Six women killed in 5 days? It used to be one a week, now we’ve hit 52 for the year and it’s not even the end of October. Jesus Christ people. What the hell is going on? How are we producing people so broken that murder is achingly common? And what can we do about it?
Jacqueline Francis, Nicole Cartwright, Kristie Powell, Gayle Potter, Julie Cooper, Beverley Quinn, Mara Harvey and her three young daughters. These are just the latest in a long line of women whose lives were taken. This is painful enough to write. I can’t imagine what it must be like to live this experience.
As humans we have a social contract to look after each other, to protect each other, and that contract was broken. That’s on all of us. The one thing that all the men who did this have in common is that they came up in this world of ours. There were older people in their lives who they learned from, and this is where it led them.
There are multiple ways we can and should respond to this crisis. We need to fund frontline (police and ambulance) and backline (support groups) services to stop it. But I’m not a legislator. And besides, a lot of the people committing these crimes are in breach of Domestic Violence Orders. The courts had (arguably) done their job. This is down to individuals and how they relate to our society.
And so we inevitably come back to the fact that these men used to be kids. Precious, impressionable, innocent, kids. Kids born in to a world with a violent history. Kids born of a long line of generations that fought hard enough to survive, but into a world where survival instinct is mostly redundant. Where we don’t need to hunt for our food or fight the next village to assert our supremacy. That latent aggression, and the frustration of its suppression, are very real things. Now I am not an evolutionary biologist, but nor am I a genetic determinist. I believe in agency, responsibility, and the adaptability of the human spirit. I believe that with the right modelling we can set our kids on the right path, so they don’t become violent, dangerous individuals.
That’s our jobs as parents. To give our kids the skills to cope with life and all that it entails. And dealing with rage and frustration is one of the most important skills there is. Breaking the cycle of intergenerational violence is hard bloody work. But we’ve got to give it our best.
So, here’s a start:
Kids live what they see. They’re sponges. They soak it all in, and when they’re squeezed, what we put in there comes gushing out. The way we behave in front of them is how they behave in turn. So be aware of it. Take extra care to be kind and gentle, especially to those smaller than you, and that’s what they will do too.