Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Stop The Violence - What We Can Do

I know that the topics of my posts jump around a bit and maybe that's why i only have a small band of followers (and i value every single one of you) but i write what comes to mind.  There's a lot of stuff floating around in the space upstairs (known as my brain) and sometimes it all comes together and the result is a post. I am hoping this one is worthy of your time.  I haven't included my usual funny pictures as i don't think its appropriate to be jovial about this matter.  You'll all have to be grown-ups and read because I'm trying hard to be serious people.

I watched a TED Talk on Upworthy last night and bells started ringing as it often does.  This one addressed an issue that affects all of us, especially women, and provided a possible solution, which is always better than stating the obvious and letting the listener/watcher/reader hang in mid air thinking "OK, now what do I do?"

The question I'm asking myself is how can I/WE as individuals play a part in stopping the violence that surrounds us?

Are we so desensitised to the ever increasing culture of violence that we no longer see it and consider it normal?  When you read the news and there are stories on all manner of violence in our cities day after day, do you find yourself flicking the pages/screen because you don't want to read it (its not about you) and go for the arts, sports (now there is some violence) or the entertainment section. Behind each of those stories are real people, real victims, real perpetrators and even more real silent bystanders. Very rarely does violence happen in total isolation.  Someone knew it was happening and did nothing. 

I am not suggesting that the following examples of violence are acceptable in any way but they are so frequent, so much a part of our culture that there seems little we can do about it and we have overtime become desensitised to it.

-  Domestic Violence
-  Rape and Molestation
-  Verbal Abuse
-  Public Nuisance and Drunkenness - its not funny OK!
-  Road Rage - Grow Up
-  Trolling - Do Unto Other....
-  Profanities - so normal now its in the Dictionary
-  Graffiti - is it now art because i consider it a property crime?
-  Violence at public demonstrations by both the police and the protesters that are"rent a crowd".
-  Sports that glorify extreme violence or rough play that get far greater ratings than non violent sports

-  Entertainment on TV and in movies has become so violent that a "nice family movie" is now seen as a negative thing, a RomCom is sloppy or a Chick Flick (because that a negative thing, right?) and a blockbuster may as well be filmed in a slaughter house for all the lack of humanity it contains. The thrill needs to be escalated each time and no plot is needed.  I've never understood how the feeling of fear and horror can be associated with entertainment.  Why would you want to feel those emotions in your leisure time?  I sometimes watch action movies with The Boys and spend half the time under a pillow.

I'd like you to watch this You Tube clip.

A Ted Talk That Might Turn Every Man Who Watches It Into A Feminist
Jackson Katz, PHD   Founder/Direct of MVP Strategies

If you don't then nothing I'm saying will probably make any sense.  It will take just under 20 minutes which is just long enough to go through a cup of coffee/tea and a few biscuits. I'm hoping by the end of it you feel energised and that all is not lost and that we can change "our world" and that by doing so we can impact the greater World itself.  When the speaker talks about having great leaders in our community remember that those leaders didn't get there on their own.  They were usually voted in by us or we chose them to be a part of our community.  I'm not just talking about politicians. I'm talking about all the people you surround yourself with who ultimately become part of your life.  Your peers.

If you didn't watch the whole thing, start at 10 minutes and go to the end.  This is not about the victim of violence nor is it about the perpetrator of violence.  Its a call to arms for all the other people, the bystanders, which probably includes you and me.

The main message that i received was that we need to change the culture of our society so that acts of violence are seen as weakness not strength.  When a enough people stand up and say "Hey, that is not acceptable behaviour" then over time the culture changes. Society needs to send a message to people who are violent that they are not strong but weak, that they are not admired but looked down on.  We need to ensure that our boys in particular are raised with or influenced by positive role models be it a coach, a teacher, parent or family member.   So that they become Real Men not Neanderthal baboons (no insult to primates intended).

My first thought was selfish.  What if i got hurt helping someone else.  I am an important person to my family and i cant put myself in harms way.  I'm being truthful here.  So i went onto the Victorian Police website to see what they recommend that people do when witnessing a violent situation.  There i came across GO4ZERO.

The following highlighted area is taken from their website.

Go4Zero is a community campaign, supported by Victoria Police and the Victorian State Government, which aims to give a public voice to our shared rejection of violence in any form – and violence against women in particular.

The initiative provides support to those who may be threatened with violence or intimidation. It provides a resource of information and ideas on how we can all play a role in reducing violence in the community. Visit our safety advice page, where you'll find a range of helpful hints and advice for staying safe in any situation.

So let’s do it Victoria, let’s come together and help make our great state free from hassles, trouble and violence.

Victoria is one of the world's safest places to live. But any act of violence is unacceptable.

It's up to all of us to play our part in reducing violence – to take a stand against violence in the home, on the street, on public transport and in pubs and clubs.

That's why we've created this practical advice page, to help you learn what to do in the event of a violent or threatening situation.

By coming together and being prepared, we'll all be helping Melbourne, and regional Victoria, Go4Zero
Under the Safety Advice page (link above) there is advice for personal safety and also for helping others in a range of common situations where you might find yourself in a violent situation.  Such as:

In the Home
Family Violence
On Public Transport
In a Busy Place
In a Quiet Place
On the Road
If Someone Has a Weapon

Its worth looking at and becoming familiar with the advice in each situation.  Sometimes, we do nothing because we don't know what to do or because we panic.  By being familiar and thinking your way through situations you have come across before then you are prepared when something does happen and you will have a ready response. Eg. If you travel on the train everyday then make yourself familiar with the advice re public transport.

In general the advice is to:

Report it to police by calling 000   (or your equivalent emergency number)
Trust your instincts and make yourself safe and comfortable
Draw the attention of others and in a loud voice tell the threatening person to stop what they are doing so that they become the centre of attention.
If the event has passed, write down all relevant detail and report to Crime Stoppers. Be observant if not vocal.

More fantastic advice can be found at White Ribbon which operates nationally in Australia and in over 60 countries.  White Ribbon is a male led campaign to end men's violence against women.

White Ribbon - What Men Can Do

In the above link there is advice for men on what to do if they are aware of violence, a witness to violence, or standing up to violence.  It's in man speak and it relevant to situations they may find themselves in. Often women will look to a man, any man, for help and it good to know what to do. If you have young children, some of these responses might be helpful in a situation of bullying at school (which let's face it, isn't most violence an act of a bully).  I also found some of the advice very applicable to women as well.  Its really sad that today more and more young women are not only the victims of violence but the perpetrators of violence against other women, men and children.  Are you all crazy!!!

Helpful things to say when you are in a violent situation:         (Taken from White Ribbon Website)

Don't endanger your own safety. Call 000 in an emergency.
Speaking up against violence can be tricky and varies depending on the situation.
To show you are against violence, you can:
  • Make your concern known.
    • “Hey mate, that’s sexist and I don’t think it’s funny.”
    • “I think those words are really hurtful.”
    • Refrain from laughing when you’re expected to.
  • Personalise the violence or injustice. Bring it home.
    • “What if that was your sister / daughter / mother?”
    • “I hope no one ever talks about you like that.”
  • Remind him that she has feelings and rights.
    • “Just like your mum or your sister, she has the right to be treated with respect.”
  • Ask for an explanation.
    • “What are you doing?”
    • “What are you saying?”
  • Remind him of his ‘best self’.
    • “Come on mate, you are better than that."
  • Use your friendship.
    • “Hey mate… as your friend I’ve gotta tell you that getting a girl drunk to have sex with her isn’t cool, and could get you in a lot of trouble. Don’t do it.”
  • Invite group pressure.
    • “I don’t feel good about this. Does anyone else feel uncomfortable too?"

OK, i think I've emptied my head now, so ill let you think about the above and hopefully you'll come back with some interesting feedback in the comments section.  What the hell is up with the formatting? I've done something stupid, no doubt.  Yes, I've hit the T button with the little x.

Thanks for Visiting 
Living In The Land Of Oz


  1. Oh dear, I shouldn't have started reading this post at 10.30pm, Lynda! I will have to view the video later on as I need to start getting this ageing body to bed. :-) I agree with what you are saying. Well said and well done!

  2. I finally made the time to watch this. It's good! it's getting to the heart of the issue and the heart of the solution and it's made me stop and think. Thank you for sharing.


Please leave a comment. I enjoy making connections with my readers. Hope you enjoyed your visit.