what i learnt this week 2017 :: WEEK 9

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If you treat someone with disrespect, you are teaching them that they are not worth respect. If you teach someone that violence in a powerful currency then you can’t be surprised if they decide to use it. Violence is a cheap and easy power hit and quite often people don’t know any other way as it is all they have been taught.

I won’t harp on about video games + the normalisation of porn + the glorification of violence in film & TV (think Game of Thrones to name one) … that discussion has being going on for decades and I do think they have a HUGE part to play in the increase in violence in our society.

The NSW Police commissioner retired this week and as he left he commented that there has a rise in domestic violence and an increase in the number of women being killed by their partners. What the fuck is going on and how is this getting worse… surely it should be getting better.

Last year, ABC’s 4 Corners did a stunning expose on the abuse children were subjected to while incarcerated. The violence and abuse that the children were exposed to was breath-taking. Family members would say that their kids were never the same after being detained… they had been treated so poorly that they did not feel worthy of being back in society!

There is something really wrong with our justice system, people are often in more danger in jail than out in the community. There is a power imbalance and I don’t know how it can be fixed. Norway seems to have a good way of dealing with criminals. People who are incarcerated are treated with respect + have nice accommodation + a strict routine + the doors to their rooms are not locked + they are free to roam around the compound often taking up educational activities. The recidivism rate in Norway is less than 20% compared to Americas rate of more than 76%. It seems that there is some wisdom in treating people that they are worthy of respect. If you teach someone they’ve got nothing to lose then they’ve got nothing to live for and will not strive for a better future for themselves.

Be mindful of what we are teaching people around us… every action we take is influencing someone around us. It’s up to you to make sure it’s a positive influence.

what i learnt this week 2016 :: WEEK 18

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This feels a bit hard to write. As a natural-born feminist I really believe that women and men – although different – are equal. For me feminism = equality… nothing more and nothing less. I feel as if I am betraying my feminist ideals to admit that I don’t feel as safe and strong as I seem to.

It is interesting to watch my beautiful niece grow up and realise that what I consider acceptable for me to tolerate I don’t think is acceptable for her to have to deal with. Seeing this paradox through the lens of what I want for her life has clarified a lot of things for me.

Women have to think about their safety… a lot (at least in my experience and from what I have gleaned from discussions with my friends). I started thinking about this and took mental notes of how often it pops into my mind… and it happened a lot more often than I thought it would.

Let me clarify by saying that I am NOT talking about jumping at shadows and freaking out all the time – it’s a calm and rational assessment of my current surroundings and looking for signs of danger.

I’m not saying that men don’t feel unsafe… I can’t speak for them, but it’s something that women have to think about in a calm and rational way, ALL THE TIME. Some women don’t even feel safe in their own home but that is a whole other issue.

Our society seems to think that it’s ok for women to either live in danger or have to be hyper vigilant all the time… but it’s not. There seems to be a new level of hatred and fear brought on by the current boost in the feminist movement with women being threatened online for sharing their views. It’s not ok.

Maybe instead of telling women where they should go, what they should wear and how they should behave perhaps we can teach men to not view women as objects of possession, conquests to be beaten or less deserving of respect and safety.

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what i learnt this week :: WEEK 37

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Sometimes I have to stop watching the news, as it’s just too depressing.

Australia has been slow to catch up to our American cousins of gun crime and it was only a few years ago that a shooting crime was shocking and out of the ordinary. Every day there is a shooting or another woman killed at the hand of family violence. Why is the violence increasing? What are we doing wrong?

I’m not going to pretend to have the answer. I grew up on a home dominated by woman and my mother was always a strong and independent woman so I haven’t seen family violence first hand. However, as a woman living in this world I have been confronted with and adjacent to violence. It’s horrible to feel as though you are more at risk because of your gender.

This week in particular there has been a disproportionate number of violent attacks on women. There are varying statistics as to how may women have died in Australia so far this year but according to Lisa Wilkinson on the Today Show this morning, 62 women and children have lost their lives due to family violence. Where do we start? Who is responsible? We can’t rely on our government to take the issue seriously as they don’t seem to understand women at all.

Perhaps the only forward thinking, women-friendly decision our government has made this year was choosing Rosie Batty as Australian of the Year. However at the same time the Abbott Government cut funding to women’s support services. Dumbfounding.

I don’t have any answers this week – just lots of questions and a lot of sadness. Real men don’t hit women… in fact they don’t hit anyone. There really is no end to violence :(

You can get more information about Rosie Batty’s foundation Never Alone by visiting their website.

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