Men. This is what you can do for us.

24 Feb



The increasing tension provoked by men participating in public discussions about family violence is serving only to distract us from our focus on the topic.

This excellent piece by Amy Gray in The Guardian in which she analyses the problematics of a dominantly male panel on ABC TV’s Qanda last night (unfortunately titled “Family Violence Special”) affirms my assertion and I urge you to read it.

Denying anyone a voice is not my thing, often to my own disadvantage and at times almost ruin, but on this topic, at this stage, I don’t think men on panels are doing us much good at all.

I speak only for myself, and when I see that a panel on family violence, perpetrated by far more men than women, is a panel actually dominated by men, my question is WTF?

Followed by, I’m tuning out because there is nothing men have to say on this topic that I am ready and willing to hear at this point. That doesn’t mean I don’t like you, respect you and in some instances, love you. It means you need to step away because we need our moment, like we need the air we breathe.

I want the issue handled publicly by women, and there are thousands of women in this country who have the most extraordinary insight, expertise and personal experience to keep a thousand panels going for a thousand and one nights.

If I was a man I can’t imagine fronting up to such a gig and thinking my point of view counted for very much at all in that setting.

Addressing reasons why men are violent towards women and children is of course fundamental to prevention. Perhaps this is a topic that could sustain a panel all of its own, and not be conflated with the rare opportunity for the primary victims and survivors of family violence and their advocates to speak publicly on the topic.

I am likely going to cop all kinds of shit for saying this, but what I ask of men is that you focus your attention on other men, and vacate the space, just quietly leave the space of public discussion such as last night’s Qanda, for women. This is what you can do for us.

I know not all men hit women and children, and I know it’s offensive to some men to be lumped in with the hitters. But what I say to you is your sense of offence is nothing compared to us being hit, so don’t ask us to deal with it, and don’t expect us to listen to it because we can’t, and there’s no reason why we should.

We cannot stop violent men making non violent men look and feel bad. You have to do that yourselves.

Women need our moment. We need it like the air we breathe. You can do this for us. Respect.




37 Responses to “Men. This is what you can do for us.”

  1. Hawkpeter February 24, 2015 at 12:04 pm #

    I had a different take on last night’s Q&A episode and the article you mentioned that talked about it.

    I wasn’t sure that I was going to watch it at all on iview this morning, as over the weekend when watching the advertisements, I already started to cringe; so frequently I am unimpressed with the discussion on this important topic on the whole. I will try to explain why.

    My different take is that I feel like there is a good, well-explained position on the point of view of the problem from the female perspective. The stats and evidence are all there, it is inarguable, the importance of the issue is well known, and I think our society has entered the next phase.

    That next phase is, in my opinion, (and I think actually what is demanded by the female perspective) the taking of ownership of the issue by men who are perpetrators. For that to happen, it just might be time to hear responses, reflection and opinion from males now.

    I agree that men holding other men accountable is a huge part of the next step, and for that to happen, the air time might now need to start to move from the cathartic testimony of disaffected women, and onto what happens next; how do males respond. “What are you going to do about it?”

    Some will respond terribly. Some do not know how to respond. Men talking about domestic violence is exactly what has been missing. It might mean that they take up some of the space on this issue for a while: this is a good thing. Previously, all the dialogue was from Women, health professionals, legal representatives, law and order personnel and politicians. Regular men were silent, and I think there is some common ground on this; they can fix it.

    Men are, if anything, fixers and doers……… it sounds like its time for some fixing and doing on this issue.

    Am I right?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson February 24, 2015 at 12:51 pm #

      I don’t know if you are right. I certain see your point of view, and am mostly in agreement with it.

      Where I differ is that is that I don’t think women have had enough opportunity to speak in forums that are granted mainstream legitimacy, such as Qanda, and it was most unfortunate that the producers made the decisions they did.

      I also know that the road to healing and resolution is a very, very long one, and there is on it a section in which no victim/survivor can be expected to listen to the perpetrator’s point of view. The need to speak of the suffering is too great, and must be allowed. I think we are on that section of road, and we must give it the respect it is due.


      • Hawkpeter February 24, 2015 at 1:26 pm #

        I guess I can’t comment on the need to speak and be heard from the victim’s point of view. Certainly, it is a case by case basis and unfortunately new cases are created all the time. Undoubtedly, it is necessary.

        Perhaps more so, an increase in dialogue on the issue will come from the perpetrator’s side and more importantly, like the issue with bullying, will come from the bystanders who otherwise don’t do anything.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Michaela Tschudi February 24, 2015 at 1:05 pm #

    My sentiments exactly. Sweet!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hawkpeter February 24, 2015 at 2:09 pm #

    I feel like the law and order response throws too much responsibility onto victims; hence the repeated scenario of deaths occurring despite AVO’s etc, followed by strangers bleating, “why did she go back to him?” then Police saying, “we can’t do anything until the victim blah blah blah.” Its too late, they’re dead.

    I’m spit-balling on this for a moment but doesn’t anyone else ever think about links between domestic violence and the suicide rate?

    Is there a greater mental health umbrella that these sit under? or is it just conflating two issues; as I say, I’m spit-balling here.

    2 women per week are killed by males that they know in a domestic situation. 36 men kill themselves each week. Are these different symptoms of the same miss-firing? are we in ‘good people doing terrible things’ territory here?

    Suicide is complex, has various influences and manifests in a range of background, but it does still seem to spike a little in the same areas as domestic violence. ‘Normal’ people too will be touched by both issues but is there ANY commonality?

    I don’t feel confident that there is going to be a satisfactory improvement on domestic abuse via communities, perhaps led by male peers and bystanders, stating “Stop that this instant!!!”. In other words, surely the future isn’t just vigilance in the face of wolves everywhere that we must be on the lookout for.

    We have a society in which little boys might grow up and abuse their partners and families and also kill themselves. I just don’t know if that’s 2 things or 1.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jennifer Wilson February 24, 2015 at 2:26 pm #

      I hadn’t even thought of this connection before. I think you could be onto something. But how to explain and unravel I don’t at this stage know.

      Violence of all kinds is about power, even suicide. Perhaps we need in general to learn about empowerment of self and others, rather than power over, and to give more value to the former than we do to the latter.

      I am only speculating. It is vast and complex and very very scary.


    • Anonymous February 25, 2015 at 7:31 pm #

      As depressing as it is to say it Hawkpeter, i imagine the current, stats. linking family violence to suicde are just the tip of the ice-berg.


    • Jim Fitz February 26, 2015 at 10:30 am #

      It is difficult to reason suicide, particularly after the event. There are many times when suicide is used (or threatened) as a way of punishing or controlling an intimate partner. For other situations involving suicide (mental illness, social despair, unable to meet societal expectations) I would consider that the overwhelming influences of patriarchal societies are set as a foundation. Maybe us men can start by dropping our “male privilege” and taking ourselves away from a) ruling, b) solving problems, c) decision making, and then see how society changes. We need to condemn and not participate in violence as sport and in sport, we need to condemn and not participate in violence in wars. We need to ….. the list could go on for pages. Men, We need to step aside!

      Liked by 1 person

      • paul walter February 26, 2015 at 11:42 am #

        Interesting point, that.. we cant accept failure in ourselves either, the (false?) pride thing.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hawkpeter February 26, 2015 at 11:58 am #

        The only thing with ‘dropping the Male Privilege’, is that it has to be done properly so we don’t mix up sexist behavior with detrimental consequences, with sexual dimorphism.

        Getting males generally to stop a)ruling, b) solving problems and c) decision making is going to work about as well as a ‘Pray Away the Gay’ campaign.

        The problem is when those things manifest themselves in abuse and eventually violence. I don’t buy the slippery slope that every male who feels compelled to be President of their local Rotary club is just one step away from bashing their female partner.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jennifer Wilson February 26, 2015 at 1:16 pm #

        I think I want men to listen, hear, and not take over. That’s a generalisation I know, but I hope ya’ll get my drift.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. John Samuel February 24, 2015 at 5:51 pm #

    Well said

    Liked by 1 person

    • Diane Pearton February 24, 2015 at 7:00 pm #

      I have to confess that I haven’t watched Qanda. I am a coward, and seeing the male-dominated panel, and having watched the week before when Tony Jones (as always) allowed the men to talk and talk and talk (oh fuck someone just shut Turnbull up!!), I just knew that I couldn’t trust Tony Jones to deal with this issue at all well.
      Was I wrong?
      Just generally I’m furious. I’m furious about the sick sick joke of the Minister for Women announcing a ‘commitment’ to the domestic violence issue, whilst cutting funds to shelters. I’m furious about this sick sick joke of the PM demonising Gillian Triggs. I’m furious about blue ties, and I’m furious about flags!!

      Liked by 4 people

  5. paul walter February 25, 2015 at 3:41 am #

    I didnt watch it the show.

    I was a bit seething after 4 Corners and MW and went out for a walk, to cool off.

    Funny how little comment there has been on the 4 Corners and do hope people get to see it. The episode was actually structured around a woman, somone at the very bottom of the heap living a very Manus Island sort of life out at the Elizabeth virtual “ghetto”, a nervous wreck exemplar of welfare as punishment for just being a working class woman.

    As the show progressed we saw the oppressors, local rorters, including even church bodies, through to Peter Shergold, Howard confidant and pitiless implementer of the Intervention and other barbarisms passed off as social policy by the corrupt New Facists in their perspective as oppressors of this unfortunate woman.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson February 25, 2015 at 8:11 am #

      I am struck anew at the numbers of people making profit off the backs of the unemployed


  6. paul walter February 25, 2015 at 6:48 am #

    I ts only just coming home to me, just how significant the Star Chambering of Prof. Triggs is, in relation to what is raised in the posting by Jennifer Wilson.

    Has a single public figure of note been subject to such brutalisation as this amazing woman?

    She is a powerful figure, in standing up with grace and dignity to the medieval treatment afforded her by the animal Brandis and his flunkies.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson February 25, 2015 at 8:10 am #

      Well, I guess Julia Gillard copped it big time.
      But this attack on Triggs is something very different.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Di Pearton February 25, 2015 at 8:13 am #

      Well, of course, Julia Gillard, but she put her hand up for it (to an extent) as a politician. Yes, I think Abbott and Co have chosen the wrong figure to vilify and demonise here.
      All strength to her!

      Liked by 1 person

      • paul walter February 25, 2015 at 12:19 pm #

        I think they are discovering they made a bad decison picking on her.

        She is “but a woman” , as Good Queen Bess said of herself before they sank the Armada.

        But I don’t think she got be a professor because she was dumb or a pushover.
        If any one is bloodied it is Brandis, Abbott and their scurvy crew.
        I think something like this when the wheels already are wobbly was the last thing they needed, but given their epic refusal of thought or consideration of others or reality, they deserve all the grief she brings ’em.

        In fact, with the looming Loughnane Credlln financial scandal starting to loom, they took a double whammy and Rupert might not be happy..

        Liked by 2 people

        • Jennifer Wilson February 26, 2015 at 8:25 am #

          To PW: And I am also “but a woman” she says as she prepares to do battle yet another day.


  7. doug quixote February 25, 2015 at 9:04 am #

    The Silence of the Rams.

    Liked by 1 person

    • paul walter February 25, 2015 at 12:20 pm #

      Too right.. in fact Silence of the Wethers, I suspect.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson February 25, 2015 at 2:16 pm #


      That was for DQ, BTW


  8. paul walter February 25, 2015 at 8:56 pm #


    Thank you for comparing me to George Brandis.

    I will remember you both in my will when I write it out. I WILL remember, count on it..

    Liked by 1 person

    • paul walter February 26, 2015 at 2:04 am #

      Btw, saw a photo in one of the newspapers of men doing a march against domestic violence and felt proud of them. I wouldnt have any objection to participating in one.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jennifer Wilson February 26, 2015 at 8:09 am #

        Yes, I agree, I would be moved to see many more of such marches, public demonstrations of support.

        When did I compare thee to George Brandis, PW?


        • paul walter February 26, 2015 at 10:07 am #

          You are hoping I have money in the bank, after all?

          Liked by 1 person

          • paul walter February 26, 2015 at 10:10 am #

            Yes, you can compare me to George Brandis.
            My mistakes over time have been greivous also.


          • Jennifer Wilson February 26, 2015 at 1:13 pm #

            For your sake only PW!

            Liked by 1 person

            • Jennifer Wilson February 26, 2015 at 1:14 pm #

              We have never met, but I doubt you are anything like George Brandis!!!



  1. The 82nd Edition of the Down Under Feminists’ Carnival | A life unexamined - March 5, 2015

    […] Wilson of No Place for Sheep writes about what men can do against domestic violence, starting with listening and foregrounding women’s experiences and not speaking over […]


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