The work I do around domestic family violence usually comes under the remit of Diversity and Inclusion. This is appropriate because I believe the only way a workplace can truly support their employees and/or customers dealing with domestic family violence is to include without reservation people from all communities and groups. At the moment, there is a narrative around domestic family violence and it has become the only narrative we hear. We need to start expanding the conversation.
A solution is what matters
Using gender alone to qualify someone as a perpetrator or victim is not going lead to conversations conducive to finding a solution. And for me finding a solution is what matters. It is hard to have this conversation around inclusiveness when for generations as women we were not included. We have lived for so long in a patriarchal society; disrespect and objectification of women had become the norm. Society is changing and this disregard for women is being called out by men and women. I am proud to live in society where this change is taken place. We have a way to go, and progress may be slow. But we are heading in the right direction, and we must make sure we stay on course. Male privilege will say this is not true, but the thing with privilege is when you have it you are unaware of it.
We are failing the next generation
This is such a complex issue and one that evokes anger, but until we can be brave enough to see it from all angles in all its ugliness a solution will evade us. In my opinion the conversation must grow to keep it alive and if we do not accept the complexities of this issue we are failing the next generation.
Men are victims of domestic family violence
There are some uncomfortable truths we need to accept. One of these truths is, men are victims of domestic violence. In same-sex relationships; but also by women in heterosexual relationship. They are victims of elder abuse and men living with a disability are vulnerable to abuse.
As a woman, it can be a hard thing to admit because we have been disrespected and abused for generations when we had no power. It feels almost disloyal to our female ancestors.
There are men who appear to hate women and equality and they will jump on this and say ‘See I told you it was all women’s fault!’ These are not men who are being abused. The men who spill hate about women on the premise of defending men; are in fact making it worse for the men who are being abused and need to be heard.
Talking about this is uncomfortable
The fact it makes me nervous to acknowledge this shows we have a problem. When I mention men as victims of domestic violence; I have been shut down by both men and women and accused of being disloyal to women and other survivors. So frequently, we hear it is such a small percentage of men who are victims; it is not worth talking about. So are we saying the abuse men, and in many cases their children, suffer in these toxic relationships do not matter?
Hate and anger will not solve domestic family violence
Hate and anger will never solve this issue. We all need to stop the hate talk. Which is so hard when there is so much hurt, I know I have been there. I don’t pretend to have all the answers, oh how I wish I did. This is a complex issue, and we all need to pull together to work out how we can create real and lasting change. I believe as a society we are strong enough to sit with this truth. Because together I know it is not only possible to find a solution but probable.
The vast majority of the population are neither bullies or abusers. So, imagine what we can achieve for this generation and the next generation if we all come together to find a solution.