For Men, on Violence in our culture. Violence towards our own soul,women, children and the environment.

Violence towards soulMen against violence towards women and children, and the environment.

For Men on 16 Days of activism.

Men against violence to their own soul. The tyranny of Ego over soul.

To really understand violence in our western Ego driven culture, we need to accept that the creation of Ego in the west is a violent undertaking.  From the soul’s point of view. As Bell Hooks succinctly expressed, after a certain point Ego development is self-mutilation and crippling to self-esteem.

Once you have denied your soul, all other atrocities are easy. Once you have created separation and made judgments based on separation, all acts of violence and atrocities are easy; even a requirement perhaps, to maintain your standing in the “In Group”. 

If Anger is a defence against  fear:  and attack is the best form of defence, then violence is a defence mechanism against fear.

Poem “What are you afraid of?”  What are we afraid of? What am I afraid of?

Our whole culture is geared toward violence:    Violence is everywhere.  We feed ourselves a constant diet of violence in movies, TV, magazines, radio streaming -videos, etc. Our education system is based on intimidation, punishment and scare tactics. Children are raised the same way, “for your own good.” The final one being Matric which is now mostly useless as a 30% pass undervalues it. Business the same, for the most part exploiting the planet and resources to make money rather than serving the community they operate in.  Our Justice system likewise. Our collective solution to every crisis is to pass more laws with stronger penalties. Violence is all around us, on the roads, at work, at home in our conversations and relationships. 

Even our language and how we relate to each other has an undertone of violence. We teach deep listening like it’s something  new something different.  We listen to interrupt, not to understand. We teach non-violent communication as a coaching skill because our language and communication is inherently violent. We just don’t notice it anymore.

Whatever we are doing is not working, so a new different approach may be required. I am advocating two things: Repair the relationship with soul, and create mens’ circles where men can express their frustrations with other men and not dump it on women, children and the planet. 

The quickest short term solution to this is possibly men’s circles where men can talk about their lives. Their hopes, dreams, and wishes. Their despair, disappointments, and woundings. There is access to these groups around the world and in the major centres of South Africa. 

Long term solution:    Undertake as a community to instill in our children that they are welcome, valued, seen and admired as part of a vibrant community. Not just a bit player in somebody else’s or some other corporations drama. 

Shame: To really understand the violence in men we also need to understand the concept of Shame. Our first and greatest shame is the murder of our own soul. This murder is a prerequisite to enter the territory of the Status Quo. Like the initiation into a gang, there is no King present to limit pain. That is actually the definition of a gang. Initiation rituals with no King or elders present. From that moment on men watch each other intently to catch any whiff of backsliding. Men are constantly having a pissing competition, looking sideways at each other and comparing to see who is the most macho in fear of being outed as suspected as being soft. Constantly looking behind them to see who is going to stab you in the back to gain advantage over you, and take your little piece of the pie. The Girls and women get caught up this as well as being attracted to status and so the whole status quo is reinforced and becomes self-regulating.

About fifteen years ago in the Durban Mercury newspaper, there was an article about empowering women and girls and the scourge of Rape in KwaZulu Natal. The basis of the article was that when rape clinics and help were set up the rapes and violence increased in the community. The men were pissed off that the women were getting all this attention and that the men’s lives did not change. Men felt that were getting a raw deal, high unemployment, low wages and a general lack of recognition for their stresses in life.

Here are some excerpts from Victoria, Australia which say the same thing.

So why quote a story from Australia when SA has such crippling and demanding problems? The answer is this. Like in a good story what happens in Australia is not South Africa and so we can safely speak about them, look at their problems and attempt solutions without dealing with and being triggered by our own stuff. When we have had that conversation and covered the whole territory of abuse then it’s somehow easier to look at ourselves. When we know the territory, the language, we have moved from a defensive position to a conversational one. Now the real conversation can start in South Africa.

When the state government of Victoria first flagged the idea of holding its ground-breaking Royal Commission into Family Violence four years ago, domestic abuse experts around the country practically tripped over themselves in their rush to support it.

Finally, here was an opportunity to crack open the festering, deadly problem and chart a clear path to fixing it. Others, though, began battening down the hatches, preparing for all hell to break loose.

Annette Gillespie, then head of Safe Steps, Victoria’s 24-hour family violence support service, warned government ministers that shining a spotlight on the underbelly of abuse would trigger a fierce backlash from perpetrators, who would react angrily to the idea that their behaviour could be exposed, that they’d have to change.

It was a dangerous time. Ms Gillespie told investigative reporter Jess Hill, because men had never had less control in society, and many would seek to reclaim some of that lost power in their intimate relationships: “It’s the only place they can safely have control, where they can be king of the castle.”

Which is exactly what happened.

By 2017, the number of calls to Safe Steps had shot up dramatically, along with the severity of abuse women were reporting. Counselors were logging more accounts of strangulation, stalking, sexual assault and threats to kill — all red flags showing that, far from being fixed, domestic violence was actually getting worse.

Women, Ms Gillespie said, were suddenly calling in to say that awareness campaigns were making their abusers more volatile: “Can you get them to stop the ad on TV”, they’d beg, “Can you ask them to stop talking about family violence? Because every time he sees that ad he goes nuts.”

Jess Hill

Are we asking the wrong questions about domestic abuse?

And that, Hill says, is the predicament — the “cruel twist” — we now face in 2019.

“The increased attention on men’s violence” — once again amplified, this time by the #MeToo movement — “may actually be making perpetrators more dangerous,” she writes in See What You Made Me Do, her gripping new book about power, control and domestic abuse.

“In homes across Australia, abusive men — furious that women are getting all the attention while their suffering is ignored — are taking out their humiliated fury on their girlfriends, wives and children.”

Compounding the problem, she says, is the fact that services are ill-equipped to handle the influx. The refuge system is in crisis, groaning under the weight of women needing somewhere safe to flee. Police are stretched, too, with some state forces reporting almost half their time is taken up by family violence matters. Courts across the country are also clogged, and women and children are falling through the cracks, with at least one woman each week murdered by her current or former partner.  South African Stats are much higher.

The conversation might go like this. “Why doesn’t she just leave?”, she said, but the more confounding question is, “Why does he stay? Why do these men who seem to have so much hatred for their partners not only stay, but do everything they can to stop their partner from leaving? Why do they even do it in the first place?”

This became the central aim of Hill’s investigation, she said: to go deep inside the minds of abusers; to understand the complex factors that fuel their abuse and, importantly, to find out why, if domestic violence is a “national emergency”, do we keep prioritising long-term strategies for tackling gender inequality over more immediate interventions that will stop men abusing and murdering women right now?

She found that answering those questions meant wading in to an “intellectual turf war” between proponents of a psychopathology model, who argue domestic abuse is a result of mental illness, childhood trauma and substance abuse, and supporters of a feminist model, who see men’s violence as a “by-product of patriarchy: a system in which men feel entitled to dominate, discredit and disregard women”.

The “stock feminist answer”, Hill says — the idea that men’s violence occurs because “society” permits and encourages it — had previously shaped her own views towards abuse.

It also currently dominates the public discussion of violence against women to the point where, after Melbourne woman Courtney Herron was found brutally murdered last month, police and politicians directly linked the attack to “toxic masculinity“, and men’s “attitudes” towards women and not, as some commentators were quick to highlight, the alleged perpetrator’s mental health issues.

Where she landed, however, was somewhere in the middle.

“We can’t have this conversation as though abusive men are just these faceless foot soldiers of the patriarchy, who are imprinted on by culture and whose behaviour is [influenced] by porn and outdated modes of masculinity,” Hill said.

“Yes, men are shaped by those things. But to really understand why they [commit domestic violence], we have to look at what kind of emotional landscape an abuser occupies … and that means looking at things like shame and humiliated fury,” and, for some, even their use of drugs and alcohol.

‘Men who are shame-ridden can be like a tinderbox’

Having combed through decades of research and conducted dozens of interviews with local and overseas experts and abusive men themselves, Hill argues many abusers harbour a deep desire for intimacy and belonging, which is being warped into violence by powerful feelings of shame.

“For the vast majority of abusers, shame is a really important [emotion] for us to understand,” she said.

“Men who are shame-ridden can be like a tinderbox in their relationship because if they … choose to try and dispel that unbearable feeling of shame — [which might be triggered] when they’re being challenged, or when they are not getting whatever it is they think they are due from their intimate relationship, or when they just feel like they’re being exposed for being a vulnerable, emotional human being with frailties and flaws — if they choose to replace that feeling of shame with a feeling of power, by attacking, they [can be] a very dangerous individual.”

Importantly, Hill said, many men in relationships who struggle with feelings of shame would “sooner kill themselves than kill their partner”.

“So it’s not like, because a guy has deep shame he will necessarily become an abuser. But if he chooses to take the path of least resistance and attack other people as a way of making himself feel powerful, or at least make him feel like he is obeying the laws of masculinity” — to be strong and in control, to avoid showing weakness or vulnerability — “then that’s a really bad situation.”

Men are afraid women will laugh at them’ 

For the word laugh, replace with disrespect, belittle, nag, accuse, demand.

That doesn’t mean patriarchy is off the hook. We need to talk about patriarchy’s role in driving men’s humiliation, Hill writes, how it “shames them into rejecting their own so-called ‘feminine’ traits, like empathy, compassion, intuition and emotional intelligence”.

But we also need to talk about the ways this “system” is upheld — and policed — by other men, she said, to everyone’s detriment.

“We talk about men needing to respect other women, but we don’t talk about [the idea] that men need to respect other men, too. Men need to allow each other to live emotional, embodied lives.”

Instead, she said, “the way men defend against the power and control of other men is to pull on the uniform of misogyny,  to prove they’re not a girl … or [gay].”

 “Men are afraid women will laugh at them,” Atwood famously wrote, “and women are afraid men will kill them.”

Link to where I found this article.       https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-06-23/jess-hill-domestic-violence-cruel-twist-abusive-men/11188842?fbclid=IwAR08-ASf0KmqJcDML4SaYMtUrGfoPhGF7O5KcaKwS2Vp_nXr7MasSBtu8OE

Solutions:

The quickest short term solution to this is possibly men’s circles where men can talk about their lives. Their hopes, dreams, and wishes; Their despair, disappointments, and woundings. There is access to these groups around the world and in the major centres of South Africa. Man Kind Project SA already has these circles running This could be a basis to expand this type of circle to open circles. Some questions though?

  • Are we preaching to the converted?
  • Are the men who are in need of this going to actually participate as this would be a voluntary participation?
  • Do the men who need this think/feel they need help or is the problem always outside of themselves?

Long term solution:    Undertake as a community to instill in our children that they are welcome, valued, seen and admired as part of a vibrant community. Not just a bit player in somebody else’s or some other corporations drama. 

  • Could the elders of the various groups come together and lead the way on this.

Mankind Project’s Next training, 

To learn more about ManKind Project follow this link: http://tinyurl.com/y324b62t

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