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Advocating for Indigenous Genius, Indigeneity and Wellbeing


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Why we need safe houses for Aboriginal men. They are victims too.

Pain of Aboriginal men abused by their women By Corey Sinclair

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Tony Linn co-ordinator of Ingkintja Men’s Health.

DOMESTIC violence against men is just as common as it is for women in some Aboriginal communities.

But Aboriginal men are hesitant to speak up because they fear being “shame jobs”.

Former Pioneer footballer Geoffrey Miller says there is a lack of services in Central Australia that can effectively deal with these issues men face.

“When I was working with DASA (Drug & Alcohol Services Association), it was the main problem we had,” he said.

“Women have their own legal aid and shelter — it’s all in place, but for men — there’s no shelter.

“What we used to call the men’s shelter was the prison cause that was the only place to go, even if it’s not their fault.

“If they stepped off their track, they ended up in prison — not a shelter.”

Miller, who previously won a Prime Minister’s Award for providing excellence in service to the community, said a men’s shelter would address a lot of issues that happen in town, like the anti-social behaviour and drinking in the streets.

“When men get kicked out of a home, the worst thing is they walk around the streets and get themselves in that position again,” he said.

“If they had a shelter to go to, they could spend a night there and they’d find where some of the anger in these men are coming from.

“That’s where the big downfall is when they get depressed, they have nowhere to go.

“There’s little things no one has spent time to assess.”

Miller believes the root of the problem is the shift in Aboriginal culture from the men being the bread earners to the women.

“Back in the old days, men were the head of the family but nowadays, that’s taken away from them with pensions and not enough jobs,” he said.

“Men feel lower cause they’re not getting the income his wife is getting, and some wives or partners can be really nasty in that aspect.

“They keep them in their place cause they know they can.

“The men, a lot of the time, will stay cause there’s kids involved or they have nowhere to go.”

But the problem is not just restricted to Aboriginal men.

Miller knows a lot of white men going through similar problems.

“It’s across the board,” he said.

Congress’ Ingkintja Men’s Health’s senior psychologist Max Yffer said they often see men who are victims of interpersonal violence.

“The vast majority are women but it is very difficult for all people to come forward, and that is true across the whole community — not just Aboriginal people,” he said.

“But particularly with Aboriginal people, there is a very strong sense of shame.”

Some of the men who are referred to Mr Yffer as offenders or as the protagonist will often say their female partners had a go at them as well.

“I think there is a broader problem of men feeling a bit lost in their role in society, particularly some men who are caught between a couple of different cultures,” he said.

“Not wanting to steer away from their traditional culture and become more urbanised.”

Mr Yffer agrees that a men’s shelter would be beneficial for Alice Springs.

“It’s something that is talked about a lot,” he said.

“There is the Salvation Army’s men’s hostel but it’s not quite the same as the women’s shelter.

“It doesn’t have quite the same protective aura the women’s shelter does so I think there is definitely a need for a place for men to feel safer.”

Domestic violence related assault in Alice Springs rose 15.2 per cent in 2013.

It is believed one in three victims of family violence and abuse are male.

A study by Edith Cowan University (ECU) confirmed that abused men have almost no services to help them despite also suffering from physical, emotional, verbal, sexual financial and social abuse like women.

Pain of Aboriginal men abused by their women

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(Video) The only prelude needed for Cage-Fighting Poet -Cameron Conaway’s memoir “Caged” + Book Review

Caged – Memoirs of a Cage-Fighting Poet – A Review

Cameron Conaway reaching out to his dad


The Good Men Project is the link between Cameron Conaway and myself. I’m not sure when that link was made and why out of all the contributors to GMP that I began following Cameron on twitter. Maybe it was the Cage Fighter slash Poet paradox that intrigued me.

And that he looks more like a Poet than a Cage Fighter.

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But even when Cameron was fighting and looking like a Cage Fighter than Poet he was writing poems and into poetry.

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I’ve not been one for poetry really. Not writing nor reading it. Mainly because I think it’s because there’s nary been a poem or poetry style that’s attracted me to it. Reading Caged has changed that. I don’t think that I will now suddenly become a poet, even though I’ve had a crack here. But I will write shit down. There’s a style that Cameron refers to early in his book, or as he writes it’s a “tactic” poets use called Enjambent. I like it. And like I said, I’ll give it a crack.

I know I’m going to read Caged again. The first lines I drew my pencil under were on page 8 – The Warrior Spirit. But they were also the last. I wanted to read the book, not study it this first time round. The purposeful intricacies of MMA and BJJ as life metaphors that Cameron brings to light amazed me. It’s like he’s created a road map to life or at least a guide to perhaps follow or a stencil to which colour in however you want. Hell, even colour outside of it.

Admittedly while reading Caged I didn’t feel inspired but rather validated within my own sense of maleness and masculinity. But towards the end I did get inspired. Inspired to write more. This year I’ve really only just gotten into it (writing). My third for the GMP is coming up and an Op Ed I wrote has been widely circulated. Plus a Book Review for a Medical Journal should be out in the coming months.

The next time I read Caged though, will be with pencil, ruler and notepad. There is so much to unpack and explore and reflect upon. Well, for me anyways.

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The biggest reward for me from reading this book is that I’m excited about poetry, as a method of story telling.

Cameron’s website is here

Cameron has a new book of poetry out on November 1st called Malaria Poems.

Malaria ? Poems ? How’s that for a juxtaposition.

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I bought my copy of Caged from Bookktopia but you can also get it via Amazon

Here you can find my first two pieces for the Good Men Project the third is on its way. Here is also a piece that the GMP passed on Robin Williams, Henry Rollins, Men and Depression

Cheers, Dameyon

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Canadian Programs designed to assist Aboriginal people who are caught in the cycle of violence.

The In Search of Your Warrior program (men), Spirit of A Warrior Program (women) and the TAPWE Youth Warrior Program (youth) were designed by Native Counselling Services of Alberta, to assist Aboriginal people who are caught in the cycle of violence. The Warrior programs usually requires 30 days to complete, based upon a six-hour program day. The programs are founded on the basic principles of Natural Law (caring, kindness, respect, love and self-determination), which are learned through ceremony and ritual. The Warrior Program is delivered by two trained facilitators, under the guidance and with the participation of an Elder; the typical group size is 10 – 14 participants.

The program has three primary goals:

To assist Aboriginal people to better understand their personal intergenerational cycle of violent behaviour. This includes: defining family violence; identifying the roots of their violent behaviour; considering the family/community context within which violence occurs; addressing feelings of vulnerability related to their experiences of victimization; and distinguishing between anger and rage.

To build knowledge and skills that will reduce and eventually eliminate violent behaviour in program participants.

To facilitate the participants’ connection and commitment to their life-long healing journey.

Program Process

The ISOYW program is founded in holistic Aboriginal philosophy: the belief that all things are connected and that for sustainable change to occur, an individual must engage the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of self in the changing/learning/healing process. The program process includes activities and sessions that provide opportunities for such holistic learning. The process also includes daily ritual, frequent ceremony (chosen and led by the Elder), and sessions that encourage participants to explore core issues that underlie violent behaviour, such as their childhood experiences of violence, grief and loss, shame, trauma, childhood neglect and abandonment, as well as triggers for violent behaviour. Further, the participants learn about the intergenerational effects of colonization on the Aboriginal individual, family and community. In this process, the participant identifies his own cycle of violence and then can develop skills that will enable him to live a non-violent lifestyle.

The Warrior Programs employ a highly kinaesthetic and experiential learning process.

The Warrior Program sessions employ the rules and process of the sharing circle.

Warrior Facilitators

The men and women who facilitate Warrior program are highly skilled guides, role models and facilitators. Facilitators of the ISOYW program therefore require many important skills and characteristics:

· an in-depth, first-hand understanding of the healing process;
· knowledge of where they are on their own healing path;
· the capacity to take care of themselves emotionally and spiritually throughout the program; and
· the ability to motivate participants to engage in their healing journey.

Native Counselling Services of Alberta retains full responsibility for the Warrior programs; to this end we provide certification for people who have completed the program (Participant Certification), for those who successfully complete the facilitators training (Facilitator Certification) and for those who are responsible for the training of facilitators (Trainer Certification).

NCSA can provide the following services for communities and organizations:

Program Facilitation
NCSA can send facilitators to an organization or community to provide the Warrior programs. We work with the organization to recruit appropriate program participants, choose program location, ensure all necessary program resources are available, prepare community Elders to be a part of the program and provide the Certification of Program Completion for participants who successfully complete.

Facilitator Training

NCSA can help communities and organizations build capacity to facilitate the Warrior programs regularly for their membership or clientele. NCSA will help the organizations choose appropriate facilitator trainees, choose the training location, ensure all resources are available for the training and provide the Facilitator Certificates for the trainees that successfully complete training.

BearPaw Peacemaking Certificate Program


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Robin Williams, Henry Rollins, Men and Depression

Henry Rollins has been talking about his depression for 20 years.

By now you’ve probably heard that Robin Williams died by suicide. It’s been reported that he was “deeply” depressed. There has been an outpouring of grief, and rightfully so. But that’s been the narrative. His death. Also his depression, but mainly his death.

By now you’ve also probably heard about Henry Rollins and his jackass response called ‘Fuck Suicide’, in his weekly column for the  LA WEEKLY.  ‘Fuck Suicide‘ is pretty much Rollins being a reactive jackass. He later posted on his site acknowledging his jackass behaviour.

Rollins writes “That I hurt anyone by what I said, and I did hurt many, disgusts me. It was not at all my intent but it most certainly was the result.”

His apology is short and I believe a lesson in Apologies 101. A lot of people should take notes.

But he also touches on depression, his depression. Now you can be forgiven for missing this point because you’ve too busy being angry at him. Or maybe even, WTF, the world has gone PC crazy.

So I’d like to remind you. Henry Rollins talks about his experience with depression. A man. Talking about depression. And no one seems to be listening.

“I have had a life of depression. Some days are excruciating. Knowing what I know and having been through what I have, I should have known better but I obviously did not. I get so mad when I hear that someone has died this way. Not mad at them, mad at whatever got them there and that no one magically appeared to somehow save them”.

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Doesn’t really fit the “man box”. I personally think he’s the one that lit the wick so all other men can do the same. (And I reckon we have)

But the thing is, no ones being paying attention. Why ? Well I reckon it’s because people have become so ingrained into thinking and conditioned believing that “Men don’t talk.” That people don’t know how to listen anymore. Or they just choose not to. Pick one.

Anyways here’s a few stats and on men and depression, suicide and help seeking from a couple of Australian sites, but they’d be pretty universal I’m sure (I’m Australian).

Depression: “Figures suggest at some point in their lives one in five men experience anxiety and one in eight will have depression”.

Suicide: “Men are three times more likely to kill themselves than women and suicide is the leading cause of death in men aged between 15 and 44. In 2011, almost double the number of young men died by suicide compared to fatal car accidents”.

Help seeking: “But men are less likely to get the help they need, with other ABS data showing only 27 per cent of men seek professional help, compared to 40 per cent of women. In many cases men turn to drugs or alcohol instead of getting assistance, this is especially so with men under 25”.

And here is more on help seeking: “Men are still hesitant and have difficulty talking about depression and anxiety at a personal levelin theory or reality”.

The stats on depression and suicide and men speak for themselves, it’s the reportage of men help seeking that I have issues with.

See I believe that men do talk about their mental health and that people don’t know how to listen to men talk.

It was recently passed on too me the teachings of an Aboriginal Elder of the Girramay peoples; “you have to listen to what a person does – not what they say”. That’s pretty sound advice, and that’s how I think you should all have a crack at listening to men. I recently gave some tips on how to do just that. #WatchListenAsk – its at least a starting point. A better one.

By writing this piece what I’m really trying to do is advocate for change. Same conversation about men and help seeking but change the way we frame it.

See, because what I feel is the real link between Robin Williams and Henry Rollins is depression.

“I wallow in a thick depression. My body shuts down my mind” Rollins wrote that for Details Magazine in 1994. The piece was called “The Iron”.

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20 years later, he is still writing about his depression.

“I have had a life of depression. Some days are excruciating. Knowing what I know and having been through what I have, I should have known better but I obviously did not.”

And again in his follow up column ‘More Thoughts on Suicide

“Like a lot of people, I have battled depression all my life. It’s nothing special, in that it’s too common to be considered unique. This state has made me have to do things in a certain way to remain operational.”

If you still believe that men are hesitant and have difficulty talking about depression then try this one for size.

“There have been some truly awful stretches, as I am sure there have been for anyone who deals with depression, that have at times rendered me almost paralytic. Hours pass and I slow-cook on a cold spit.”

Read that bit again.

“There have been some truly awful stretches, as I am sure there have been for anyone who deals with depression, that have at times rendered me almost paralytic. Hours pass and I slow-cook on a cold spit.”

You can’t get much more graphic impression of the pain of depression.

In any of the pieces about Henry Rollins and Robin Williams did you pick up on any that ? Did anyone point to it and say “See men, many many men, even men like Henry Rollins, get depression and talk about it?”

Al Pacino recently spoke about his own depression recently at the Venice Film Festival. “It can last and it’s terrifying…I know that, I’ve had bouts with stuff that comes close to that, but not with that intensity. I feel spared, I feel lucky.”

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So are you paying attention yet?

Fellas if you are reading this, I’m paying attention.

I’m also trying to change the perception that men don’t don’t talk. And stop people from telling us constantly that we don’t.

See I also have had depression and I am sure I’ll have it again. And like any illness I’ve had before, be it a cold or tonsillitis. I’ve kick it to the curb too. I’ve had a cold more times than I can count. Thankfully, with depression, not so much.

The thing is I got well again. You can too. Again and again and again.

There’s a saying that goes, “If you tell someone something long enough, they start to believe it”.

So this conversation that men don’t talk about their mental health has got to stop; it’s dangerous. Let’s talk about how to listen better.

Men are dying.

Killing themselves. Well fuck that.

We have to become reconditioned into thinking that we do talk. And we have to recondition others into thinking the same. But we are going to have to make that first step.

Because, men and the rest of you out there, we are talking, people just haven’t been listening right.

And Henry, that “slow-cook on a cold spit ” feeling, yeah, I hear you. Oh, how I hear you.

Look after yourself mate. Self-care is important. But I don’t think I need to tell you that. You’ve got The Iron, Dameyon.

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**In Australia only – If you need help now: Call Lifeline’s 24hr crisis telephone line on 13 11 14; Access online one-on-one Crisis Support Chat; Call 000 if life is in immediate danger.

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©Indigenist


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I’m taking part in the World Suicide Prevention Day Cycle Around the Globe

World Suicide Prevention Day – 10 September, 2014 Cycle Around the Globe

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Following last year’s pilot cycle activity, IASP is again this year hosting Cycle Around the Globe for World Suicide Prevention Day. This year, it is free to participate; all you need is access to a bicycle.

The challenge is to collectively cycle the circumference of the globe, 40,075 km or 24,900 miles, and to have participants cycling on every continent. Please join us; it does not matter how far you can cycle; every km or mile will help and there are no limits, you can cycle at home, in the gym or outdoors.

This activity is all about the global community spreading awareness of the importance of suicide prevention. This year’s theme for World Suicide Prevention Day is Suicide Prevention: One World Connected, and this is an activity that connects us in our purpose.

You may wish to take this opportunity to raise money for your local or national suicide prevention charity or similar organization. A sponsorship form is available below to print off to help you collect donations. If you wish to donate to IASP, all donations would be gratefully received.

Also below is an Official Participant label, which can be printed off and attached to your top whilst you are cycling, and a Certificate, which can be printed and filled in once you have completed your cycle. If you are arranging a group activity you may wish to hand out the labels to your group, at the start and, certificates at the finish.

This is a great opportunity to spread the word of suicide prevention. We have WSPD banners and Light a Candle postcards in many different languages on our website http://www.iasp.info/wspd, which can be printed and handed out, as well as lots more information on World Suicide Prevention Day.

We will, of course, be spreading the word on social media as much as possible. Please let us know how you get on, send in your photos and confirm how far you cycled and we will try to put together a total distance. We would also appreciate your support in promoting the cycle. Please tell others about the activity and encourage them to join in and, if you use social media please feel free to spread the word.

Join us and Cycle for WSPD and show the world that we are all connected in the aim of preventing suicide.

Cycle Around the Globe

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