Aotearoa Vision Award 2021 ADDRESSING MANHOOD
- Kay Urlich
Peace Through Compassion Aotearoa Vision Peace Award 2021 recipients
Christchurch Girls High School and Gandhi Nivas
Much is written about the work individuals do to improve domestic abuse, sexual violence, and suicide statistics in society, but until these good works are integrated fully into SYSTEMS and funded they simply fade away through lack of a working structure. This year we honor the people working toward the prevention of violence and sexual abuse who have integrated some of these ideas into structures:
Principle Christine O'Neill of Christchurch Girls High School for instigating sexual abuse survey and Ranjna Patel of Gandhi Nivas for the violent perpetrator rehabilitation network.
Rape Report: I Felt Sick. “It’s horrendous. A horrendous statistic but it doesn’t surprise me” the father of a pupil told the Herald on Sunday in June 2021, in an article by Hamish Clark about a survey of sexual harassment. The parents of a girl at Christchurch Girls Grammer applauded the school’s bravery as it challenged local boys’ schools to lead the charge in changing male behavior.
High school may be the last chance parents and teachers have of instilling values in teenagers about respect for others. You might wonder how many have taken up the call to spread awareness of how their students' actions impact the lives around them - whether it is gender, racial, environmental, or cultural values.
The article reports that more than 20 students alleged they had been raped. A total of 725 girls aged between 12 and 18, took part in the first survey of its kind into sexual harassment suffered by high school girls. It found that more than 60 percent had experienced sexual harassment, a quarter of victims more than 10 times. The offenders were mostly lone males but a quarter were groups of boys. The incidents regularly occurred at weekend parties, on the street, or public transport. “Some girls changed buses because they didn’t like going on the bus that goes past Boys’ High because it was packed with boys and it was the intimidation“ a mum reported, “… you know, looks gestures and comments.” Girls and young women have reported being verbally abused and even raped by those they knew and trusted. Some of whom invited their friends to rape the girls too - teenage gang-rape.
This behavior does not just appear out of nowhere. It is a paradigm that is taught in childhood where being disrespectful to girls is a right of passage toward manhood. The violence shown in sports is not left on the field, nor is it confined to boys. For this corruption to succeed girls must be programmed too; it must be seen as “normal” and the victims must “comply”.
This ploy works because it is about brain activity and power, not because women are a “weaker” gender.
* “If only a woman could think like a man,” said Professor Higgins in the play My Fair Lady. And this became the common misperception instilled in society. That is, if women would just start using the ‘proper side’ of their brain, then they would be worthy too.
Historically certain human biological behaviors were assigned to men and others to women. In fact, these characteristics are found in ALL men and women.
*‘The Truth about Boys and Girls is an article in Scientific American Mind, May/June 2010 which quotes Lise Elliot, author of ‘Gender Culture and the Brain’:
“Boys and girls are different, but most psychological sex differences are not especially large. For example, gaps in verbal skills, maths performance, empathy and even most types of aggression are generally much smaller than the disparity in adult height, in which the average five-foot 10-inch man is taller than 99 percent of women. When it comes to mental abilities, male and females overlap more than they stand apart.”
Elliot goes on to say how sex differences are not as fixed or hardwired as they are portrayed. Genes and hormones light the spark for most boy-girl differences, but the nuances are inflamed by the separate cultures in which boys and girls grow up. This leads to sex differences becoming stereotyped and gives parents and teachers ideas for training boys and girls differently, instead of enabling all children to fully develop their talents.
However, when there is no biological programming to restrain women they are then freed from passivity and victimhood roles. Sadly to keep the status quo as it is, rape and pillage are seen as an entitlement and the ‘right of the conquerer’ whether it be a marriage or colonization: whether it is to overpower a child, a woman, the environment, or a culture “to conquer” is a construct to establish power.
And, in terms of energy, you only need to tick off a few traits to see which field holds power personally and globally.
Because we hold the future in our hands - what we do matters.
To create change, we must 'tick a few more traits'. This means people must speak up, and for that to happen we must create safe places to listen to them. Because the abuse and suffering are not restricted to girls and indigenous cultures but perpetrated by the medical profession too, on the children at Lake Alice Hospital who experienced torture and abuse under the guise of a warped mental health system. And similar to the sexual assaults at Dilworth school, nobody broke the silence without receiving abuse from those who benefited from the toxic system. Until we as a collective investigate fully this insidious system of silence that protects the perpetrators whereby violent behavior is condoned, the personal and social domination will continue.
For this reason, we honor the leadership at Christchurch Girls High and Gandhi Nivas for their contributions to changing the paradigm: Christchurch Girls High for doing the sexual abuse survey and Gandhi Nivas for their systems and work in providing accommodation and counseling to the men who are the sufferers and the perpetrators of domestic violence.
This matters because male healing is a vital component in bringing about not only personal success but greater environmental and global change.
After all, when one part of the system is broken, it is the whole system that needs healing and support.
FURTHER READING... SAFY Self Awareness for Youth (peacethroughcompassion.net) Does 'being a man' in society contribute to youth despair? Do gender changes cause confusion where teenagers feel they exist on shifting sands as a sense of personal powerlessness takes over? Thoughts of finding the self that is complete and loved, is the furthest thing from young minds, especially if cut-off from family and friends.