News Advisor Why it’s time for men to face up to a violent reality
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Why it’s time for men to face up to a violent reality

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OPINION

We all give lip service to the problem of male-on-female violence, but I think its true horror is rarely felt, at least not by men like me.

On Sunday, which was International Women’s Day, I watched with disgust as a host of male trolls made noise about ‘Meninism’ and male rights.

Like petulant children, they asked why there is no day for men (there is) and why issues like male suicide and rape are ignored (they aren’t).

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That same day, I read a piece by prominent female writer Annabel Crabb that deepened my dismay.

To explain why she is a feminist, Ms Crabb pointed first to the fact that only three per cent of CEOs are women, and second to the enormous problem of domestic violence.

sophie-lowe-wounded
Despite being fiction, Autumn Blood‘s brutality sparks worthy outrage.

“I am a feminist because it bothers me that a woman gets killed by her male partner every single week,” she wrote in the third line.

Ranking millionaire salaries before murder struck me as out of all perspective, although I doubt it was intentional.

I wholeheartedly agree that male-on-female violence is horrific. It should shock and anger every one of us – far more than it currently seems to.

Perhaps the problem is so shocking that we choose to turn away, or so distantly brutal that we cannot conceive of it.

On Sunday, I watched something that helped me grasp its terror.

The film was Autumn Blood, starring Australian actress Sophie Lowe as a young woman raped and almost killed by men.

Ms Lowe’s character is an orphan who must run the family farm and care for her traumatised younger brother after the death of their parents. Her brother is mute, and the rest of the cast speak very little, which only heightens the horror.

It is a ghastly film every man should watch.

Ms Lowe acts out her character’s rape – twice – at the hands of depraved villagers, which I imagine took enormous courage.

Both scenes are brutal, and both times I moved to skip the scenes, but stopped myself.

I chose to watch the scenes for the same reason that I choose to watch some of the barbaric videos of the Islamic State terrorists – because evil should not be ignored.

I gritted through my repulsion as Ms Lowe stumbles home in a blood-drenched dress, and collapses into her brother’s arms.

And I watched, horrified, as she cradles a rifle in bed that night, protecting her sleeping brother, only for three of the men to attack her again.

When suspicion falls upon the criminals, they wordlessly plot to murder the girl and her brother. The fact that 104 Australian women could die this year as a result of domestic violence hits home in these scenes.

sophie-lowe-wary
No man should inflict fear in a woman.

And yet, excuses for these crimes abound. Autumn Blood dispels three of them.

Ms Lowe looked seductively at one of the men the day before. And it was still rape. She was swimming naked. Still rape. The men were drunk. Still rape.

After finishing the film, I got it. The burning rage I was left with is what every man should feel.

It’s not enough for Annabel Crabb and other women to condemn violence. Every man must too.

So in the wake of International Women’s Day, I have this to say.

Much has already been written on the internet about the inherent sexism of the jibes that you throw / run / fight like a girl.

To my fellow blokes, I say you punch like men. You rape like men. You drink like men. You fight wars like men. You hurt children like men.

Woman up.

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