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An Important Message From The Man Up! Festival

An Important Message From The Man Up! Festival

Our friend and colleague Dave "Red" Whip is a committed supporter of White Ribbon, Australia’s only national, male led Campaign to end men’s violence against women. Red teamed up with Cherry Bar's James Young to put together the Man Up! Festival, a two night musical extravaganza at Cherry and Yah Yahs featuring the musical talents of Redcoats, My Dynamite, Don Fernando and The Mercy Kills. This week we will be featuring some playlists put together by the bands performing, but firstly we thought we would get Red to tell us exactly what Man Up! means to him and why he decided to do something.

"According to VicHealth statistics, 1 in 3 women has experienced domestic violence. Intimate Partner Violence is the number one cause of death and injury among women aged 17-45 in Victoria.

These stats smashed me in the head like a wrecking ball. The biggest killer of women in this state are men. Not breast cancer, or heart disease, or smoking, or car crashes.

It’s no wonder, men frequently encounter what “Pick Up Artists” call the “Bitch Shield” when meeting girls in bars. Any woman would have to know at some level, that this man in a bar could kill or injure them.

What a ridiculous state of affairs. Yet this is where we’re at in 2014.

It’s ridiculous to say that it’s a scientific fact that women and men are both of the same species. We’re not competing for territory or resources. Co-operation between men and women is a basic requirement for human survival.

The experience of being alive between men and women is utterly the same. If a man or a woman is cut, they bleed.

And when we fall in love, both men, and women feel that exhilaration, that moment of harmony and union. And if someone we love and care for betrays us, ignores us, hurts us in some way. Then both men, and women's hearts break. We feel loss. We experience loneliness.

Yet in societies around the world the experience of being alive is radically different between men and women. One dominates the other. Men use their established hierarchies, un-questioned belief systems, and physical strength to dominate women. in both subtle and obvious ways. In so, so many ways that men, and even women some times cannot see. This mentality has been handed down to us, and is hard to distinguish from what is actually nature. But it is not carved in stone. It is not universal. It is not “true”.

So, in my community, all around me, among my friends, there are women and children living in fear. Suffering from abuse. Pandering to men who will violently defend their human experience, at the cost of their partners experience. To the point of injury or death.

In their fear, as part of their self defence it is difficult for the female victim to speak up.

It may be that nobody will hear their call. The law as it stands, cannot adequately protect them from their violent partner. It may be that the victims are blamed, or blame themselves for loving someone who cannot control themselves. It may be financial reasons. It may be the threat of shame from their family. Or it could be that they cop the beatings thinking that they are the only person, who can save their fucked up man from their mans own fucked up behaviour.

It utterly breaks my heart, that in my circle, among my 1000+ Facebook friends of whom 50% are women, there would be 167 of those that have experienced violence from someone they love. And a percentage of those friends may be hurt or die from that love.

There’s another thing that men, and women have in common. They are eyes, ears, hands, feet, and mouths. If we suspect abuse in our circle, we are not powerless to do something about it. And in this area men have a definite advantage.
Our society lives in a fog of male privilege that cannot be seen by many. A mans words are taken more seriously by those who cannot see the fog. A mans strength is respected by those who cannot see the fog.

It is men who make the fists, it is men who carry the disease of violence towards women.

So it is men who can make the most difference in ending the suffering of our sisters, our mothers, our aunties and friends, and their children.

I’m no politician, activist, or movie star. I’m not Martin Luther King or Ghandi. I’m a Sound Engineer who works at Cherry Bar and Yah Yahs. I have access to a venue, and some truly talented musicians in my phone book who agree that violence against women must be stopped. At this time, this is the loudest voice I can muster. I’ve organised a benefit to raise the awareness that men can make the biggest difference to ending domestic violence, and I’ve called it the Man Up Festival. It’s on at Cherry November 21st and at Yah Yahs November 22nd.

Please show your support by coming along."
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