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Domestic violence — men must speak about their anger

  • September 17, 2015
  • Blog

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I can’t believe I am writing about this again. Domestic violence in this country is the worst we’ve ever seen.

In April, I pleaded for this to stop after the death of NSW teacher; Stephanie Scott.

Back then, a staggering 30 women had been killed to date.

Today, the national total stands at 62.

It has doubled and then some — another 32 women have been killed in less than five months.

I find it so hard to comprehend.

Women in influential positions across the country have been trying to tackle this issue.

Lisa Wilkinson from The Today Show and Carrie Bickmore from The Project have both started conversations about this.

Statistics are being flashed in front of us on a daily basis, but nothing is changing.

In fact, numbers are increasing, and in most of the 62 cases, the women were killed by men.

We’ve been speaking about this issue all week on our radio show. I’ve had numerous conversations with friends and work colleagues, so the awareness of the issue is growing, but we must get to the core of it.

So how do we stop it? That’s the question.
I think we need more men speaking up about this issue — we need more men to step in when and where they can.

Yes, cricket legend Michael Clarke has spoken out, along with TV host Charlie Pickering.

But we need our peers to join in on the conversations too. We need the boys down the local pub on a Saturday arvo to be discussing this huge issue.

Our brothers, fathers, husbands and sons must stop turning a blind eye to this and stand up to their mates if they suspect they may be hurting their loved one.

The big thing I hear from my guy friends when we speak of domestic violence is that they would find it awkward approaching their mate and telling him how to treat his partner.

That’s just not good enough.

We need you to step in, we can’t lose any more lives to domestic violence.

Obviously anger plays a huge part in this issue and this week a 30-year-old husband and father called our radio show to talk about it.

Brent recently admitted to his wife that he was having serious spouts of aggression without any explanation.

He said: “We’d be sitting at the table laughing, but underneath I was furious.”

To give you a bit of backstory, Brent had a happy and great upbringing.

At 18, he enlisted in the Navy and sadly during this time, he was riddled with injuries and underwent several operations.

He was constantly drugged up on pain killers.

This has played a huge part in Brent’s anger issues.

This year he was diagnosed with depression and general anxiety disorders due to long-term pain from injuries, his loss of physical performance and the subsequent effects on his self-worth and confidence.

Brent hasn’t ever hurt anyone, but he has been so angry that he scared himself and that’s why today he is getting help and why he wanted to share his story.

He reached out to our show because he wants other men that may be going through this too, to get help.

He said: “It’s OK to talk about it and the more awareness we have on the issue, hopefully the less lives are lost.”

I asked Brent if he had a message for men that may be in the same situation and have anger bubbling inside.

“Talk to the people that you’re scared of hurting,” he said.

“They can help you the most, let them know what you are going through so they can understand and work with you.”

Brent pleaded for men to reach out to their mates.

He believes that we can combat the stigma if we continue to educate ourselves and communicate with one another.

I know there’s a stigma behind men reaching out to other men for psychological help.

For years men have been taught to keep their emotions in check and to not let us see them and I believe that this is a contributing factor to both domestic violence statistics and the horrifically high number of men committing suicide in this country.

Suicide still remains the leading cause of death for Australians aged between 15 and 44. Men account for three out of every five suicide deaths.

Zoe Dimech is a friend of mine and a psychologist in Perth.

I asked her how she felt we could try and combat this national crisis with 62 women dead due to domestic violence.

She said we need to continue to work at breaking down the stigma associated with mental health issues.

“We also need to encourage our loved ones to talk about everyday stresses, to minimise the build-up of pressure and support them to seek help,” she told me.

“It would also be incredible if specialised programs could be implemented nationwide in schools that focused on equipping young men with emotion regulation skills.”

The biggest trigger for aggression according to Zoe is a difficulty or inability to effectively regulate emotions.

Aggression may accompany other psychological or cognitive symptoms, such as anxiety, irritability, depression and sleep disturbances and it can be a result of early psychological trauma, including neglect, domestic violence and parental separation.

If you think your friend or family member is experiencing anger issues or maybe physically harming someone else, you need to do something about it.

Start the conversation today, tomorrow might be too late.

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