Contributing to change: it’s under the heading of ‘WITH’

I’ve had lots of what I think are good ideas.  And, even if other agree with me, well, that, and 3 to 6 bucks will get you a cappuccino.

What I’ve appreciated about working with Prof. Ann Taket from the Burwood Campus of Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia is that she has a highly keen sense of what it means to be working with community.  That it requires the community itself to be willing to come to the table, and that requires their trust and belief they will be heard, respected, and a valued member at that table.  But it’s a two way street: it also means that they have a respect for you.

With Ann’s leadership, conversations have been happening all over the state of Victoria about You the Man. She’s presented the idea of the program being a tool for the efforts of Victorians in engaging men in violence prevention–not as a replacement, but as a means of highlighting their own programs and services, an opportunity for community members and constituents to be introduced to the ideas of violence prevention and the responsibility and accountability of all of us in this work.  The tour of the state was an act of vulnerability and humility:  This is what we are thinking, this is what it looks like, and what do you think?  How would this serve your work and efforts? Does this fill a need for you?

And as a friend of mine once said, be careful of the questions you as, if you really don’t want to hear the answer. In this case, we did want to hear the answer, and the feedback, concerns, and overwhelming enthusiasm is making the project work.  The next step in laying groundwork for statewide participation was in vetting the new translation of the script from American to Australian. And here is an eloquent and thorough response from Mr. Peter Crowley who works for the City of Moonee Valley

My favorite parts I’ve made bold!

Hi Ann

I enjoyed today’s script reading and I believe this ‘rewrite’ is well on track to its end goal.

I have been both enthusiastic and positive about “You the Man” and, I have to say, those feelings have only intensified after today.

It’s revealing to listen to the sort of post-event discussion that occurred today.  Sure there are differing views about what might be changed but, notwithstanding that today’s group had a mission, today showed me that…

1.       There was a range of comments and suggestions and that positively confirms that the script works with a range of ages and genders

2.       We should make the script as ‘efficient’ as possible but also accept that people will hear and interpret it in their own way and through the lens of their own experiences… so there’s no ‘perfect version’

3.       The fact that people respond and discuss the script with such enthusiasm shows that it really does connect and engage

At the end of the day, this is a clever play and the author clearly worked it out with great thought.  Sure we need to ‘acclimatise’ the play, but we don’t need to fix it.  It works (and the evidence has been collected to prove that)!

 Like others who have been in touch with you, I too am keen to see the benefits of You the Man in my patch.  If you need an audience for a pilot, or a dress rehearsal… look to me.  But my enthusiasm and involvement is driven by more than that.  Male voices and male presence is still far too inconspicuous in this issue.  Time after time I attend PVAW networks and meetings as the lone representative of my gender.  Perhaps it’s my interpretation, but that imbalance, that female focus, makes it too simple for some men to dismiss the issue… to consider it ‘women’s business’.   I have a strong hope (and now a solid belief) that You the Man can contribute to a change in that situation and, more importantly, to a change in the underlying and outrageous issue of the prevalence of violence, by men, to women.


Peter Crowley

Community Safety Officer

Community Development, Citizens Services & Information Management

Safe by choice, not by chance 


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