Dr. Michael Flood White Ribbon Interview
Dr. Michael Flood is a White Ribbon Ambassador and well-respected Australian expert on gender and sexuality studies from Wollongong University.
Question: Can you talk about what White Ribbon does?
Dr. Michael Flood: White Ribbon is a campaign to encourage men to play a positive role in ending men's violence against women. White Ribbon encourages men to wear the White Ribbon on November 25th to show their concern about men's violence against women and to take action in their everyday lives to help prevent and reduce men's violence against women.
In Australia the White Ribbon campaign involves a school education program and workplace programs as well as working with sporting groups and local community organisations.
For more information about White Ribbon visit www.whiteribbon.com.au
Question: Why does White Ribbon focus solely on men?
Dr. Michael Flood: Because so much violence prevention has focused on what women can do to avoid being insulted and lower the risks they face and that is only part of the solution. Another part of the solution is for the majority of men, who don't use violence, speaking up and challenging their mates when they make violence-supporting comments. White Ribbon encourages men to offer support to women who are living with violence and of course encourages them to look at their own lives and make sure they're not using violence, themselves.
White Ribbon focuses on the positive role that men can play because that is a key part to make change.
Question: Can you talk about the celebrities that backed the 2011 White Ribbon Day?
Dr. Michael Flood: If you go to the White Ribbon website www.whiteribbon.com.au you can get a good sense of the variety of high profile men such as Andrew O'Keefe, Hamish and Andy, Kevin Rudd and a whole bunch of other media celebrities, politicians, sports players and so on.
The White Ribbon campaign is not just focused on getting support from high profile men but also getting support from everyday men in the community.
Question: As a White Ribbon Ambassador can you provide your perspective on Matthew Newton and his recent A Current Affair interview?
Dr. Michael Flood: On the one hand it was good that the issue was raised, we had a man talking about his own use of violence in his past relationships but what he wasn't really doing was taking responsibility for that violence or committing himself to not using violence in the future.
Question: Why do you believe Matthew Newton is 'clearly not taking enough responsibility for his actions"?
Dr. Michael Flood: He really pointed the finger at his mental illness as the cause of his violence, he did not take blame or say that he wouldn't do it again.
Question: What are the common causes of violence against women?
Dr. Michael Flood: Men's violence against women is shaped above all by gender inequalities between women and men. You are much more likely to see violence in a relationship where the man is the dominate partner in a relationship, or in a family or in fact in communities and societies where you have strong gender inequalities, in areas where men are advantaged over women you will have higher rates of violence against women. Violence can be a symptom of inequality and sometimes as a way to maintain those inequalities.
One of the things the White Ribbon campaign encourages men to do is to work at building respectful and fair relations with the women in their life, not only to avoid physical or sexual violence but to build respectful and fair relations more broadly.
Interview by Brooke Hunter