Preventing gender violence - be part of the change
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Exposing the lie of entitlement

 - Issue 20


Male entitlement is an attitude that conveys inherent male superiority, a general disrespect for women and, a misguided belief that men are more competent than women. Violence against women cannot exist without a sense of male entitlement being present. Obvious manifestations of this attitude include such things as a man expecting that he will have the final say on all important decisions and, that women are property lacking any sort of agency.   

I occasionally meet men whose sense of entitlement remains largely invisible to them.  A young man, for example, texted me at the end of last year, having completed an MA in psychology, and expressed an interest to train as a workshop facilitator. He was indignant when I said that before he could train he would need to be interviewed to assess his suitability as a trainer. He responded: 'I thought you were looking for competent people to help!'  He was angry that his MA wasn’t enough and that his seminary training, where he learned empathy for the homeless and how to help them, wasn’t adequate to exempt him from the application process. 

I quizzed him about his anger. To sum up an awkward conversation, he saw himself as one of the 'good guys' and was more than ready to say what violence against women is about and who does it. He wanted to be the one to say when women go too far in their self-expression; to tell them what was fair and just; to say what is appropriate and when. If questioned, he would be the one to deny the need for control.

Violence against women is predicated on a lie about entitlement. Men can stop the lie of inherent superiority in its tracks by not acting as if it were true. This begins with the acknowledgement of privilege; with recognising that the standards of gender identity are contrived to accommodate male privilege. The male/female binary is based on relatively minor biological differences that are exploited by some to declare men and women 'opposites.' This dichotomy is used to advance the notion of men as intelligent, rational, sagacious, and moral, while women are promoted as the opposite, dense, emotive, obtuse and a/moral.

My hope is that what Gloria Steinem said of the women’s consciousness-raising groups in the 1970s is true for men today: 'Personal truth telling as a path to social change is the most important and enduring legacy' and, I would add, a pre-requisite to prevent violence against women.


Reminder of events coming up

FEB 5 - Interactive homily - St Paul's Anglican Church Boronia. Details & Registration   
FEB 7 - Promoting Facilitator Training - Faith Communities Council of Victoria. Closed event
FEB 15 - Holding the Light to Remember Victims & Survivors of Domestic Violence: debrief. Closed event
FEB 25 - Facilitator training workshop. Closed event 
MAR 7 - Active Bystander Workshop - St Mary's Anglican Church Sunbury. Details & Registration
APR 1 - Active Bystander Workshop - Holy Trinity Anglican Cathedral Wangaratta. Details and Registration
JUN 10 - Active Bystander Workshop - Hare Krishna Temple. Details and Registration

Notices and violence prevention resources   

If you would like to show case the violence prevention work of your faith community or submit any success (or partial success) that you've had as an active bystander upload it here  

Think Prevent is edited by Jill Graham & Em Timmins and information is issued by Kempster Consultants. The opinions, events, links, and reports within the e-Newsletter are not necessarily endorsed or supported by the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne, its program partners Brotherhood of St Laurence or Anglicare Victoria.  

For further information contact: Dr Ree Boddé  (M) 0450039288. Email:
We declare our commitment to be an Active Bystander against discrimination, sexism, sexual abuse and violence whether at home, on the sports field, at work, in our house of worship, or out with friends, family, colleagues, or workmates
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