising what precious cargo is within.


The reality is that your child will rarely be snatched by the bogeyman that lurks within the recesses of their fears.  Your child is most likely to offended against by someone that they know, or has been invited into the family to a position of trust.

This is most certainly the case when parents estrange and during custody disputes.  This is the time that your child is most likely to be abducted: by yourself or your partner.

It is better to teach children that everyone is human, but sometimes some humans make our tummies feel funny, and this is an early warning system.  Talk to your child about trusted humans, and humans that make us feel bad, and give them the time and space to tell you if someone makes them feel bad.

The greatest gift we can give our children is to be free of fear and brimming with self worth.  The child that grasps for love and attention - from anyone, for any attention, whether it be positive or negative - is also the child that becomes the 'good victim'.  And the only way to teach your child self love is to practice tolerance and unconditional love for your child - and for all humans.  Not just some humans.  But all humans.
No name calling.
No hate.
No fear.
Just Love.

Oh yeah, l have also reached the learn-ed realisation that kids never listen to their parents.  That's where I step in.   My kids don't listen to me either, but by some divine providence your kids will.  So send them to me....

BRAVE kids self defence - more than building muscles, but also building big voices and bigger hearts.

Monday, March 13, 2017

What predators look for when you post photos of your children.

Posting seemingly innocent photos of your child or teen has a sinister outcome that you may never have considered.


Your child or teen could be a poster child for a pedophile ring - and you may never know.
Australia made world news in 2016 with a website trading explicit photos of local school girls.   The site even had pages dedicated to local Brisbane and Gold Coast high schools and fan pages - offering money to men who could find more explicit photos of their favourites.

Attempts to close down the site have been thwarted in a brazen disregard of the law.  And these girls, whose images have been used without consent, could be to this day, oblivious.

Police CANNOT ALWAYS LOCATE YOU if photos of your children have been found to be used in connection with pedophile rings.  Due to the ability to mask IP addresses and identities with overseas servers and false identities it is not always possible to link an identity to these photos.  There are even sites dedicated to teaching online predators how to cover their tracks.

A photo of your child could be part of a pedophilia ring that has been uncovered by Police, and you wont even know about it.

The Task Force I worked for busts pedophile rings - and makes arrests of pedophiles in our neighbourhood.  This article is an insight into what they do, and how close to your home they come to arrest offenders.

A pedophile or predator will not play fair, nor think like the average person.  They therefore look at images and their erotic 'potential' differently to how the average population does.

Here are some things that pedophiles may find attractive when looking at photos on social media:

  • The obvious stuff - like children in bathers, underwear, having a bath, or in a state of undress.   Even well placed emoticons covering your child's genitals can be photoshopped off and genitals photoshopped back on to increase the 'value' of the photo. You can take me to South Bank beach at Brisbane on any given day and I will be able to point out lone males taking photos of children.... your children.   And yes - Police do patrol this and regularly confiscate cameras and phones.  I have seen it happen meters away from parents and they are completely and utterly oblivious.  The Police do not have to approach the parents, because it is not an element of the offence to have a complainant.  Importantly, there is rarely time in these situations to locate and talk to the parents about what has just happened - Police are too busy dealing with the offender.
  • The less obvious stuff that predators find irresistible: like photos that they can alter to make your child or teen look they are part of a sexual act.   These photos can be altered to have a male person in the photo in a state of arousal.  Or they can simply overlay a lewd comment so that the photo becomes a pedophile photo 'meme'.
  • Children of social media celebrities.  The more photos posted, and the more coverage the images gain, the more likely they are to come to the attention to pedophile groups and be subjected to their monstrous conversations and attentions.  Similar to a teenage crush of a pop star, these photos become a platform for imaginings, fantasies and lewd behaviours.  The internet has now allowed predators to openly discuss their fetishes, and because they have the support of their monstrous tribe, they now have a place to 'normalise' and 'strategise' dysfunctional thoughts and fantasies.

Things to consider when posting photos of your children:

  • Is there enough room to 'superimpose' another figure into the image?*
  • Are they in a state of undress (even with emoticons placed modestly - these can be removed and body parts can be photo shopped in).
  • Do you have a public social media page?  Pedophiles can develop 'child crushes' and the child does not have to be posed or in a state of undress for the photo to become a commodity.

*  I used to pray that when I saw a photo of a baby in a nappy and a sexually aroused man in the image that the image was 'superimposed'.  I didn't always receive this comfort from the government classifier or the photographic specialists.   This is is the horrific reality of child sex crimes and trafficking in the 21st century.  There is one photo in particular that I remember which causes me pain daily - a 6 month old in just a nappy with the most beautiful angelic smile laying on a bed - and a naked man entering the babies bedroom.   This child looked like my babies - your babies.  And the horror that I could not reach through that screen and save that child scratches at my brain.

Things to be considered with your teens social media images:

  1. Duck faces and posed photos are used as baseline trading images on predator sites.
  2. Swimwear and underwear shots become more valuable.
  3. If their account is public then the predator 'ring' can approach friends (or enemies) of the teen and pay money for more explicit photos.

It has taken over a decade for me to write this post because I know that I will have re-visted images and situations from my career that haunt me.  There was a time when I would physical hit my head and moan to stop the memories - but I hope that I have now developed better coping strategies.   I now have a practice of offering it 'up', or surrender.  I take the time to do a short meditation where I hand the image and the horror over.  This then allows me to focus on the present.   If it re-surfaces I repeat... repeat, repeat repeat - just like my rules of self defence.  Because to submit is not an option for me - or my children.

If you have been affected by this article please make an appointment with your GP.

Or ring lifeline.  Or the sexual assault helpline.

Here are some things you may need to know when reporting sexual abuse.

Empower yourself and your family with an online interactive self defence e-book.
Because self defence isn't something that you had 'wished' you had learned.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Women killing women - by silencing their voice.

One in three Australian women will be in a battle for their life against an ex or current intimate partner during their lifetime.  It becomes a fatal battle when the woman is strangled or smothered (because, can you believe it, they are trying to shut us up????) or when they are bludgeoned to death.  This is the common way for a woman to die at the the hands of someone that was, once or currently, claiming to love them.

Australian women die when they try to use their voice.

We are all guilty of being at a party and watching a violent argument without stepping in.  Listening to a neighbour being berated and threatened but we decide not to call police.  Because we have all been conditioned by that little Australian voice that says, "it's none of your business... stay out of it.... they are just drunk...".

Our conditioning starts in the classroom.  From the earliest age little girls are repeatedly praised and rewarded for being quiet, conscientious, listening, participating...  Little boys are expected to be loud, rambunctious, active.   When a boys academic ability naturally kicks in, they receive the academic accolades, and the girls are left with the residual messages of, "you have to be quiet, conscientious, and listen more if you want to receive recognition of this stature again".  And so the conditioning is ingrained.  It is further ingrained when we look at the traditional sports and recreational differences between girls and boys - girls dance and perform, are graded on perfectly slicked hair buns, silence, weight management and demure outward presence and a pleasant smile.  The gentleman run, kick, shout commands, tackle, grunt, throw, defend.  Their voice is a mark of their strength.  Their leadership.

Women are taught to make themselves as small as possible... make yourself smaller on that bus seat, lose weight, cross your legs, don't lose your temper.  Don't let your daughters get under anyone's feet.

If I had a penny for every woman who said, "I would like to train with weights, but I don't want to be bulky" I would retire.  Because God knows, you don't want to be physically dominate, do you?  That would be too much for the world to bare.
Australians left an indelible mark on the world stage by being the first country, in the world, to be more fixated on the colour of their first female Prime Minister's pubic hair, then her intellectual and political contributions.
And I witnessed educated women joining in on that conversation.  I saw the pleasure and venom with which they jeered at her.  Like returning to a 1980's school yard and dragging new girl off the popularity perch, so the boys won't take their attention away from the resident preening cool girls.

I will say no more on that.

No matter your political background, nothing screams 'insecure' and 'bigoted' more than people using name calling rather than rational intellectual and political argument.

Which I think our education system fails poorly in cultivating.  Who here has done courses on argument, reasoning and critical thinking????  Right.  Que crickets here.  Teaching people to think for themselves.... mmmmmm..... I wonder what would change if that was the basis of our school curriculum?

But name calling.  Australians are gold medalist in that.

But it is not my intent to bemoan and gesticulate.

My intent is this:
Before we as women silence other women with glances, behind hand whispers and social exclusion... could we perhaps teach our daughters there is another way? To teach them that we are all connected,  and when united we cannot be hurt.  That we will not give away our power by allowing others to hurt us.

Could we re-learn to use our voices?
Could we question our use of 'outdoor voices' and 'indoor voices' with our children, before social conditioning means that they have forgotten how to use their voice, when they need it the most?

Could we eradicate shame and guilt, and make these statement sentences a tool on a young girls tool belt that she brings her no embarrassment, only boundaries?  Sentences like:

  • No stop
  • I need some help today
  • I deserve respect
  • I am your equal
  • My feelings are valid
  • I deserve to be heard
  • Put on a condom
(Ladies, I teach teen girls that if we aren't mature enough to insist on a condom, then we are not mature enough to have sex).

It is not enough to stop the hands that beat us down.  We as woman must stop with our own judgement, reach out and lift up the voices of ALL woman.

We all know when our words come from a place of fear, and we know when our words come from that expansive, warm, tingling place of connection and inspiration.  Everyday I am working to come back to that, instead of that fearful, spiteful place (I fail quite regularly, but to ere is human).

When I teach you and your daughters, that is the place I want to open and ignite.  And then I watch it catch like wildfire as social conditioning is questioned, and connections and protections are cultivated.

Be that torch - you are that torch.  Don't silence women.  Give them a safe place to use their voice, and teach them the difference between words of fear, and words of truth.  This is how we shine light into the violent world of darkness.

Have you or a friend experienced a life threatening situation?
Are you looking for strategies to empower yourself and regain a sense of self and safety?
RAVES self defence now has an interactive e-book.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Should our kids show anger? And for how long? Knowing this could save lives.

How long is a child allowed to outpour anger?

According to the clinical poineer of palliative care and emotional intelligence, Dr Kubler-Ross:
15 seconds...
15 seconds! 
That is a flip flop long ding dong time for any parent in the firing line.
But it is now recognised as on of the greatest failings of Western social conditioning to discipline our children to suppress emotion in favour of social convention. 
Teaching our children healthy outpouring of the natural emotions: fear, anger, grief, jealousy and love - is a sure fire why to raise a healthy, productive generation and short circuit our violence fuelled, emotionally crippled community.
If we don't teach out children that anger is an ok emotion and it is ok to display it - safely - then we get teens and adults who spontaneously rage. This translates to one punch killings, domestic violence and active shooter massacres.
  • Jealousy turns to possession.
  • Grief becomes depression.
  • Fear becomes obsession. 
(Did you like that? That is the result of a double shot coffee).

Could teaching our children to be angry change our poor domestic violence record?

We could, quite simply, change the world by teaching our children it is ok to be angry, and show them safe ways to discharge anger.
The buddhists uphold the same belief - to be childlike is to be god-like.
So the next time you encounter a moody person, or deal with a tantrum, or  find yourself simmering in an unexplained mood... let's ask ourselves how we provide safe havens for the children and people in our lives to outpour emotion (safely).  Do we afford ourselves the same safe, judgment free space to allow emotional recognition, and in turn, spiritual growth? Do we acknowledge our anger, or suppress it and push it down into a furness where the pressure is building and seeping out of structural weaknesses?

Anger is ok... rage is not.

#‎DVmonth‬ starts with teaching emotional intelligence.