When did we agree that arguing against hate with hate was the way to resolve differences?
This week I have seen people accuse Muslims of all being terrorists, followed with comments that agree with the sentiment like:
“We should shoot them all.”
“Ban the Rag Heads.”
I have also seen the comments that disagree which use similar language.
“You f*#king idiots.”
“F*#k you, racist idiots like you ruin the country.”
I have seen people on welfare abused this week, called bludgers and seen them ripped on in status updates and in papers, the news and on social media.
“I pay my taxes, and these f*#king dole bludgers do nothing and just cruise on my dollar.”
“There shouldn’t be any welfare for these losers, if they don’t go to work they shouldn’t get paid.”
And so on, and so forth. Anger, finger pointing, abuse, name calling, death threats, jokes about killing, deportation, locking them up and condemning people to lives without help dominate the conversation about political affiliation, race, gender, abuse, welfare, sexuality etc etc.
People who don’t agree with you, are simply that. People who don’t agree with you. Now I have had plenty of face-palm moments, I disagree wholeheartedly with many of the bigoted statements that I see in the media and on the internet daily. The path out of ignorance however is not paved with abuse, it is paved with information and understanding.
The bigot who is scared of Muslims is as misinformed as the Muslim who thinks all non-Muslims hate those of the Islamic faith.
The young man or woman of privilege who believes that all people on the dole are simply lazy dole bludgers is as misinformed as the person of disadvantage who believes that all ‘rich’ people are greedy and don’t care about them.
The problem is not necessarily in having differences in opinion. It is in the way we collectively address them.
So in the interest of practicality, if you are going to engage in a discussion in person or online, let’s try and establish some conventions that might help move conversations forward.
Which leaves me with point 8
It is a privilege and a right for us to have our opinions heard and discussed. Let’s make sure that we keep it that way. Be proud of what you have done and said because of how logical it is, not how emotive and mean it was. Spend more time looking for solutions rather than looking for problems, and look at ways to help before you look for ways to condemn. But don’t stop speaking up for those who can’t, we need more informed discussion and less abuse everywhere.As always, remember.
Just Be Nice.
First of all, there is far too many opportunities for people to discuss, real world examples of women being raped by men, and unfortunately I am seeing these stories shared mostly by women.
Men, we need to step up and take ownership of this conversation amongst ourselves as well.
This week alone, I saw a man on a TV show slut shame a woman for sleeping with her partner, I’ve seen convicted rapists let out of prison after serving minimal terms, transcripts from a trial in the US where a judge asked a rape victim why she didn’t just keep her knees together or tilt her pelvis away from her rapist. A women stalked from online and raped, and even a friend of mine who received bruising on her arm from an aggressive man she had been on a couple of dates with, who got mad when she no longer wanted to see him.
Are. You. Serious?
That was just THIS WEEK!
What has happened that not only are we discussing these things as news and entertainment, but that they are so easily accessible that I can’t go a day without seeing it on social media, or hearing about it from my friends.
It’s time for men to step up and say it’s not ok. Not online. In person. Share this, or don’t, but at least think about it. If you share this and don’t pull up your mates for their terrible behaviour, then it’s not really working is it?
How can we, as men, do a better job of pulling up other men for behaviour that might lead to attacks on women?
Well you can keep an eye on your peers/friends that do the following with their partners/girlfriends/women they are dating:
If you know people who act this way, maybe have a chat to them, see why they do, tell them that its not really a great way to treat people and offer them help to find someone to speak to about it. Keep an eye on them and their partner and make sure that she is ok over time. Partners of abusers won’t always leave right away, and that can be frustrating, but be there for them for a time when they might need to leave.
On a comment thread a couple of weeks ago, a female friend of mine had seen in a carpark, a man punch a woman in the face, to the ground. They had been having a verbal confrontation, and the woman slapped the mans face. The man then spat in her face and closed fist punched her to the ground.
The first few comments from men on that thread were along the lines, “Well what did she do to fire him up” “It’s bullshit that women can do whatever they want and if men retaliate they get in trouble”, “Women want equality, but complain when they get back what they dish out”.
Can we just cut that bullshit out?
Women arguing for equal rights are not giving us permission to beat them up when we are mad. These things happen from the way that we as a whole talk about it.
People argue, people fight, people say mean horrible and hurtful things.
None of that gives you permission to rape and/or beat someone up.
I made a graph to clear up any confusion.
Now being ‘traditional’ is no excuse to yell at a woman who wants to have sex with someone for any reason. The point should be that no one should have to be with, or have sex with, anyone that they don’t want to. If a girl has had sex with 200,000 people, it doesn’t mean that she will have sex with you, or your mates. It means she can have sex with whoever she wants to have sex with (provided they want to have sex with her too).
It is that simple. As men we need to end talk about being ‘owed’ sex for any reason. As men we need to stand up and say that it’s not a woman’s fault for not ‘tilting her pelvis’ and being raped, it is the fault of the man who raped her.
It is not the fault of the drunk woman who passed out and was raped. It is the fault of the rapist.
It is disgusting to me that the first comments on many discussions like this start with
“What about women that beat men” – Yes there are issues with all kinds of violence, but a conversation about women abusing men is not a counter argument to men beating women.
“What about women that lie about being raped” – Also not a counter argument to the fact that women are still being raped by men, and that women shouldn’t be getting raped for any reason, ever. That is still not a reason to immediately assume all rape claims are spurious. It is certainly not a reason to make excuses for convicted rapists.
“Women want to be treated like men, then they shouldn’t complain when they get all the same treatment” – Equality of opportunity does not mean men can do whatever they want to women!
Consensual sex is awesome. It can be fun and varied and intimate and wonderful. Healthy sex is consensual sex, good sex is mutually enjoyable sex. You don’t have to marry everyone you have sex with and likewise, if you want to wait until you are married to have sex, you have every right to do so. Everyone has the right to dictate what happens with their own bodies, and no-one should be forcibly abusing another person in any way at all. If you have any doubt about whether someone wants to have sex with you, just ask!
If we change the way we talk to each other about these things, then we can, as men, improve the situation for women who unfortunately, currently have good reason to be wary of us. Men are well placed to look out for other men who might go out and cause harm to women. Pull them up, talk to them about what is and isn’t appropriate, and create an environment where we celebrate men who make other people feel good, and not just men who do whatever they want, when they want.
There is nothing embarrassing for all men for talking about being disgusted by the behaviour of these guys that are committing these crimes. We don’t need to start with the comments like “All the rapists should be burned alive”, “These guys are the worst kind of scum” etc etc. The vitriolic comments and violent rhetoric doesn’t actually help.
What does help, is taking the people around you, and the people you know and talking openly about how pinning a girl to a wall and kissing her when she didn’t want to be kissed, is not cool. That getting someone drunk so you can have sex with them, is not cool. That bringing a girl home and letting your mates watch you have sex with her, or letting them join in without her consent, is not cool. That if a girl doesn’t want to see you, that’s ok. That you are never owed sex. That 3am trips to your house, do not guarantee that you’ll be having sex with someone. Being drunk isn’t an excuse for putting your hands on a woman inappropriately. No outfit on the planet is a blanket invitation for anyone to have sex or touch whatever part of a woman they like. Drugging someone’s drink is not cool, for any reason. That being a dickhead only makes you a dickhead, it doesn’t make you cool. The number of people someone has had sex with has nothing to do with how good they are as a person. The number of people someone has had sex with is no indication of how many more people they will have sex with, and certainly there is no magical number over which someone will definitely just have sex with you.
Bring it up, it’s not embarrassing, it’s just real. I think everyone should be having great sex, and no one should be getting raped. It’s up to men to pull each other up when there aren’t women around, to prevent things from happening when they are. We can do better, and improve the situation for women in generations to come.
Share the articles, let women know that it’s not ok for men to get away with rape and slut shaming and treat them terribly. Let women know that there are some men out there who recognise the problem, and even though we don’t always know what to do about it, we are here to learn and help however we can.
Just Be Nice - J
Off the back of some conversations I have had recently with people about Indigenous Australians and the situation we as a country find ourselves in dealing with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and individuals, I thought I would film something that was basically the conversations I've been having. Given the vitriol that I have seen on social media and in the regular media lately, I think its worth looking at the situation perhaps in a different way.
Its not super long, but its longer than my regular VLOG's because there was a bit of ground to cover, but you can also listen to it as audio, you'd still get most of the info out of it.
Hopefully we can improve some understanding here and work on solutions rather than just finger pointing and passing blame. Misunderstanding and fear is one of the biggest blockers to progress, and the #JBNProject is all about providing solutions, not just talk, so lets raise the level of understanding, along with the equality of opportunity.
Enjoy, and Just Be Nice.
This is one of my favourite photos of all time.
It was taken by one of the at-risk kids during a hip-hop tour of St Kilda about 5 years ago. There were plenty of out of focus, terrible photos taken during this trip, as I handed my camera to a couple of interested kids and showed them briefly how to use it. This one, though, has it all.
My man Nadav, leading from the front, as he always has. A real inspiration and support of mine and hundreds of others, Nadav is one of the selfless ones. Having been through a lot himself, a fighter with a huge heart, you would be hard pressed to find a more generous and caring version of a man. At the time, we were just a couple of guys in our 20’s helping out local youth. Now Nadav is also a devoted father, with a beautiful wife who’s passion to help matches his own fire.
At the back, bringing up the rear, behind a group of kids who despite disadvantage bring an attitude and enthusiasm to our activities that I am yet to see among children of privilege, I am keeping an eye on a cheeky little bugger who is climbing on a road sign.
We took photos, checked out graffiti and finished up at a breakdance competition. We talked and walked. It was one of many such activities and events we did for years and years as part of the PCYC outreach programs.
And that’s what it’s all about. No one big moment of clarity or inspiration. Nadav is the same strong fighting and caring spirit today as when I met him 8 or 9 years ago. We were just there. That is the hardest part to measure. It doesn’t show up easily in KPI measures, it takes a long time. Nadav and many of my colleagues dedicated years of their lives to simply being present for people in need.
This wasn’t a one off inspirational chat. This wasn’t resume building. It was building trust, consistency builds trust, and with trust you can have an exponential influence and impact on the lives of those who need a guiding hand.
Some days we would just play basketball, other days, I taught interested kids how to box. We talked about school, and talked trash to each other on the court. Occasionally the police would give us the heads up that some of the kids had been acting up. If they wanted to talk, we were there. If they didn’t want to talk, we were there. We brought muffins when we had them, oranges and apples, cordial, you know, kids stuff. Over time we saw some kids grow into amazing young adults, and we saw some stray.
That is the natural attrition of this kind of work. It could break your heart, or it can strengthen your resolve. Not necessarily to go for bigger and better sounding events. But to be there more, to be more consistent, and provide longer and more meaningful support.
We will never have an equality of outcome, everyone is far too different, but with people like Nadav leading the charge, we can certainly work towards an equality of opportunity where every youth in Australia is afforded the necessary attention and support they need to be the very best that they can. Yes, some need more than others and that’s ok, because we are all different, and we all deserve that chance.
This is one of my favourite photos of all time.
As a caveat, This is not really a feel good story. The Just Be Nice Project is about finding ways to help people Just Be Nice, but this issue is a particularly tricky one. It has so many moving parts that I feel like we avoid the conversation about it sometimes. Having experienced it first hand, seeing it during outreach work, speaking to professionals and hearing stories from friends, I want to try to bring the conversation forward so that we can look at constructive and effective ways to support people to move forward through these situations.
I have two friends.
Girl 1 and Girl 2.
Girl 1 used to go out with a guy, but now Girl 2 goes out with this same guy.
Girl 1 is scared of what might happen to her, if I tell Girl 2 that this guy is abusive. Exhibiting nearly every one of the classic signs of being an abusive partner, to date this guy hasn’t physically harmed Girl 1, but has been verbally and emotionally abusive over a period of time, threatened her, thrown furniture in the apartment etc. etc. While he hasn’t laid a violent hand on her to date he has nevertheless engaged in outbursts against others in the very recent past.
I have seen the messages, heard the voicemails, and I have known Girl 1 for a very long time. She is sad, anxious and worried about what this guy might do because his behavior has been getting violent escalating and really, there is the problem.
How do I bring this up with Girl 2? My initial advice to Girl 1 was to get an AVO so that it is recorded, and he can’t just rock up to her door, or go anywhere near her. In a usual situation abusive partners are seldom abusive in front of other people, and tend to do it in private times, or at times when the abused is most vulnerable. So the abuse hasn't always been via text or recorded voicemail. Even then she is concerned that if she gets an AVO he will get mad and attack her before the police can arrive. Hoping simply to ignore him and that he will just go away.
With an AVO there is third party verification (The police/magistrate) have enough reason/evidence to believe that this guy is a liability. It takes away the conjecture that it’s just crazy ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend talk. I feel like it makes the conversation with Girl 2 a bit easier if that’s the case, and I am less worried about what happens with Girl 1, because if this guy breaks the AVO then the police are able to intervene immediately.
But what if Girl 1 is unsure about the AVO?
She has never been so scared of anyone before, because he is so unpredictable and loose.
There is so much more in play here than simply feeling at risk. Girl 1 has had her self esteem attacked by her partner. Someone she loved and cared for. It was a gradual process, starting off with thinking that he was a great guy. He talked a good game. She looked after him and was a great girlfriend…. But over time, as these things happen, he got worse.
Like many others, girl 1 never thought she would be the kind of girl to be in a relationship like that.
I don’t think anybody ever does think they’ll be that person. And if someone was that aggressive and abusive on the first date, it’s unlikely they’d get a second date. But these situations happen over time, without people really noticing. You start to build a life together, you care about each other, and slowly you start to get isolated, your self-esteem starts to get clawed away, slowly. Jealousy, manipulation, a constant cycle of outbursts and apologies. Raging one minute and love and apologies the next.
Not wanting to make him angry, or cause a scene for fear that his aggressive tendencies would be turned toward her, Girl 1 may not even file an for a restraining order. Even though she understands now that like many others, this guy has had similar issues with former partners.
As a man, I am never quite sure how to deal with this. I have been face to face with male violence towards women and nothing boils my blood more. There is perhaps a caveman instinct to go and confront this guy myself….. But that is silly. There is nothing really to be gained from that, there is no benefit in being a vigilante here. Men like this guy are cowards. They prey on the weak, and break them down emotionally and mentally. They are not the ones to go toe to toe with another man, and confront their own failings, in all likelihood if I did confront him, nothing would happen to me, and he would take it out on someone more vulnerable.
So there goes that idea, and it should be gone. There is nothing to be gained from trying to be a big hero and go and call this guy out. I have seen it before and nothing good comes of it like that.
I do, however, need to tell Girl 2 what this guy is like. Knowing full well that at this stage the conversation will be about his crazy ex-girlfriend, and that this guy will be pouring it on, being the victim and promising the world. Even though two days ago, he told Girl 1 that he still loves her.
I am not sure how to support Girl 1 to get the help that she needs, after speaking to a police friend of mine, who said “I've been dealing with it for years - it's hard to watch girls never leave” when I said that I am concerned for my friend and every one of this guys girlfriend afterwards.
As the violent behaviour escalates, we can end up with violent men who have no official record, but are known to police and support services. Eventually an arrest occurs due to a larger, more violent outburst for some poor partner down the track. “Happens all the time [because] Most girls too scared to do anything”
In the end, I will tell Girl 2, and I am obviously here to help Girl 1 with whatever the outcome is. It is a difficult one because I don’t like to see my friends scared, or hurt. I don’t want to be concerned about the long term welfare of friends who are with guys (or girls) like this.
If, on the flip side, I was friends with this guy, and I knew him to be heading down the path of abuse/violence, I would help him to seek the appropriate help to deal with it. As a man and a friend it is up to us to step up and speak to other men that we know, if we know they are acting this way and tell them that it is unacceptable. If you have a friend who acts this way, it is ok to speak to their partner and let them know that you are there to support them and help find the appropriate professional help to deal with the situation. There is no point waiting until something catastrophic happens, if people start to act up, seek the help as early as possible to stop it escalating beyond the point of no return.
In my own experience, one of the most chilling memories of domestic violence was being on the end of my own fathers outburst, alongside my mother, while two of his friends stood there and said nothing and did nothing. I have long known that I would never be one of the men that stands by and just watches this happen… But it doesn’t make it any easier to know what to do in every situation.
I know that it isn’t pleasant, but without a conversation we can’t all move forward and provide a supportive environment for those in distress to speak out and act, and for those with issues to find the support they need to change their behaviours before it is too late. The statistics are far too chilling to just ignore.
Please note, that the discussion of male violence against women does not negate the acts of violence towards men by women. But this piece is written specifically about an experience I have had this week.
If you are unsure of the warning signs there are some here –HERE
If you need someone to call –1800RESPECT is the national family violence and sexual assault counselling service. It is a free, confidential service available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call 1800 737 732 to speak to a professional counsellor.
If you need support you can use the DHS Service Finder - HERE
The quotes have come from online chat that I was having with my friends.So they are direct quotes.
Thanks very much for reading.
Just Be Nice.
Josh Reid Jones - Founder of The Just Be Nice Project and Odin Sports