Being ridiculed is never an excuse to be violent, is the message from the National Network of Family Violence Services (Te Kupenga Whakaoti Mahi Patunga).

‘There is no excuse for any form of violence, regardless of what the contributors are,’ says Takarua Tawera, chair of the NNSVS and White Ribbon ambassador, who was responding to AM Show host Duncan Garner’s warning last week that men should not be ridiculed lest they feel humiliated and ‘set off a powder keg’.

‘Mr Garner is reinforcing the message that it’s okay for men to behave inappropriately and not be challenged – we disagree with that,’ says Mr Tawera, who is also a clinician that treats high-risk adult male offenders at Moana House in Dunedin. ‘Our rationale is that if we don’t speak into it, we’re enabling the behaviour to continue.’

Acknowledging emotions is powerful and can be positive

All Stopping Violence Services in the NNSVS acknowledge the struggles that perpetrators experience with negative emotions but stress that violence is not a form of managing a situation, even when someone is being negative.

Suggesting that most men are incapable of managing their moods is also challenged by Mr Tawera.

‘The majority of men have the ability to manage their emotions, which includes being ridiculed. Being angry is a normal emotion, but it’s what we do with it that’s important.’

In fact, being confronted about a problem can be a positive opportunity says Mr Tawera. ‘It’s not ridicule that’s the problem – it’s the reaction to being ridiculed. Being aware that there is a problem can encourage a man to be vulnerable, which can be the beginning of creating positive change.’

Men need to have the ability to moderate their moods, regardless of how toxic and violent the world is, says Mr Tawera. ‘They need to recognise that if they have the inability to moderate mood, they need to find help.’

Tips to calm down when you’re angry

1. Take time out – remove yourself from the situation as soon as you feel emotions becoming intense.
2. Go somewhere safe to calm down – don’t drive or drink. Exercise can be good.
3. Find help at nnsvs.org.nz

For more information contact: Paulette Crowley, Kaipapaho on 27 231 5970 or email kaipapaho@nnsvs.org.nz.

14 October 2019