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Men Have to Stop Killing Their Loved Ones

23 November 2005

Men Have to Stop Killing Their Loved Ones

Men have to stop using violence if we are to reduce New Zealand's appalling domestic violence statistics, a leading violence prevention agency says.

Reported statistics show that men are the perpetrators of 95% of family violence in New Zealand yet it hardly rates a mention in the public arena, Brian Gardner, National Network of Stopping Violence Services national manager said.

"We have deaths from around the world on our televisions and radios every day and we condemn these as acts of violence while women and children are murdered by men in our own backyard and they are little mentioned and quickly forgotten.

Another woman died this week in Auckland in a domestic related murder.

"It's men who are doing the bashing and killing in our homes. It's men who have to change their behaviour."

Mr Gardner has joined with other men for White Ribbon Day to speak about the benefits for them and their families of learning not to use violence.

"Men who are violent can change, and make a better life for themselves and their families.

"The benefits for me of learning to be non-violent have been huge – I have better relationships with my kids and my partner, I can live without the shame and stress of keeping the violence a secret."

Phil Paikea, an ex gang-member who works with men and adolescent boys to help them to stop using violence, said giving up violence had completely turned his life around.

"I was a very violent man, but I'm not now. My wife is still with me and my children and I are close."

Mr Gardner said New Zealand men should be ashamed of New Zealand's high rate of domestic violence.

"One person dies every 12 and a half days at the hands of a family member. Most of them are women and children. Every one of them is someone's daughter, mother, friend or workmate."

Latest statistics show that in 2003 and 2002 41.5 % of murders were domestic violence related, most of the victims were women and children. National Network of Stopping Violence Services is the umbrella organisation for agencies working to prevent family violence. They run programmes for men who want to change their behaviour and learn to stop using violence against family members.

Not a Minute More - White Ribbon Day is the largest effort by men across the world, working in partnership with women, to end men's violence against women.

Case Studies

Three men are available to talk about their history of violence, the changes they have made and the benefits to their families of giving up violence.

Brian Gardner : Brian came into the family violence area through personal experience. He has been violent to partners in the past and was told by his friends his behaviour was unacceptable. He decided he would make the changes and this has led to a long involvement in helping men to stop being violent through Stopping Violence agencies. He has in depth knowledge of why men are violent, what they can do about it and services available to support them.

Phil Paikea : Phil was in his own words "a very violent man". He was a founding member and gang leader of Black Power in Whangarei but decided after a stint in prison that this was not the life he wanted. He became a founding member of the Bream Bay Community Support Trust which is a member of the National Network of Stopping Violence Services. He is still married to his wife of nearly 30 years but has no doubt he wouldn't be if he hadn't changed his ways. He can talk about what it was like being so violent, how he made the changes and how this has turned his life around.

Tim : self referred to a stopping violence programme when he realised that his behaviour was the common denominator in his failed relationships. He went on to facilitate men's stopping violence programmes and is now married with children and working in the helping profession in Wellington.

He describes his earlier behaviour as "physically abusive, verbally abusive and manipulative" and says he perpetually lived in shame. He found changing his behaviour liberating and rewarding and can speak about how men can be different and the rewards that brings.


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