Partnered with a Survivor: David Mandel and Ruth Reymundo Mandel

Season 3 Episode 1: "This is a collective male problem:" An interview with international journalist Grant Wyeth

January 09, 2022 Season 3 Episode 1
Partnered with a Survivor: David Mandel and Ruth Reymundo Mandel
Season 3 Episode 1: "This is a collective male problem:" An interview with international journalist Grant Wyeth
Show Notes Transcript

(Apologies the sound quality of this episode is slightly less than we'd like.)

In their opening episode of Season 3, Partnered with a Survivor co-hosts , David Mandel & Ruth Stearns Mandel, interview international journalist Grant Wyeth. Grant Wyeth is a researcher at the Asia Institute, University of Melbourne, and a columnist for the Diplomat. He has written extensively about men's violence against women. In this interview, Grant offers an international perspective on: 

  • The backlash against the advancements of women  
  • Male supremacist groups and their influence on politics 
  • how Richard Gardener's  "ideology" of parental alienation was intended to influence the family court's position domestic violence
  • how Gardener's influence has caused more harm than  Leonard Warwick's violence against Australian judges, the family court and others who helped his ex-partner
  • how journalists  can do a better job covering male violence against women

To learn more about Grant and his journalism

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[00:00:16] And we're back and we're back. Here we are  [00:00:18][2.1]

Speaker 1: [00:00:19] again. Here we are again, partner with a survivor, David Mendell, the executive director of the Safe and Together Institute.  [00:00:23][4.9]

Speaker 2: [00:00:24] And I'm resistance Mendell and I am the e-learning, communications and strategic relationship manager.  [00:00:29][4.8]

Speaker 1: [00:00:29] That's great. And have I told you recently how much I enjoyed doing this show with you?  [00:00:33][3.2]

Speaker 2: [00:00:35] You have. I think you've just told me yesterday, I  [00:00:37][2.2]

Speaker 1: [00:00:37] feel like, Okay, well, this is our second interview this week, and I just love the opportunity to do these things and have these conversations with you and meet new people and  [00:00:46][9.3]

Speaker 2: [00:00:47] then highlight good practice, really  [00:00:49][1.3]

Speaker 1: [00:00:49] good practices and innovative ideas. That's right. And we're not going to chit chat too much. We're going to jump right into it and I do it. We have on the show, on the podcast, a really well-respected, well-known international journalist, grant wise, and I'm going to give his bio. I feel really pleased to have him on the show, and we want to talk to him about his coverage of gender based violence. Now, when I'm talking to him and when I talked about what he's learned and, you know, the things he's interested in. And but also, I'm a little apologetic about this. We're going to talk about him being a man covering this issue, something completely. I own this company.  [00:01:27][38.4]

Speaker 2: [00:01:28] And that's when you tell the story about the guy walking across the street with the baby. The assumptions people made you such a good dad. That's right. OK, we're going to. Yes, but it is real that we need more men speaking up about male violence, right?  [00:01:42][14.6]

Speaker 1: [00:01:43] Anyway, so let me read Grant's bio and then kind of introduce him, and then we'll invite him to join us. So Grant works for the diplomats, is online digital magazine, and he also gets published in some really amazing outlets. Foreign Policy World Politics Review The Lowy Interpreter, EU Observer Melbourne Asia Review Clean Inside Story. And he actually also is published in Foreign Affairs Publications attached to Australian Strategic Policy Institute and the Australian Institute of International Affairs. He's got a research background with the Asia Institute at University in Melbourne, and he's been a contributor to Pacific Beat Program on Radio Australia and is, you know, not only does he have his writing experience, but his background includes a masters in international relations from the University of Melbourne. If you're interested in and we'll say this agenda and you can follow me, I Grant Weiss on Twitter. So I'm just going to say, Grant, welcome, you know, and thank you for joining us.  [00:02:42][59.5]

Speaker 2: [00:02:43] Thank you for inviting me on to the show.  [00:02:45][1.2]

Speaker 3: [00:02:46] Yeah. And I'm just going to start by reading some of the headlines from your recent pieces to give our audience a context. And, you know, we just printed them out and we're looking at them again. And so one of them is it's time for Australia to reckon with the reality of sexual violence. That's one of them to achieve women's safety. So you must confront male violence, why Australia need to prioritize women and then how Australia's family courts are failing children, which also has a very heavy focus on on mother blaming parental alienation. So I wanted to kind of establish for our audience so that you're out there in the media on a regular basis. And this is just over the last few months. I think the last year, maybe or so, you know, these are the topics that you're really out there trying to cover gender based violence. And so I want to start with how you became interested in that topic and make it such a focus of your journalism.  [00:03:41][55.6]

Speaker 2: [00:03:43] So it's only really been the last year or so that I've actually started to pivot my work towards this issue. It was always something that I had, I guess, background understanding of, but I didn't really have a really nuanced understanding of these issues until. And I guess we can. This goes to the global phenomenon of the problems of friends of mine in Iceland, where I tend to spend a bit of time. I was there for six months from November last year through to May this year. They friends of mine. I have an organization called Life for Gun Violence, who are concerned with violence against women and children and outside society, and that they really have a focus on what's going on in custody battles in Iceland, which we know is is a kind of global phenomenon where there are these real kind of glaring failures in custody proceedings, and they started just throwing the information. So throwing me articles, throwing me, especially journal articles, I suspect on the on the the hope that I would pick up on these ideas and start writing about them. And I did. And the more I started digging, the more I really started to gain a real, you know, I guess, the shock and what's going on, especially in family courts and just starting to to, you know, gain a much better understanding of these issues that I didn't have previously. And I like to always credit, you know, I'm usually I'm just. I guess I see myself as a vehicle for other people's work, really. You know, it's other people who are who are doing the research who are kind of doing the, you know, the ground, the groundwork on this. And I'm just trying to take those ideas and find a way to match them for the public and hoping that the public can can, you know, also gain a better understanding of these issues, as I have. So that's kind of the backstory of how I was kind of moved into this space. It's also, I guess, with the Family Court, it's one of those issues that once you discover it, it becomes it tends to consume you as well, because a lot of it is so absurd. You know that these courts often see their role as protecting men from the consequences of their behavior and not asking men to be responsible for their own actions. And you know, that's difficult to digest. Sometimes it's it seems odd, but it is happening so frequently that it's become, you know, a noticeable trend that we can't ignore.  [00:06:15][152.8]

Speaker 3: [00:06:16] You know, you say you're a conduit. You said, you know, you're giving voice to other people's work. Now, in my mind, that's not a given in some sense, right? That's it's race. You're making right? Because if I think about media coverage about violence against women, it's often very superficial. It's very, you know, it's very  [00:06:32][15.9]

Speaker 2: [00:06:33] superficial, but also very blaming them and not really focusing on the behaviors of the perpetrator. Focusing on whether or not there was an arrest, you know, those type of details which hide the reality. So, yeah, the  [00:06:47][13.7]

Speaker 1: [00:06:47] ubiquitous neighbor who says there was no murders of the good guy, you know, that, you know, gets out, gets us to have, you know, is buried in that is always there in the fifth paragraph, you know? Yeah. Talk to the neighbors. And you know, they said he helped cut my lawn. You know, and it's very insane, bogus. And it's right. So I want to just acknowledge that you took in this information, but you made some choices about it. So can you talk a little bit about sort of you're looking at this from a systemic level, you're looking at this from a structural level, right? That's sort of how you think about this.  [00:07:18][30.5]

Speaker 2: [00:07:19] Yeah. So my background is in political science and international relations. So I'm always kind of thinking about, I guess, the behavior states, how states behaves and what are the ideas that are trying to influence the state. And so that's kind of the angle that I'm coming from. And I guess if you're looking like something like the phenomenon notes of parental alienation, I saw that initially as an ideology like this was an ideology that kind of Richard Gardner was creating, and he was hoping to convert the states to this ideology. And so it was really, you know, and just to explain a bit of that ideology is that is that women are always suspicious, women are always suspicious, their motives are always suspicious and that. Lack of normalized contact with the father is more damaging to a child than any violence and father could commit, that they're really the kind of two core ideological components of Gardner's parental alienation, and I saw he was really trying to to push that to become a it's become the ideology of the Family Court. That's the way I looked at it then. And interestingly, around the time that I was discovering these issues with the Family Court, especially, there was the trial of a man in Australia called Leonard Warwick, who he was a man who in the early 1980s, he wasn't captured and arrested for 30 years. So he got away with this kind of stuff for two years. But in the early 1980s, he didn't like the the decisions the Family Court was making in regards to a custody case with his wife, who he had he had beaten. And so he launched an extraordinary series of attacks where he shot and killed a judge on the judge's doorstep. He blew up the houses of two other judges, which killed the judge's wife and injured a judge and his children. He of a family court building, which was luckily empty at the time, and he also blew up a church hall because the congregation were helping his wife and child hide from him. So I thought  [00:09:21][122.4]

Speaker 3: [00:09:24] everybody would wonder why, why he can't have custody of his kids, all of those things. That's the world we live in. I'm sorry to have to say that because because if anybody thinks that that man is safe to have a child  [00:09:37][13.1]

Speaker 1: [00:09:38] and that's  [00:09:38][0.2]

Speaker 3: [00:09:39] his response to the world, we are in a really bad place. We need to reassess our values here. People, this is crazy. Yes, sorry because  [00:09:47][8.1]

Speaker 1: [00:09:47] it coverage at the time said it must be. If a man has resorted to this kind of violence, there must be something really wrong with the Family Court like that was, the media company said. You know, it's not. It's the family court's fault. They brought it upon themselves by ruling against him. You know, it was an ordinary media coverage if we want to go back to the way the media frames these things in very strange ways. But I saw so I saw I saw limited work as kind of a terrorist, you know, male supremacist terrorist and Richard was the ideologue. So these were these two figures that I saw who were both trying to change the state, one from violence and the other through ideas. And obviously, you know, the irony I found in this is that eventually led work was caught and now he's serving life in prison. But Richard is still probably the most influential man in family court family courts around the world, and an odd security guard is probably responsible for more violence than Leonard work is now. You know, if you kind of accumulate all the all the all the poor decisions and we've seen, you know, if you look at the center of judicial excellence in the United States, that keeps track of all the motives of children of the court, family court decisions that I think in the last decade, it's up to around 110 111 children now, you know, which is just appalling. And honestly, I find those murders are a result of this ideological conversion of the court.  [00:11:16][88.1]

Speaker 3: [00:11:18] You know, it's as you talk to you and I really appreciate, you know, your background and your focus on the state and state action. We have a hashtag that systems, not survivors, you know, so we talk about that, you know, because I think so much is is focused on the pathologizing survivors versus really examining the state's actions. And we spend a lot of time last year talking about how perpetrators target government individual. You know, you talked about obviously violent targeting, but like true false allegations, call to child protection, you know? And you know, and there was one study I counter that showed that the vast majority of these false allegations, manipulative allegations made were made by non-custodial parents. And while the study didn't go into this, you know, you can easily imagine that maybe just the domestic violence perpetrators who were post-separation using these tools of the state to extend their power or to give them power when they felt like they had been ordered the do that they  [00:12:15][57.8]

Speaker 2: [00:12:16] wouldn't work if nobody, if nobody allowed it to works like that's what the threat is working because those systems are easily manipulated. So they know perpetrators know that these pathways are really the tools for them and that their legitimatize in our minds. Nobody ever calls to task. For example, a family court lawyer who encourages his or her client to engage in post-separation harassment via litigation. Nobody's holding that, that professional accountable. Nobody is holding the professional accountable who's a therapist who's willing to argue that because the protective parent has PTSD because of their perpetrator's perpetration, that they are an unfit parent. And so we really have to look at how instead of looking at perpetration of the system as if the perpetrators outside the system manipulating, we have to look at how people are responding in the system and supporting that perpetration and their legitimatize ing it, and they're essentially solidifying it in our culture and saying this is the way families are. It doesn't matter how this person has abused and harmed and forcibly controlled and caused trauma. They still have the right to custody and access to children and to their ex-partners. Yeah, it's ridiculous. It's crazy.  [00:13:47][91.1]

Speaker 1: [00:13:48] I think what I think the state is struggling to get over is the reframing of of the idea that parents don't have rights, they have responsibilities so that that's what we really need to. We really need to change our thinking. You know, we're not dealing with parental rights here. We're dealing with parental responsibilities. You know, your responsibility is to be a kind, loving, caring, compassionate parent. And if you're not fulfilling those things, will you lose? You lose the right, you know, or you should lose the right to be a parent. A parent is is a responsibility. It's not a right, and rights always lie with children, you know, and the primary right is, is the right safety.  [00:14:28][40.2]

Speaker 3: [00:14:29] You know, it's interesting you're saying this and and the struggle for the state around this. And I think it's, you know, in your articles and in your work, it's very gendered. I was just doing some research for a project of working on and I was doing just some of that basic internet. You know, kind of what happens if you put the word mothering in to a search engine and they put the word father again? Right? You're so pretty to those inseparably to to Google. And mothering shows up with five times as many hits, you know, fathering scores up with with two million or so hits. Mothering shows up in 10 million hits, right? So you you've got a quantitative kind of difference there, that of sort of entries and searches and stuff like that. And then you start looking for top line definitions of mother and father, which is not what you're speaking to. Ray responsibilities and behaviors and mothering implicit and all those kind of top line common definitions includes the word kind, caring, protective, nourishing, nursing, you know? And then when you look at most, if not all, those kind of top line definitions that Google throws up fathering is about procreation. Fathering is around surrendering. Fathering is around. So the word so implicit in this discussion of responsibilities is a starting point is an uneven playing field where you have these lower expectations for for men as parents are and different expectations. Women are supposed to be kind to be a mother. You know, mothering is synonymous with being kind, caring, productive in this in this world, you know, and fathering to meet the standard of fathering implied in those definitions. All you need to do is create to procreate.  [00:16:03][94.0]

Speaker 2: [00:16:04] It's kind of a low bar.  [00:16:05][0.8]

Speaker 1: [00:16:06] Yeah. DNA is the only protocol you need to you need to pass. But I think, you know, and this goes to really if you're aware of a caveman concept of empathy, we have there's a concept community where the state has this kind of lower expectation of men because it believes that there's a kind of natural violent masculinity. And so it's really unfair to accept men to be nonviolent because they can't help it. It's not right. You know, and if if we take that as the standard, we're always going to be excusing excusing poor behavior. Right?  [00:16:41][34.6]

Speaker 3: [00:16:41] Yeah. It's unfortunate, though, because there's a lot of conversations that jump into that. It's not just the state that has low expectation of men. You know, there are there are definitely arguments which are use that testosterone is, you know, a primary piece of of male violence, even though that's been proven wrong over and over and over again, that men are just biologically an innately violence. And anybody who makes that argument, whether or not it's the state or it's a feminist, makes women endlessly and eternally responsible to be the civilizing factor for men and to be responsible for male violence. And man, we are tired. We are done with that. We really wanted the guys to take care of yourselves, you know? You know, that's where we're at.  [00:17:29][48.0]

Speaker 1: [00:17:30] I have friends who are wonderful fathers and who are wonderful partners. You know, it's not beyond my capabilities to actually be, you know, to inhabit these, you know, these positive traits of love, kindness, caring, responsibility, compassion. I mean, there are men who are capable of this and that should be seen as as the standard, but unfortunately it's not seen as the standard.  [00:17:50][19.8]

Speaker 3: [00:17:51] So I want to ask you about, you know, one of your more recent articles, which was to achieve women's safety. Australia must confront male violence because really it was a, I must say, critique, maybe too strong a word, but this idea that. Oversees a women's safety that make men invisible men's responsibility or don't focus on men as the cause of the cause. Will they name it, but they don't. The solutions are oriented  [00:18:16][24.7]

Speaker 2: [00:18:16] towards the,  [00:18:18][1.2]

Speaker 3: [00:18:18] you know, is what you really wrote about, right? So can you talk a little bit about that and how that article was received? Even, you know, I'm just kind of curious what kind of receptions you're getting for your writing.  [00:18:26][7.8]

Speaker 2: [00:18:27] I mean, I think that's the case. So that was based on we had a conference. So the central government here in Australia organized a conference on women's safety. But really, the idea of the article was, well, you know, it should be a conference on mental violence, you know? You know, we need to kind of reframe the language here. And that's really, I guess, something I've tried to be conscious with with my own writing is it's nice. I'm not talking about the safety of women and girls talking about the actions of the perpetrator, because unless we unless we actually put the actions of the perpetrator at the center and we use that in our language, we're always going to just be minimizing them. And we're always going to be, you know, asking victims to be responsible for their own abuse, which is just it's just not acceptable. But unfortunately, it's a language trend in the media. So to always kind of.  [00:19:20][52.4]

Speaker 3: [00:19:20] Yeah, I'm I'm not sure that it's just a language trend in the media. I think that there's definitive elements within the field that feel like a focus on male perpetration takes focus away from assisting women and children that have experienced violence, and that there's funding conflicts around that as well and competition. And I really like to say to, you know, to anybody listening to this that may have those feelings arise when we talk about male perpetration and intervention that we are, we cannot continue to be eternally reactive. Funding refuges and funding reactions to male violence is eminently important, and nobody is saying not to do that, but to do that and not address the people who are causing that danger is insanity. And it's much like saying, we're not going to treat the cancer, we're just going to keep removing the tumor. That doesn't make sense. We have to do better, we have to do better.  [00:20:24][63.2]

Speaker 1: [00:20:25] And it goes back to this idea that that male violence is inevitable. So, you know, we're only sending responses where we're implicitly saying that, well, there's nothing we can do about male violence or changing the need for. The only thing we can ever do is respond, which is just, you know, it's not an acceptable yeah.  [00:20:46][21.7]

Speaker 3: [00:20:47] It's the example I used to get of hearing about a lot of rape. Education unions, you know, would be strategies for women to avoid being dragged in there, you know, and and their drinks and, you know, going out in pairs and and you realize it's a little bit like, well, don't go out with you if you have to go out of it. It's always going to rain in the rain. You must go out with your galoshes in your umbrella. And if you don't right, then you get where you should have known better. Right? And that's really where you quickly go with that inevitability argument. Right. And so I really appreciate that.  [00:21:23][36.2]

Speaker 2: [00:21:24] And it's also a really good way for the state to avoid accountability in their own practice. Putting the responsibility back on individuals is a great way for the state to avoid accountability and consequences for their own practice, I think is very important to say as well.  [00:21:41][16.9]

Speaker 1: [00:21:42] Yeah. What's been the response, you know, to an article like to women's safety? Australia must confront male violence, or it's time for Australia to reckon with the reality of sexual violence. What kind of responses do you get from readers? You know what comes back to you?  [00:21:54][12.9]

Speaker 2: [00:21:55] I mean, in terms of getting direct responses, it's only really Twitter that I, I guess I can monitor this through, which is good and bad in many ways. So I have, you know, there has been a lot of responses from people positive and actually and I've also got a lot of help, especially with, you know, because I'm kind of new to this, this field of help from, you know, people who are who are willing to point me in the right direction to new research and new ideas and especially making sure that I am getting the language right because I know that sometimes it's it's it's often easy to slip into into language trends that you become accustomed to accustomed to using. Occasionally, I have got some very hostile responses from from men online who are who are simply not happy to be, you know, held up as responsible or men who, you know, the not all men crowd who who love to point out that you know, that they are actually one of the good guys and and they shouldn't be lumped in with everybody else. Even though I kind of address this in one article where I said, Well, this is a collective male. Problems, so, you know, if you're not actually understanding this is a collective problem. You know, if you're not, you may not be violent yourself. But it's a responsibility for you within your peer groups and your friends and your family to actually be aware of these issues. So, so that's really kind of my response to that to the not all men crowd who who don't think they should be engaging with these issues at all. Wow. Yeah.  [00:23:29][93.7]

Speaker 3: [00:23:30] And you give an example, I'm fascinated about some of the language you felt like you've had to unlearn. I think we all have to unlearn language at times. And, you know, we're very focused with with the sympathy in the mind about language and how well we say and how it shapes how we act and vice versa. Can you give an example of something where you had to kind of say, Well, maybe it's not the best way for me to say it?  [00:23:50][20.3]

Speaker 2: [00:23:51] Yeah, I think I mean, the safety of women goes, that was something that I initially fell into. That was a trap I'd sell into and that I really then I started to to read more and understand and really pivot away from that. I think making sure that the language is also inclusive of everybody, you know, not, you know, that it's not entirely focused on, I guess, male violence against women. But I understand that this is not an issue that is solely about male violence against women, that there are further complexities here and there are further, you know, with gender diverse people and and also within, we're seeing sort of the LGBTI community as well. So, you know, being more aware of that and not really trying to frame everything in that in a kind of heteronormative way or just, you know, because these issues unfortunately transcend to all communities. And so there is an awareness, and I think we're we're in a period of learning here about language at the moment. So and that's something that it's it's always a constant learning experience and that that's I guess that's an approach I take to everything, know I. I don't come into the world thinking that I know everything and I'm and I said that that there is no space for learning. There is always space learning. And I think that unless you're, you know, especially as a writer, if you're if and your work is being published publicly, you know, you always have to take this approach that you are going to always have to be relearning and learning new ideas and learning new topics. You know, and it's a central part of the essential part of the job.  [00:25:31][99.9]

Speaker 3: [00:25:31] I love that curiosity and love the openness to the feedback and the just kind of moving forward, you know, each step learning something new. You know, you mentioned, you know, printed alienation. And you know, you've thought about this idea of languaging things differently for the point of view, not saying just the safety of girls and women, but talking about no pictures. What's another, you know, as you've been on this journey for the last year, the way you talk to you about it, what's another big takeaway from you? It's another big learning for you as you kind of diving into whether it's a Proud Boys or, you know, any of these things about the interaction between the state and male supremacist ideas. What's another learning for you?  [00:26:12][40.7]

Speaker 2: [00:26:13] I think that's one of the big things that I've come to take out, which I'm I've started working on some more ideas is that  [00:26:20][7.4]

Speaker 3: [00:26:22] we've tended to  [00:26:23][0.7]

Speaker 2: [00:26:23] view the world, I guess, in the last you maybe 50, 60 years that we're all in this kind of slow train of progress. The progress might be slow, but we are on this train of progress. But what I'm actually coming to realize is that this huge backlash that's coming through against the advancements that women have made, especially in their rights and other communities, LGBTI communities as well have made in their rights. There's a huge backlash to this, and it's actually this backlash is proving highly influential and we're seeing it. You know, you mentioned a group like the Proud Boys of the Proud Boys get talked about of being a white supremacist group at the moment, which they are, but they also began as a male supremacist group. That was their initial kind of that was their initial formation. And we're seeing that these these kind of groups are becoming highly influential now. And we're seeing it coming through especially like, you know, very powerful organizations in the world type organizations like the Republican Party are really kind of trying not to focus on, you know, this kind of traditional gender roles and traditional masculinity and ideas about, you know, the man as the as the, you know, the king of the household and these ideas, you know, they're coming through, you know, the Chinese Communist Party as well as so it's a really hugely powerful organizations are really starting to be developing this kind of groundswell of resentment towards the advancement that women and other groups have made. And so it's proving a destabilizing force. And this idea on kind of working at the moment is, you know, if you have it. Destabilized household debt spirals out into a destabilized society and its files out to destabilize the nation and its power out a destabilized international system. So you have to kind of, you know, it's really about the focus on, you know, positive and individual relationships, you know, is not just contained within those two individual is a much larger issue and it infects kind of all our kind of human interactions across, you know, across society and across countries as well.  [00:28:39][135.0]

Speaker 3: [00:28:40] The backlash to the acceleration of rights and self-determination of people who previously were considered either aberrant or needed the protection of men and the state is a really scary thing, you know, for a lot of people and it's interesting if you look at those people that are within that backlash sphere, including Russia, as well as the Republic of China and then the U.N. with its trying to expand the rights of women and girls. When I was growing up, I was taught that the U.N. was a demonic force, primarily because of their desire to expand reproductive autonomy and the rights of women and children, which was seen as a threat to the deeply held beliefs of a lot of religious extremists who believes that men are over women and children and that they essentially own them. Which is one of the things that I think, you know, interesting about the conversation about the Family Court piece before us. We do have to recognize that a lot of our structures, including our legal system, were formed during a time when women and children were considered property and so were black people. So the structure that exists already has pathways to keep that power and control going. And then once you experience that political backlash and people try to hold on to that power, you really see how those different entities serve to solidify that power and control and and how harmful it is and dangerous on so many levels. So it's very, very big and it's I hope we all keep fighting and working together to change it. Yeah, because they're very organized and they're really motivated. So, so we have to be as well.  [00:30:41][121.3]

Speaker 1: [00:30:42] Yes, and unfortunately, I think, you know, the internet has proved an incredibly good recruiting tool for a lot of these, these kind of groups as well and you know, men who who do feel a certain kind of, you know, alienation, you know, they're having difficulties through their teenage years as we all do or in their early, early adulthood can get sucked into these groups and it becomes, you know, an incredibly, incredibly dangerous force when they do it. And I, you know, I don't claim to offer any solutions of the how we kind of find ways to to shield men from these influences, you know, shoot young men from these influences. But I think it's it's going to be one of the the serious tasks that governments are going to have to look at now is how they can find ways of men to have positive, positive influences as they go through these teenage and early adult use and not be drawn into these, you know, these kind of hateful groups. So so let's  [00:31:43][60.6]

Speaker 3: [00:31:44] come off it and kind of explore, you know what you think journalism can do better around covering men's violence against women and children and girls? You know, just whatever we've been talking about now, male supremacy ideologies, it connects you with fascism, a rise of, you know, authoritarianism in certain places. And you know, and you know, how do we move away from this very episodic incident based if it bleeds, it leads kind of mentality, which is this domestic violence murder. That's what we're going to pay attention to domestic violence or male violence, but we're never going to frame it as male violence. We're going to frame it as this ice insulin's this guy lost control. You know, what do you think journalism needs to do better in this area? And then how do we get there?  [00:32:34][49.9]

Speaker 2: [00:32:35] I think I have started seeing some areas where in some publications where they are starting to make these wider connections, and I think maybe these wider connections are important, you know, in order to understand such things like, you know, recent research has been covered about the connection between domestic people who have histories of domestic violence and then who terrorists, regardless of ideology, whether that, you know. And so that kind of frames it in the public's eye. It's like, Oh, you know, this is a bigger problem than we actually realize that it's it's not just as as you say, it's not just a man losing a single man, losing his temper in an isolated incident. That incident there's a, you know, there are trends here, too much going on and a lot of this violence is actually driven not by simply, you know, the circumstances within each individual relationship. But we're talking about domestic violence, but actually driven by a world. And we actually need to be able to highlight that worldview. And that's kind of something that I've I've been working on at the moment as well. I've been working on because there's been a push in the United Kingdom to make misogyny a hate crime. And this is really about getting the state to realize that there is a there's an ideology here with a lot of abuse and that needs to be recognized. We can't just sit back and say that these are just violence within the circumstances of individual relationships. If we're talking about domestic violence, which is the overwhelming majority of violence committed against against women. And so I think there is this starting to be a bit of a framing of this in new ways. And I think there's a lot of there's a lot of I know there's a lot of young journalists here in Australia. So there's an organization called Watch who who are concerned with domestic violence, and they have training programs to journalists as well. So young journalists come out and and are trained through these organizations. And so they have an awareness of, you know, all the issues and all the language to use. But also going back to, I guess, an earlier point. These journalists do tend to be women, unfortunately. Well, unfortunately, in the sense that we're not having enough male journalists actually looking at these these issues. And that's really a one of the barriers here because I think there are still there are men who won't listen to these ideas unless they come from men. Unfortunately, that's the case. And so it really needs that kind of a strong cohort of male journalists who are actually working on these ideas, who can actually who can have some kind of peer respect with men who, you know, I think that that's kind of one of the influential ideas that we really need to pursue is having far more male journalists talking about issues of male violence.  [00:35:28][173.0]

Speaker 3: [00:35:29] So you actually picked up on something I was going to ask you about. I wasn't exactly sure how to do it, but sort of, you know, how do we do that? How do we actually, you know, get more male journalists talk? Talking about this, writing about this, identifying it as an issue and connecting it to the way you talked about economics. Connecting it up to stability in cultures and families because, you know, you get the politicians standing up there and saying, I understand this issue because I have daughters, right? And they have this very simplistic view of this government. You can see some covering her face because, you know, we we just kind of both ground with this idea that one is you have to have daughters to care about this issue, you know, and that somehow you've discovered this issue because you have daughters, especially  [00:36:17][47.8]

Speaker 2: [00:36:17] when you're a politician and your actual job is to care about public safety,  [00:36:21][3.4]

Speaker 1: [00:36:21] public safety. That's right. Exactly job. So do you have ideas because you've thought about this quite a bit. You do have ideas about how do we recruit male journalists to really engage this issue from a perspective that isn't just, you know, the incident of violence kind of perspective, but services broader thinking about the issue.  [00:36:40][18.6]

Speaker 2: [00:36:41] I think one of the ideas and this goes the male journalists and I guess men in general as well is this idea that not only have these issues of wider humanity that we need to really understand the issues of wider humanity, but men who are kind of mired in, you know, aggravation and violence and really, you know, antagonistic quiet perspectives are not, you know, I'm not leading happy lives. You know, you can lead a much happier life if you find your dignity and in love, kindness, caring, compassion. I mean, these are things that are going to allow you personally to flourish as well as those around you. And I think it's finding a way once, I guess if you if you're if you're riding on these issues, if you're a just riding on these issues, once you kind of inhabit that idea and you understand that these are ideas about, you know, individual and community flourishing. You know, it gives you a whole new perspective on just being able to. This is about the pursuit of happiness. It's not about the response to violence.  [00:37:50][68.7]

Speaker 3: [00:37:51] Yeah, I think about recently, very recently, the last couple of days there was a murder. Domestic violence, you know, influenced murder, suicide, and the man shot his wife and killed her and he had two daughters. One was 18, and then he shot himself and killed himself. Now I think about all the years of mental, emotional, physical torture that not only did that family experience, once you know it really takes, there's things that happen as coercive control and emotional abuse and verbal abuse and that sense of entitlement that it's put the responsibility on somebody else for your anxieties or behaviors or, you know. And I cannot imagine that that man wasn't also having behaviors at his workplace that were not cohesive, that were not, you know, helping the organization as a team because people like that that are abuse and coercively control are not about connecting to other people. They're about dominating other people. And we've been taught as a society that that's a value for a man to dominate others, to control them, to tell them what to do and get them to do what they want them to do. So I just I think about all the mental and emotional pain. You know that the years of that and I can't imagine why sometimes men want to hold on to violence. I don't understand it. But there is that reaction and you see that whiplash on Twitter, where men really are afraid of letting go of that control and that violence as if it's somehow benefiting them in some way, shape or form. And it does, in some ways, very, very successful men within government who was not mentioned. You know, I think you know what I'm talking about is has gotten away with, you know, patterns of sexual assault and harassment, and those politicians are still very powerful and they're making millions of dollars. And so I think it's really important to sort of break down what it is that makes men how we reward them in society for them, being domineering, aggressive, threatening, you know, assaultive to get their way, to get the way of the interests that are behind them. Right. That's a corporation who's selling something or trying to, you know, buy land to use that violence. Male energy to make people do what you want them to do. We reward that. We see that as a value in society. And I think that a lot of people think that you can't be powerful unless you're dominating people. That power lies in that domination and not in connection and not in building relationships and not in finding common values and goals that we all agree upon. So we need to change that. There may  [00:41:00][188.9]

Speaker 1: [00:41:01] be. And it's just, you know, saying to me, you'll find, you know, individual men will find themselves so much happier if they if they kind of do abandon those ideas, the ideas of power, you know, cooperation is always more pleasing and beneficial, you know? You know, emotionally the domination.  [00:41:20][19.6]

Speaker 3: [00:41:21] I have a question that came to mind that that I was, you know, just thinking about, which is I avoid using the term toxic masculinity because I think it obscures the question of violence and it kind of simplifies things or kind of throws it in this bucket. It doesn't really isn't really helpful, you know, talking about men suffering and, you know, men's bad behavior and all these people use it as jargon. I'm just curious what your your experience with that term is and whether you, you know, you don't mind whether your reaction when you read it, what it is. I don't think I see it in your urine if  [00:41:57][35.9]

Speaker 2: [00:41:58] it's not a term I use, just because I have a, I guess, an inclination to avoid terms that are overused. That's kind of what am I a little writing rules. If the terms of use, I tend to avoid it, you know, that's that's just and again, I think like you, I don't think it's a helpful term because I think it's become a term that it creates a backlash now itself. One of my, I guess approaches to writing is always to try and and I don't know whether I'm totally successful, and this is always to try and use language that is persuasive language and not only native language. And I think toxic masculinity is an alienating term. It pushes people away from the ideas that you're trying to convey. You know, so always, you know, so I'm always seeking to find terminology that is just not that allows that allows people into the conversation. It doesn't remove them from conception.  [00:42:52][54.0]

Speaker 3: [00:42:53] I love that.  [00:42:54][0.4]

Speaker 2: [00:42:54] And you know, it's it's a  [00:42:56][1.5]

Speaker 3: [00:42:56] it's a term that in some ways sanitizes the violence, you know, kind of moves us away from it sort of moves us towards it in a meaningful way. So I just want to round out the interview with a with a question, which is what message do you have for consumers of media in this area of male violence, violence against women and girls, you know? You know, we want educated readers, we want educated citizens. You know, the state is supposed to be responsive. I love you're talking about the state and and media. One shapes how people think and then how they vote and how they participate in. But it's also impacted by people, you know? So what message do you have for our audience around consuming media around this area,  [00:43:42][46.4]

Speaker 2: [00:43:44] especially when it comes to the Family Court? I think we're getting a lot of actually we're seeing now a lot of positive media coming out through, you know, positive media coverage. I should say not not positive content, unfortunately, but I worry that because we're in a period of media distrust at the moment as well, that this is going to affect how, you know, the wider public's ability to actually engage with these issues. You know, people who know these issues are obviously well attuned to media coverage and they read everything, but it's really the eyes that you really need are the ones who are unaware. So like I was, you know, over a year ago, I was somewhat unaware. And in order to create change, in order to create a kind of groundswell of political change as well, you really need to convert the people who aren't engaged with these issues on a daily basis. I mean, that's that's where the I guess the important i's are in terms of public sentiment. So I think there are some wonderful journalists here in Australia just who has done a phenomenal job in bringing these issues to the public. There are there are journalists in the United Kingdom, somewhat like Louise Tickle has done an incredible job on this and there are numerous journalists who are covering this in the United States as well. So we are seeing, I guess. Some knew some media coverage that we weren't seeing, but I don't think from people that I've spoken to. We simply weren't seeing media coverage around these issues, especially family court issues. You know, five, 10 years ago. And so that I think there has been a media shift. And but unfortunately, these things are also, you know, it relies on reinforcement. It doesn't rely on simply one article. It relies on multiple articles to actually have people realize that there are there are serious problems here that the major address. Right?  [00:45:47][123.2]

Speaker 3: [00:45:48] Well, Grant, thank you so much for joining us and talking to us today. This is it's been great to engage you around the media and your coverage and your journey around covering male violence against women. So thank you and keep up the good work. Yeah. And you've been listening to partner with Survivor and you are, you  [00:46:09][20.9]

Speaker 2: [00:46:11] know, he had  [00:46:12][1.1]

Speaker 1: [00:46:12] been abused and he was doing stand down. Yes. And I'm always going to ask Grant if people want to follow you. Read more of your material. Where do they go, though?  [00:46:24][11.8]

Speaker 2: [00:46:24] You can follow me on Twitter, which is just at. And that has the links to my work on my Twitter profile. You can also find me the diplomat as well, which is an Asia-Pacific affairs publication. And I'd just like to thank you both. David Brooks, Thank you. I onto the program.  [00:46:44][20.1]

Speaker 3: [00:46:45] Thank you.  [00:46:45][0.4]

Speaker 1: [00:46:46] Yeah, thank you. And for those folks who like the show, follow us like us sharing with other people.  [00:46:52][6.4]

Speaker 2: [00:46:53] Yes. And you can find us on safe and together. Institute Ekong Academy. That's safe and together. Institute dot com.  [00:47:00][6.8]

Speaker 1: [00:47:01] Or you can. No, we're not out yet because we're supposed to say, you know, you crowd on Twitter or Facebook. All the things David T. Mandels, my Twitter handle, all those things are just give us all things. And then now we're out, we're out.  [00:47:01][0.0]