Police remove a body from a car after a man allegedly poured petrol on a woman and three children in Brisbane. Lyndon Mechielsen/The Australian
Police remove a body from a car after a man allegedly poured petrol on a woman and three children in Brisbane. Lyndon Mechielsen/The Australian

OUR SAY: Time for men to take responsibility

LIKE the racist assertion that all Muslims are terrorists because of the actions of a few, I don't believe all men are misogynist, violent people.

There's cause for that belief to be out there. Day after day, we see examples of toxic male behaviour that in many cases is leading to the death of women across the country and the world.

It's easy to dismiss the problem and say "that's not me" though. While that may be true, we have a responsibility to realise that there is an epidemic of toxic masculinity and acknowledge the inherent privilege we've been afforded in society by our specific set of chromosomes.

After all, that's all it is that makes us different at the start - just a few different set of chemicals.

From there though, we develop into a world where women are paid less on average, demeaned as the weaker sex, and ridiculed, and treated like second-class citizens. You may argue again there are examples the other way, but the overwhelming statistics prove there's a massive problem that is ingrained in our society.

The latest incident in Brisbane's streets where a mother and her three children's death allegedly at the hands of their father has struck a chord across the country. There are Facebook posts of disgust at the alleged act, and the method used to put the story out by media outlets.

Headlines that lead with the fact he was an NRL player, and that he died "alongside" his children, and an "estranged" wife might give the story more spread from a Google-based scientific view, but are so tone-deaf in our current climate the outrage has come from all corners.

The death brings to eight the number of adult deaths from violence against women this year, and these are only the ones that are publicised. There would be thousands of examples of violence against women that go on behind closed doors, or even exist only in words, still to manifest in physical behaviour.

What's the answer? There's no quick fix to an in issue entwined in generations of women's degradation. The start is for men to stand up and take responsibility for the behaviour and lead the way forward to fix it.

You might not identify with the behaviour in your personal life, as I'm sure many men don't, but the responsibility is to identify it exists, and call it out. It doesn't have to be straight violence - it's rooted everywhere, from the throwaway line about a girl's appearance, or the back-seat of the bus chant. Even if you've done it in the past, the issue is now about what you do in the future.

Call it out. Tell the person it's not appropriate. No matter the degree of physicality it all leads to the same place. It'll be uncomfortable sometimes, and may even see the wave of toxicity land on you.

It doesn't matter. We're all supposed to be "big boys", and we should be able take it. Women have been since the start of time.



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