Reviewed By Aaron Agnew, SVS Clinician
We were impressed by Kay Douglas’ new book Men Making Changes. It’s a very good introduction to people new to family violence, especially for those who are friends and family and are noticing
something’s not quite right with someone in their life. Our clinicians are going to incorporate it into the new Whanau Resilience programme to help friends, family members, work colleagues, etc
who may suspect someone they know is experiencing family harm.
Thirty men were interviewed in the book and are quoted extensively. SVS – Living Safe has long advocated hearing the voices of perpetrators to bring more understanding to the topic of family violence. Ms Douglas takes this perspective as well, showing perpetrators who acknowledged the harm they have caused and the subsequent freedom they felt to make changes.
Taking responsibility was a key ingredient for the men in the book to commit to change. It was a hard journey, but worthwhile for them and their future relationships. Before they committed to changing, they viewed their behaviour as normal or justified. Gaining professional help allowed them to see alternative behaviours, thinking and beliefs. They realised they lacked awareness about the actual impact of their behaviours on others. In particular, early lessons in manhood, like not showing emotions or not crying, were acknowledged as contributing factors to their behaviours and the negative impact on their relationships and loved ones.
For professionals who are not specialists in family violence, the book is a great starting point to begin your journey to learn more. For the men who are quoted in the book, they each sought professional help and their experiences reflect the value in working with those who specialise in this area.
Ms Douglas has two other books, Invisible Wounds, a guide for women in abusive relationships, and the Invisible Wounds Workbook.