These are difficult and loaded conversations. Even for people who have some facility with words, it isn't easy to pitch a point of view without putting some heat on it.Although I mostly agree with Domus on this issue I respect your viewpoint and feel for the pain you must have suffered during your upbringing JB
No violence is acceptable, and no partner or child abuse is acceptable- regardless of gender. I’m fortunate in that I don’t know anyone personally who has suffered abuse (except for my Mum and her siblings growing up in the depression) however my sister was a social worker with Children’s Protection Services and the things she encountered on a daily basis were too horrific for her to talk about. It defies belief how parents, both mums and dads, can be so wilfully abusive to their children.
I do think men need a bigger, louder voice to gain more attention to their side of the equation, to their needs, and the plea should be for all domestic violence and mental abuse to stop.
Women may not be so physically violent but they can cause a great deal of mental and emotional harm by such things as withholding access to the children etc
And I think, generally speaking, women’s actions are more often excused, or they more easily gain public sympathy
Rosie Batty had the ear of the nation and could easily have made it a plea for all domestic violence and abuse to stop.
And I heartily commend you for having those conversations with your son JB
But I'm trying.
I can't help but be flummoxed and bamboozled and other quaint terms by the suggestion that Batty has in some way failed or been derelict. There is widespread acknowledgment about the particular nature and extent of men's violence in the home. Rosie Batty didn't make this up, she simply drew upon her own horrific story to draw attention to the issues she has personally experienced.
We should feel challenged by stories like hers, but I don't see a need to feel threatened.
And we should undoubtedly and wholeheartedly acknowledge the pain of people in our society, as much as compassion allows, whether they are a middle-class divorcee who struggles to leave the house because of crippling anxiety or a working class bloke who works as hard as anyone but is only one lost week of wages from being homeless.
I know that men can suffer violence and I know that women can inflict it.
Still, I don't understand why any of this makes the story and advocacy of people like Rosie Batty any less legitimate. Do other people need a bigger voice, or do we all need to listen more carefully to their pain? Yes. Do their stories need to be shouted over the top of the many female victims of domestic violence in order to be heard? No, they most certainly don't.
I will continue to talk about these things with my son, because I do worry that he'll internalise a lot of the discussion around 'toxic masculinity' and feel like sh*t about himself at a time when his self-esteem is under attack from every possible angle.
I have come to despise the term 'toxic masculinity'. It is filled with poison, and yet at the same time it is devoid of intrinsic meaning, which is to say that it comes to mean whatever the person who uses it wants it to mean.
Nevertheless, the casual relationship that many men have with violence and its partnering with a need for control can and does cause profound damage behind closed doors, and we should continue to call it out for the sake of us all, not least the frightened souls who need to grow up amongst it.