We are living in a brave new world and it may be time to prepare our children for a very different future.
Starting with my parents’ generation, childhood and life in general has on the whole been on the up.
But beneath the veneer of niceness of the built form of our suburbs lies the stark reality that seemingly affluent Australia is not coping well with the basics of life.
Last night’s ABC1 Q&A program tackled the issue of physical and sexual abuse, of which women are the overwhelming victims. One in three women suffer physical abuse and one in five sexual abuse. A woman is murdered every week in Australia at the hands of a violent man. A very large cohort of modern Australian men obviously don’t seem to know how to flourish as men.
But it is not just women suffering. A staggering 43,000 kids are in out of home care because it is not safe for them to be with their parents.
On a visit to Tasmania last week I had the privilege of meeting with the Minister for Human Services and Women, Jacquie Petrusma. Like the rest of Australia, Tasmania is facing massive social issues and has some of the worst statistics in the nation.
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If money was the answer, domestic violence and social breakdown would have been solved years ago. Governments have spent more and more money on preventing and addressing these issues, but the statistics just keep on getting worse. Now with a tight state budget and federal cuts, the only hope is civil society stepping up.
Churches are well-placed to help.
Mentors are desperately needed for fatherless kids. Sorry, but functional male role models do matter to kids. Single parents desperately need help with simple things like how to cook basic meals. Many need to know that mince and vegies are a more economical alternative than fast food. It is not rocket science but for some reason the wisdom of the ages has been lost in the translation of modern culture.
Another important part of the answer is waking up to the toxicity of this culture.
Last night Q&A screened a video question from a brave 19-year-old woman named Megan. She asked about how to combat the sense of “entitlement” young men feel to women’s bodies and what she described as an “entrenched culture of misogyny”.With the television industry through its representative body Free TV Australia pushing for more sex and violence in children’s viewing time
and pornography on demand streaming to the smartphone in every Australian male’s hand, what hope do the Megan’s of modern Australia have for healthy relationships?
Our problems are not insurmountable but they probably won’t be fixed in my generation. But we must start and we must prepare our kids to be part of the answer. The alternative of doing nothing is unthinkable.Q and A Program 'Family Violence Special', ABC TV