Toxic Masculinity and Trauma

Toxic masculinity as a cause of complex trauma has been well described, yet still it flourishes at all levels of society, and not only via toxic men but also by toxic women like Ghislane Maxwell who dance figuratively around the “maypole” of phallos to support them, and toxic systems such as the legal system which enables the perpetrators to be largely unaccountable while victims are further crushed and humiliated by the court system.

We know more about toxic masculinity today. The MeToo movement and books like Jess Hill’s “See What You Made Me Do- Power, Control and Domestic Abuse” have exposed how hard it is for women to push back against coercive control or abuse. Louise Milligan’s book regarding George Pell and the farce that was his legal proceedings, show how the most vulnerable women and men simply cannot rely on the court system to protect them.

Indeed, many clients over the years have tried to report sexual assaults or even organised/ cult sexual assaults to authorities. Invariably not only are they not helped by the police or legal system, but usually further retraumatised, humiliated and dismissed by the very system they turn to for help, and sometimes further put in harm’s way by these authorities.

Today in 2020 in Victoria, police are supposed to charge the abuser in situations of domestic violence, and ensure the safety of victims and children, but despite the change of law following Rosie Batty’s family violence Royal Commission, many police still leave it to the victim to press charges and fail to protect the children. Child Protection services are also ineffective, partly because our toxic politicians claim they can’t afford to fund it properly. Yet as we have seen in the CV19 era, there is plenty of money available when the government wants to spend it.

There is also at least one health professional I know of who uses his position of power to groom then violently abuse female clients who are particularly vulnerable. All done under cover of his particular specialty, and the power and authority of international recognition as an expert. Yet again, the College he belongs to would not protect his victims, so it is not safe for the victims to report him.

It seems that power does corrupt, absolutely.

In the eighties and nineties, partly in response to Jungian writers and themes of the era, some men’s groups attempted to heal the pattern of toxic masculinity via group work, often involving initiations such as treks, sweat lodges and other rites of passage, holding each other accountable for their shitty behaviour. But these too have largely fizzled out. The Men’s Behaviour Change programs are frequently ineffective even when men are mandated to attend. The problem, as set out in Jess Hills book, is the entitlement and lack of accountability of toxic masculinity.

With the world facing a global epidemic of toxic masculinity now, which is also destroying the planet through climate change, I ask myself WHERE ARE THE GOOD MEN?

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing” attributed to Edmund Burke, (originally from John Stuart Mill, 1867.)

Women have tried to help and educate men for decades, but they are done with trying to help or educate men on their own. It is up to good men to educate themselves now, to show up with women, and to stand firm against toxic masculinity together. Now is the time for good people to come forward to save society and the planet.

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