A direct appeal to the men in the shadows in Londonderry for the end of violence and a solution to male issues.
For the last number of years, our group ( initially Mens Aid NI ) has been campaigning and working for equality for men and Boys . We have consistently asked for equality in areas where males suffer the negatives in society :
Education underachievement and so on .
Every other day we hear of a male being assaulted, beaten, stabbed, shot and we have been consistent in asking for a Stategy to End Violence Against Men and Boys. Now we have images being beamed around showing young boys, some primary age, throwing petrol bombs. Grown masked men in the background guiding them.
Each time we raise the issue of a Strategy to address the societal issues young boys face , the response is usually to highlight how men are also the perpetrators of most of these crimes. Not only are they perpetrators, we now see them grooming primary age kids into violence .
Yes it’s true when we look at violent crimes such as shootings, beatings, stabbings and murders – It usually is male on male violence, however this attitude completely ignores the concerning and ever rising numbers of male domestic violence victims – i.e. men who are victims to female perpetrators.
Not only that, but this attitude also fails to get to the root cause of male on male crime. Instead of assuming it happens because ‘boys will be boys’ or ‘men are more violent’ we need to start looking at other areas in life long before violent crime happens, where we as a society are failing boys.
Places like education, where boys routinely under perform and are not catered for with gender specific teaching methods and instead are met with a lack of understanding. We need to also look at why most of our children in care are boys, how boys are more likely to be the victims of abuse and how they are less likely to be adopted and taken out of care once they get there. We need to look at how young men are far more likely to have drug and alcohol problems, and are much more likely to commit suicide.
We have seen first hand evidence , in recent days in Londonderry, to back up recent CJI report which highlights a high rate of Catholic boys within the Justice System.
Once we look at all of these things and notice how many of them begin in early life and set the trend for further down the line, we start to realise that boys wont simply ‘be boys’, but rather they will be products of their experiences, and a refusal to acknowledge that is a refusal to make a better world for the men and boys in your own lives.
However, when we raise the ‘every other day violence ‘ which we suffer, we are told ‘government need to address by way of ending paramilitarism, therefore our calls for a strategy are negated by this.
For every step forward we have made for men and Boys , this violence is pushing us back 10, and due to this we directly appeal for an end.
When you are putting that 9mm bullet in the chamber, or sliding the shotgun slug into the barrel, or lifting the bat or iron bar to go out and find your next victim, or grooming that young child into throwing deadly petrol bombs at the Police, bear this in mind :
By carrying these acts out you are preventing the work WE DO to make life better for YOUR sons, nephews, brothers, fathers. You push us back and suicide rises, education underachievement rises, mental health rises, families are torn.
We work endlessly raising issues we face as a gender but you are creating difficulties for us in achieving change. Young boys are growing up in a society of fear, a society of violence . Some will take a different route in life, others will find this life to hard, others will look at YOU as their role model, others will die from drugs, some will end up in jail, or maimed, beaten, murdered and some will think this is what you do if you disagree with someone .
For the sake of the next generation of boys growing up we appeal to you to STOP! Give our young boys a chance in life, free of a society of violence . Let them see that violence isn’t the answer ! Don’t let their families, partners suffer the same as those who have suffered to this point .
Finally, find a non violent way to resolve your issues with others and let us achieve a Strategy to End Violence Against Men and Boys, because until you do , nightlife violence will continue to rise, general assaults, workplace , street violence .
Peter Morris ( Chairman )
Gary Quinn ( secretary)
Men and Boys Initiative .