March 26, 2004 | Peter

Blokey Violence

The allegations of sexual misconduct against rugby and Aussie rules footballers just keep on coming. What, aren’t soccer players, basketballers, etc, real men too?
Of course, there may actually be something in this. It might be the specific culture of violent sports like the two football codes that promotes the attitudes that make violence, including against women, more likely. Maybe.
In today’s “West” (I only read it for the sports coverage, honest, but sometimes a headline just catches my eye) was the headline, ‘Domestic abuse becoming normal in WA, counsellor says’. Now, according to far too many of my female students, we live in a post-feminist age where women’s rights are now assured and women can live on an equal footing with men. Despite the constant evidence that female pay rates lag behind. And despite the ongoing incidences of sexual assault. And despite the domestic violence.
Women have indeed made huge gains over the last century or so, but society has not seen a genuine shift in the attitude of far too many males to go along with this change. Boys do need good role models, and yet family fragility and an obsession with child sex abuse (as opposed to simple child abuse) resulting in a dramatic decline in male teachers sees fewer and fewer appropriate men available to do the job.
A teacher friend of mine has told me heart-rending stories about young boys pestering him after school and at home, desperate for a little male company.
This is a problem that goes to the core of what we think a modern man and woman should be. I certainly do not advocate a return to the bad old days when abuse and violence were simply swept under the lino, but we need to think a lot harder about our personal and professional relationships. Something I do know is that meaningful relationships with others cannot be bought with money.
One thing is for sure – if we see all others as whole, real people in their own right, it becomes very difficult to hurt them.

Posted by Peter at 1:10 pm | Comments (2) |
Filed under: Uncategorized


  1. I’d be interested to know if the surf lifesaving movement had any record of such attacks since they allowed young women in. Having to work with others and see them, as you say, as ‘whole, real people’ engenders s certain respect. The clubbies were certainly very blokey in the 60s and 70s.

    Comment by robv — March 28, 2004 @ 9:32 pm

  2. At the WAFL footy level quite a few trainers are now women, and I think some other support staff(eg masseurs) are as well. This sort of thing has to help.

    Comment by peter mcmahon — March 29, 2004 @ 12:49 pm

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