Or are we inviting trouble by giving them more tools to commit the crime?
It is a fact that most domestic crimes are committed by men. Moreover, 21% of homicides in Australia involve intimate partners.
Domestic Violence is an "Gendered Issue"
These incidents occurred within MONTHS and 30 kilometres of each other in Brisbane North alone in 2012:
The murder of a young Kenmore mother
The violent bashing of Strathpine woman
Woman found dead in Bracken Ridge home
Teen girl stabbed in high school
One of the things I ask my students is this... does a father hold his new born child in his arms and wish for a life of violence and pain on that child? Or do men (and women) do the best they can.... it's just that sometimes it is not good enough.
1 in 3 women will personally experience domestic violence. That figure is indisputably TOO HIGH for a civilised nation.
Do we breed our women weak? I dispute this, only women with a high pain tolerance will endure domestic violence over an extended period.
Do we as a society provide our women with safe havens and support until they are able to regain independence and heal themselves and their children? This is such a complex question it will have to wait until I am King of the world.
But can we teach our boys that they are responsible for the safety and protection of women and children, and people not as strong as themselves?
You bet we can, and I have taken it upon myself to start this education.
Young boys are risk takers - their brains don't develop to maturity until at least 23. So it is no surprise that if they can live to 19, their chances of making it to old age raises significantly. I myself know that everyday my toddler is tucked into bed asleep safely I say another silent prayer of thanks that we made it through the day (relatively) safely.
But this also opens a malleable window in boys learning that educators and experts can target... Before they become set in ways that I believe have have left our Australian males less able to cope with stress and family break down leading to violence and intimidation as coping mechanisms.
Some of the things my sessions explore are:
- Australian men's ability (or lack thereof) to display affection compared to our European counterparts.
- Australian role models and sporting heroes and their behaviour (or conversely well publicised misbehaviour) toward women.
- What our boys see as a "strong" man.
- What values our boys hold.
We also explore practical self defence measures such as: safe distances against armed attackers and how to survive such an attack, vehicle abduction prevention and escape, how to defend against strangulation and other life threatening attacks. But the background of my message is always clear..... if you use violence against someone else, what values does that mean you have? And if you see someone getting hurt - what can you do to help?
- Remind them one of their sole purposes is to protect women, and children and people not as strong as themselves.
- Teach them safe skills on how to speak up against violence against women and children and people not as strong as themselves.
- Teach them how to express natural emotions naturally - anger, grief, fear, jealousy, LOVE.
Because sometimes the greatest evil in society is to do nothing at all. And they way we have been teaching in the past has been proven to not work at all.
And when we think about those women that died this month, of children that have died at the hands of their distraught fathers, don't we all wish we could have done SOMETHING?
Contact me if I can help spread the word to your school or community group.
Here's some more readings to inspire our youth:
- What I would tell my teenage self if I got the chance
- Advice for my boys and girls - on sex, death and love
I WILL change the world... one child at a time.