As part of the Acronym for R.E.S.P.E.C.T let’s go to E = Encouragement
There are plenty of knockers in the world. One of the things that Aussies are noted for (and not in a good way) is we are the best at “cutting down the tall poppies”, pulling down anyone who dares to step out of the masses and declare their independence and differences.
In the family violence services and prevention space this appears in two forms. You must comply with the current orthodoxy on how to prevent family violence or you are virulently opposed to the “man haters” and attack! We see both at work on social media (and in mainstream media) and none of it is particularly edifying.
Which is why I am writing “The Real Men Challenge” which is taking a “strength based approach” to the problem of family violence. I don’t have any problem calling I out bad behaviour when I see it or challenge faulty logic or thinking. Correcting someone or offering a counter argument is a long way from the personal abuse and “labelling” that seems to be the primary weapon on social media.
Which is why “Encouragement” should be a central part of RESPECT.
When we deal with victims/survivors of family violence we want to encourage (and another E word, empower) them to make positive decisions to get out of their controlling relationship or to seek help. And stand with them and encourage them on the journey. Words like “you can do this” and “we support you” are so important (especially when they have been robbed of their self worth and confidence).
We also need to encourage friends and family to rally around the victim/survivor as they work it all out and support them.
We need to encourage the community to not give into “family violence fatigue” but instead maintain the determination to keep doing something about it. Hold White Ribbon Fund Raisers, education sessions, use music or art to get the message across.
We also want to encourage everyone to “Stand Up, Speak Out and Act” to prevent family violence.
And finally we want to encourage men.
Encourage men to use their God given positive qualities of courage, strength, justice, determination to call out bad behaviour when they see it. To call out their mates when they are just plain wrong. And for those men who recognise they need to change, to admit they need help and then get the help. We can create a better world by not pulling these men down but lifting them up to attain the higher qualities of manhood.
And, encourage men to be the positive role models to their children, to their families, in their workplaces, in the community.
Men, be a leader of good. People are watching and take notice.