Balancing Domestic Violence, Stolen Generations, Child Immigration and Children’s Lives

Recently I’ve heard several speakers talking about the horrors of taking children away from their natural parents and how the children’s lives have been significantly hampered by this significant event in their lives.  These stories – while heart-rending – ignore the reasons why the children were removed and ignore the stories of some of these children who have gone on to successful lives.  A more balanced perspective and focus on outcomes would help us decide how to best support children, from all backgrounds.Read More »

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Dear Sonia: Men Talking about ‘Gender Issues’ (aka Violence)

So, Sonia, you want men to talk about gender issues (Orchard, ‘I wish men were as interested in discussing gender issues as women are’, Daily Life, 2 Sep 16).  By which you meant, to quote you, ‘Why aren’t men discussing how they’re  feeling?’, eventually, why do men behave ‘appallingly’ and – rather conclusively – that men have ‘a warped perception of what a man is supposed to be’ (a rather biased conclusion when you ask for a discussion!).

OK, I’ll talk.  But first, I don’t think I’m your ‘normal’ man.  I think I’m pretty feminist and egalitarian (setting myself up here…).  I don’t like lots of men’s interests and pursuits (heavy drinking, men only groups, being out with the boys).  But I do have some things about me that I don’t like that are very ‘male’.  I don’t understand these aspects of me and I don’t think you, or women generally, understand them either.Read More »

WALKING, MEN AND VIOLENCE

I was doing my usual exercise walking in the streets early in the morning. Ahead of me, about 100m away, I saw a woman walking towards me.  She walked slowly, in casual working clothes, smallish, middle-aged, normal.  As we got to within 30m, she veered on to the road, as if to cross to the other side.  I kept walking.  We passed without recognition, a parked car between us.

The strange thing was…there was no footpath on the other side of the road. After we passed, I turned to see that she had come back on to the footpath behind me.  Why had she done this?Read More »

TOUCH: WE NEED MORE, NOT LESS

As the domestic violence and sexual assault royal commissions roll on in Australia, revealing the extraordinary amount of inappropriate contact between people, and in the light of the Oxford University research showing us who can touch whom where (‘Maps show where touching is allowed’), the truth is: most of us want and need more touching, not less.

Personally, I’ve always struggled with the ‘right’ amount of touching, particularly for women or girls. The desire to show friendliness, affection, to commiserate, to share joy are all good reasons for touching another person.  But where to touch, how much to touch, for how long and how will it be construed by the recipient? Read More »