A note of acknowledgement for the Citizen “view” on “Program funding can stop violence”.
Yes, it is so critical that men also have a safe place to reflect, to express, to feel honest emotions and to receive feedback and support to heal from the things of the past that have driven them to acts of domestic violence. Men do not enter into relationships with the intent of violent dominance and control. However, if that is the only example they have known, where do they go inside, what else do they do when feeling lost, confused or frustrated?
The West Coast Men’s group is such a group that takes men, poorly trained and educated in the ways of compassionate relationship and parenthood, and hears their stories and walks beside them as they unravel the tapestry in which they lost their way and got entangled in the quilt of events and experience that defined their journey into manhood. Here these men are guided into accountability for their actions and for their healing from past hurts and trauma. Here these men are shown a different possibility; a relationship that embodies beauty, equality, and an identity in which they can be proud. They find their way back to the person they want to be, standing tall as men in equal partnership, secure and at peace. It is groups such as this that are desperately needed to address the generational legacy of violence, so prevalent in our community.
How tragic it is to see a woman battered and bruised and to see children neglected and abandoned by their fathers; cognitively and emotionally unable to provide them the guidance and role modelling of what it is to be a strong and healthy man. Clearly they need support and all the love and compassion that our community can give them.
However, little will change in the long run if the men also do not get afforded the same support, guidance and, yes, compassion to journey through their healing and reclaim the men they were meant to be, that they may, in turn, teach and model to their sons and indeed, to their daughters so they, too, will know what to expect from a man in a partnership and relationship.
There is an urgent need for more of this work.