A show I watched on EMTV this morning spoke about the “1 Billion rising” campaign that is held every year throughout the world in February. Statistics show 1 in 3 women will be raped worldwide or experience some form of Family Violence in their lives. Based on the world’s population, this number equates to 1 billion+ women, hence the campaign title – “1 Billion rising”.
Institute of National Affairs spokeperson, Isi Oru, spoke about male advocacy and its paramount importance and the MAN group of government employees and male advocates in PNG. We think this is brilliant however 30 people in government, whilst a great start, will not change a nation or solve the cries of the women and children of this nation, nor the pain of the men in our country.
Prime Minister O’Neill, here is your chance to listen very carefully and address this issue properly instead of follow the quick fix solutions of your advisers who might be strategically knowledgeable in a few areas however behavioural change, family violence and changing men’s mentality is not their area of speciality, period. Thank you for recognising this.
Even more alarming, was the continued accusations of a woman in the EMTV program, against the men who were in attendance of the 1 billion rising event in Port Moresby. She yelled at them and accused them of being the problem and admitted her and all women’s fingers were “pointed at them”.
Yes, I also agree enough is enough and men should not be doing this but straight away I thought, I wonder how many men listen to her when she speaks to them like that. I certainly would not want to speak to ANYBODY who did not have the courage, patience, understanding and maturity to derive sustainable solutions.
Almost 99% of you reading this would be challenged if I came up to you and said, without taking time to understand your thoughts and feelings, “Why do you keep being an idiot? How long have you been like this? It’s you that causes all the problems in this country despite other women being involved” etc. I could go on but you get my drift.
Some of you will say, Eddie, it does not compare at all – men are hitting women, they are raping them and they are killing them!
I would respond, “I AGREE!”
But just like you would be defensive and want to run away, stand and fight against the allegations or just freeze and not know what to do, all these men you are pointing the finger at are the feeling the same.
After running Men Against Family Violence campaigns in Port Moresby through the organisation I founded in 2013 (“1,000 Strong – Men Against Family Violence”), the feedback from men on the street is, “we are tired of these women’s campaigns and movements, who is helping us men to become empowered?” They simply do not want to listen any more. At our workshops, these men felt empowered and deeply appreciative of our organisation taking time to simply come and speak with them and give them techniques on how to manage anger, stress and empower themselves so they do not commit violence in the first place.
You see, our society and many societies throughout the world even, have forgotten one basic but fundamental principle – that is, men committing violence is actually reflective of their own issues, challenges and fear that they need to work through in the first place. They ALSO need empowerment… but who is helping them?
Your own life has not been without struggle so imagine the many men in Papua New Guinea who were born angels to their mothers, grew up in the settlements, with fathers who have abandoned them, got beaten up by their mother and other family members and a father who passed through once in a while. Yes, imagine the boy growing up hardened into a criminal, who wanted to learn but his sense of self-esteem was battered before he could even say his first word and he grew up knowing that violence was right.
So…. thoughtful woman of PNG, imagine him as an adult, listening to you as he sat at a women’s convention (assuming he came in the first place) telling him he was not good enough and that it was his fault and everything else you want to label him. Then the Australian journalists and the whole world join the party and label him also…..would he be thinking of changing or running and hiding, thus maintaining the cycle of violence as it was not broken?
My question is, “do you want another 38 years of blood on your hands?” Your attitudes, this very attitude that is common amongst many, many women in PNG is NOT going to do anything, and you realise it.
The challenge is, our own egos get in the way and yours will too. The thing is I AGREE with you – this must stop. However it will NOT stop with you yelling at men in the country.
Awareness is one thing but ACCUSATIONS is another thing and the truth remains, not all men in PNG are like this. It is as if, you want another 38 years of violence but I will take it as a lack of understanding this issue in its entirety that causes your common reaction.
Have you noticed that this is how we speak about violence in society?
Joe is beating up Mary
Joe beat up Mary
Mary got beat up by Joe
Mary got beat up
Mary is a battered woman
So, by the time we stop talking about it, every knows that Mary is battered. The great thing about the numerous organisations (in this space) in PNG, are that they have encouraged women to speak up and escape Family Violence and so forth. We are happy that this is happening also.
But, who did we forget about? What happened to Joe? Who is he raping or hurting since leaving Mary? Who is going to help Joe stop this cycle and stop teaching his son’s this life of fear? Who is going to recognise that Joe needs help and rehabilitation, not your fingers?
Our organisation, now called “Warrior Culture – Men against Family Violence” believes in a Papua New Guinea where all men are NOT violent. The tragic reality is, 2.3 million women in PNG will experience violence in their lifetime or 2 in every 3 approximately.
This gives an organisation like ours, 2.3 million reasons to help the men of PNG (just like Joe) so they do not commit violence in the first place.
We are focused on breaking down the warrior culture mentality (that we are strong and powerful and can get what we want, when we want) and the stigma associated with men’s challenges like depression, anger management, low self-esteem, career problems and much more.
In 2014 we will be continuing our community development work where we work with men in settlements, suburbs and sporting teams around Port Moresby (eventually going to other centres in PNG) to understand the issue and how to empower themselves with their lives so they do not feel the need to control others. Our belief is that men will not change unless they are given an incentive to do so. Healing and empowering themselves is a much better reason than somebody forcing you to change.
I myself, lead these programs and deliver them. We know PNG men and we know how to help them.
This year our media campaigns will also ensure that everybody is talking about this issue in their houses, offices, schools, government and all over PNG.
So as the founder of this organisation, I offer some pretty simple pointers/solutions to this challenge that everybody is working to solve (however seem to be solving the symptoms):
- If you want a man to change, stop pointing fingers and believing policies and strategy and quick fixes will work. It never has and never will as we are dealing with humans here. Men need healing and empowerment.
- A violent man is a man trapped in fear and low self-esteem.
- If a man is healed he will not commit violence in the first place.
- More investment needs to be made into men’s programs throughout PNG.
It makes so much sense to help men to stop being violent in the first place. Again, there are 2.3 million reasons why organisations like ours need assistance – we are experts in this area however we need your help so we can take this forward even more in 2014 and beyond.
Join us, partner with us, support us, like us, follow us, donate to us, learn from us….or anything else you want to ask please do so. Our new website will be up soon but keep an eye out for us.
We do need to stop this. I implore you to keep doing the great work with empowering women, but I implore you to stop accusing men as it is driving a huge rift and developing anger in the men on the streets of PNG, a place where many policy makers do not go and do not know. Further, it only encourages men to hide from their failures when we need them to speak out about it and heal themselves.
How many more years do you want this to be an issue in PNG. More importantly, what are you really doing to stop it in the FIRST PLACE?
If you have any questions email me at firstname.lastname@example.org – I’ll be more than happy to assist.
We believe in a Papua New Guinea where all men are not violent and our women, children and families are safe and free.
“Warrior Culture – Men against Family Violence”