TRIGGER WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS CONTENT WHICH MAY BE DISTRESSING. This week someone I know killed themselves. I didn't know them well and I had no idea they were struggling with mental illness, so I am really quite shaken by it. Looking back, it explains some of their behaviour, but I didn't put one and two together. I hope I'll learn to recognise it in the future.
In a rather unusual text conversation, a friend and I were discussing suicide. I know, not a conversation you'd expect to have by text but hey, the upside is, I've got a record of it to paste into this post.
TROM "is a project that aims to showcase in detail the root cause of most of today’s problems and proposes realistic solutions to solve those problems. But it is also about challenging people’s values, explaining in simple language how the world works, and providing free and good quality educational materials/tools for everyone."
I support TROM on Patreon because I like what they have to say about the human condition and society. They use good science and logic and, to me, they make a lot of sense. They are aligned with the Zeitgeist Movement and Venus Project , whose philosophy and work I also respect.
John Key has just announced an "overhaul of the family violence prevention system."
If it was a Labour government I'd be thinking, "About time." Under National, though, I fear it may be an exercise in bullying families in low socio-economic circumstances, rather than looking at the systemic oppression that often contributes to family violence.
Brexit, Donald Trump and schools policing young men's facial hair — what's going on?It feels like the world is spinning backwards.
Young people despaired at the decision of Britain to leave the EU. Commentators are saying Trump may win the US presidency, simply because he believes in nothing but himself. Schools want to force 17-year-olds to shave.
Trigger warning: this post contains challenging references to rape and sexual violence.
I was moved by Madeleine Holden's piece in The Spinoff today, about Brock Turner, the 19- (now 20-) year-old Stanford student athlete sentenced to six months imprisonment after, in January last year, he raped an unconscious woman behind a dumpster. It's a passionate bit of writing, angry actually and, rightfully so, Holden asks the question, "What culture raised Turner to become a rapist?"
There's been a lot of talk, both for and against, David Cunliffe's recent public confession that he is sorry to be a man. While I admire his intent, I think his choice of words let him down and weakened his message, for several reasons.
Firstly, personalising the message made it all about him and took the focus off women, for whom he was trying to advocate. He would have come across more genuinely had he apologised, on behalf of men, for the violence and abuse women endure from men.
Secondly, Cunliffe's apology for who he is — a man — indicates shame. Researcher Brené Brown is very clear, in her discourse on shame, that shame inhibits change. You simply cannot change your behaviour if you feel bad about who you are. The antidote for shame is the admission of vulnerability. Men, in particular, are nurtured to be invulnerable — which of course they aren't — and so many if not most men feel shame about their vulnerability.
On Wednesday Violence Free Waitakere (VFW) launched "'Jade Speaks Up', a new multimedia resource to help keep children safe from violence." The media release said, "The resource aims to help children put safety strategies in place to support themselves, should they feel afraid in their lives whether from bullying, natural disasters, adult threats or witnessing grown-ups fighting."
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Sign the KIDshine petition urging Rt Hon John Key to end our 'national shame’ of domestic violence and child abuse.
The arrest of 12 and 13 year old boys for aggravated robbery and murder respectively in West Auckland a couple of weeks ago highlights a growing malaise in society. The incident itself is a tragedy for the victim and his family, but what is alarming to me is that the two offending boys are victims too — of whatever circumstances led them to offend and now, potentially, of the justice system as well.
The bi-polarity of the justice system, which recognises only victim and offender, clearly fails children in these situations. The stories of those like twelve-year-old Bailey Kurariki (NZ 2001), James Bulger's ten-year-old killers (UK 1993) and eleven-year-old Mary Bell (UK 1968), all of whom were charged and sentenced, point toward a "punishment system" that in no way takes into consideration that these children were too young to be held solely responsible for their actions.
A system that believes kids can be guilty of violent crimes without asking, "How did they become capable of violent crimes?", is one that lacks empathy and compassion. Having empathy and compassion for the kids does not diminish feeling for the victims. It simply acknowledges the existence of complex situations that don't follow "victim/perpetrator" patterns.
The media release below highlights a significant gaff on Government's behalf, failing to connect the dots between its social teams and campaigns. What isn't mentioned is the low profile Think Differently campaign, which aims "to encourage and support a fundamental shift in attitudes and behaviour towards disabled people," which seems out of the loop. There also exists a Domestic Violence and Disability working group, which also seems to have been overlooked in the process.
It will be interesting to see how this slip up is addressed. Easy mistake, but will there be an opportunity for a quick fix?
11 September 2013
The massacre at the release of the latest Batman movie is a tragedy to be sure, but why are we surprised?
Hollywood pumps out ever more violent movies, including one, the trailer of which shows a 1940s mob shoot out of a cinema and has been pulled from being shown before Batman.
Why do we gasp in horror when reality mirrors fantasy?