A speech by Green House Prefect, Daniel Brown to the College Assembly on 23 November 2017
Mr Leddie, Mr Brennan, Members of staff and Gentlemen of Waverley College,
Today I have been given the opportunity to talk to you, as young men, about the ever-present issue of domestic violence against women in our society.
The first thing I want to discuss with you today is how men’s violence against women is relevant to you. For the majority of you here it’s quite easy to distance yourself from this topic. For one, none of you are legally men yet, and secondly, none of you are going to grow up to commit an act of violence towards a woman – or so you think.
So, let me put it in perspective for you.
I saw an advertisement on the way home from school last week – it read:
“If you think violence against women is a big problem – tackle it when it is a little one”
Which does make a lot of sense, when you think about it. The people who are currently committing these crimes are very hard to change, the vast majority of them are repeat offenders who have been brought up incorrectly to the point where they see violence against women as just something men do and not the abuse of another human being. It is for this reason that we are focusing on you.
Eventually the people responsible for the current abuse of women in Australia will disappear and you as a generation will take their place. If these acts are going to be committed in the future, unfortunately they are going to be committed by you.
LET’S AIM AT STOPPING THIS BEHAVIOUR WITH OUR GENERATION
So, let’s talk about you.
The way in which we as a generation view women will determine the way we treat the women in our lives. A lack of respect towards women is the primary reason gender violence occurs. The views you hold now are developed from a young age and are largely influenced by society’s gender stereotypes.
Where do these stereotypes come from?
Possibly, from the older men in your life?
The media viewing women as sex objects.
As intelligent young men, I challenge you to THINK FOR YOURSELF. Reassess what you are told because women and men are really not that different. We all crave the same things: Love, acceptance, and to have our opinions listened to.
WE ARE ALL JUST HUMAN BEINGS.
Do we have double standards when it comes to judging women? Words like slut and whore are used for women and paint them in a completely negative light as opposed to words like stud and player that are used for men as a form of praise. The fact that we belittle and criticise women simply for wanting the same things as us is just stupid and this needs to change WITH US!
Do we use degrading language about women as a way of making us feel superior and in control? To a certain extent the degradation of women comes back to insecurity. We as men need to start believing that we don’t always have to be in control. We don’t always have to win an argument. We can communicate our feelings with words and not fists. As men, we are so quick to show off our physical strength in conflict, but find it hard to show our emotional strength which is what counts in the real world. If we get into the habit of using physical violence to solve our problems, it is only a matter of time before this spills into our future relationships with our partners.
For the remainder of this school year, I challenge you to be aware of the way in which your peers treat women. Rethink your perceptions of women. Rethink your current attitude and vocabulary towards the girls and women in your life. And most importantly rethink what it means to be a man.
I know this speech may have been quite confronting for some of you but the vast majority of you before me are kind respectful young men. White Ribbon is Men standing up against Violence against women. Good men like you standing up and saying that enough is enough!
You determine the culture of the world you live in, and if you want to live in a world where women are no longer abused by men, then take action, because the world is not going to change if you wait for it.