I would have thought abuse against women would lessen as the younger generations grew into the men of today. That they knew better than to rape or sexually assault a woman - unknown to them or their own partner, a person they are meant to love & respect. That they knew better than to slam a woman against the wall. To bash her self esteem into shattered pieces with their caustic words & disgustful stares. I thought our generation of twenty first century men were better than this.
So grossly disillusioned.
Headlines, recent & past, prove that too many men today still see nothing wrong with abuse towards women. Verbal, physical, psychological. The bruises are there. I imagine they never truly heal either.
I'm not painting all men with the same misogynistic brush. Many are gentlemen, fine men who would never hurt a woman & would stand to protect them in any situation. Fine men any Mum would be proud to know they helped raise, nurturing them from little boys, through the hormone driven teenage years, to see the young man emerge they are now.
But the men with hidden monsters. The ones who have less commonsense than our early homo-sapien ancestors, the men who see it as their right to treat women as less than any person deserves...What went wrong? Are their parents proud of these young men they helped shape into the perpetrators of today? Was there a turning point during their younger years that sparked the threads of aggression & dominance over females. Nature or nurture?
What is equally scary as their potential to ruin lives, is that these men are completely normal in appearance. They have friends, they go to work at their every day jobs, they care for their parents & treat their pets as family members. They don't go around drooling & grunting, dragging their fists along the ground. They are educated men in today's world of privilege & freedom. Would it be easier, safer, if we could see the fault lines in their personality as easy as we can see the clothes they are wearing?
Raising our own five young boys, the future male generation to come, I constantly question if I'm doing it right. What are we doing to instill the right values, morals & respect towards all women with our boys. They love their sister & their Mum. They love their Grandma, Auntie & all other female family & friends of all ages. Not once have they shown persistent signs of aggression, disrespect or arrogance towards any female. Surely so far, so good, right?
Our boys have some amazing male role models in their lives, starting first & foremost with their Dad, who is an absolute gentleman. He shows myself & Rianan absolute love & respect, never raising a hand or his voice. Words of aggression or disgust have never been spoken & directed at us. The same can be said for the Uncles, Grandad's & close male friends in our lives, I could not ask for better men for our boys to look up to & to imitate.
What happens to make some men turn ugly?
Did Vincent Standford, the man accused for murdering Stephanie Scott have a loving childhood?
What male role models did Oscar Pistorius have in his life as he grew into the man he became?
What leads a man to the justification or to their perceived right to sexually assault a woman. To physically attack her or to take her life. How have they come to the conclusion that to speak words of disgrace, of ugliness & despise to their partner is okay?
I used to think as the generations moved forward, that acts of violence against women, racism, homophobia, bigotry was a dying concept. Instead, it seems that the only change is now we cover it more freely in the news, or openly carry on like ignorant idiots instead of waiting for the door to close to keep it in the privacy of your own home. It is still commonplace to witness hateful attacks on strangers for their life choices. Instead of stepping in & standing up for the victim, people are watching the attack through the screen on a mobile phone before uploading the recording to YouTube.
I want to think Doug & I are doing enough, over & above, to make sure our boys will grow into men we will be proud of. Who would never abuse women, in any way or form. Or any person for their lifestyle choices, their appearance or for the way they were born. I look back at our parenting over the last ten years, & I look forward to how I anticipate we will continue to raise our minions, it seems that we are on the right track. Our boys are pretty damn great now, surely if we continue in the same flexible way our boys will turn into men who love their partners with gentle affection & not harsh words or vicious actions.
What can the parents of today do, or not do, to help the future men & women of tomorrow? Is that even a question to pose? Because at the end of the day there is no reason, no excuse or past event big enough to justify or slightly condone this behaviour or attitude. Every person is responsible & accountable for their own actions. The one true freedom we have is to make our own choices & follow through with our own actions, accepting any consequences that may follow.
Making heroes, not monsters. Nature? Nurture? None of the above?