White Ribbon Day Men’s Breakfast at JewishCare

November 25, 2015 by Warren Hurst
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Over 120 members have attended Sydney’s JewishCare’s annual White Ribbon Day Mens Breakfast.


Allan Vidor, Greg Yee and the JewishCare team

The keynote speaker, well known counsellor Greg Yee provided insights into what factors lead men to commit domestic violence. He likened it to a bushfire where multiple factors need to be in place before a bushfire can commence. The three prerequisites for domestic violence are

  1. A tendency to view the expression of vulnerable emotion as weak and dangerous
  2. Avoidance of accepting personal responsibility and shifting of responsibility
  3. Power is utilised for personal benefit

He noted that most people have these learnt factors to some degree but those who committee domestic violence display higher levels.

In answer to questions from the audience Greg advised that domestic violence appeared to occur across all religious groups. He also noted that anecdotally co-ed or single sex school education did not appear to make any difference to the likelihood of perpetrating domestic violence.

President of JewishCare Allan Vidor noted that JewishCare has a team of professionals who help to assist woman and children experiencing domestic violence. Last year JewishCare helped over 50 such families and Allan noted, sadly despite all the resources allocated to the program the numbers are not falling. Allan welcomed the increased role of community leaders and especially Rabbis in working together with JewishCare to address this issue.

Following a breakfast meeting in Canberra this morning, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said: “Currently, two women are killed by a current or former partner every week, 78 women have died as a result of domestic and sexual violence this year alone.

We have to break this cycle. We have to stop it.

We have to stand up against and eliminate violence against women and children and men have to take the lead. That is why we were there this morning at the breakfast with General Ken Gillespie, standing up, committing ourselves to stop violence against women and children.

Now I said upstairs that this is a big cultural issue.

All disrespect of women does not end up with violence against women, but let’s be clear, all violence against women begins with disrespecting women.  We have, as parents, as fathers, as grandfathers, we have a huge responsibility to ensure that our sons grow up to respect their mothers and their sisters.

We have that responsibility as teachers. We have that responsible as leaders, whether it is in business or in the armed forces, or as members of parliament and ministers and prime ministers. This is a leadership issue. This is an issue that calls for cultural change.

Now the research that the Minister is releasing today reminds us of the need for this cultural change. Let me read you some of the quotes from some of the young people that took part in this research.

This is from a female between the age of 10 and 14 years, “It wasn’t that bad. It’s not like he punched her. If there was an injury then it would be bad.”

Or a male between 15 and 17 years talking about a perpetrator of violence against a woman, against a girl, “Oh, he’s just having a bad day.” 

The research also shows that parents, as I’ve said, unknowingly perpetrate attitudes that make certain or minimise certain behaviour.

Here’s another quote from a mother, or a father I should say, “It takes two tango,”blaming the victim, or, “You feel conflicted as a mother of boys. You don’t want them to be labelled,” from a mother.

So we have to change our attitudes. We all play a part in breaking this cycle of violence against women and children of domestic violence. This research is very important and I’d ask the Minister to elaborate on the research and its significance.”

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