Violence in Byron Bay, Australia – it takes a whole society to raise one violent boy, says Pip Cornall
Apr 12, 2010
from the entry on Malechallengemedia's blog:
“Perhaps it takes a whole society to raise one violent boy,” says Male challenge (formerly sustainable-masculinity) advocate, Pip Cornall, who, after more than two decades working to prevent violence in the USA and Australia, is appalled by the rising youth violence showing up as teen gangs, homicides, teen porn, those damaging large group parties, vandalism, drugs, burglary, violent and sexist music. You’ll notice these behaviours almost always involve boys and young men—it’s a male thing, but it is a male thing that is growing.”
....When asked if we can solve the problem of youth violence he replied, “Sure we can. For example, in workshops with gang members and violent teens, when we help them drop the “tough guise,” we expose a vulnerable boy with terrible self esteem. Once we identify the root causes of male violence, we can design solutions—solutions of an immediate nature, and longer term preventative approaches.”
Too often we name gang violence as youth crime, when, overwhelmingly, 99% of the perpetrators are male. We need to name it as that—as male violence—as a male issue. Given that baby boys and girls are not born violent and there are societies where violence is very low, we must identify what makes our young boys prone to acts of gratuitous violence.”
Our society unwittingly contributes to hyper masculinity—the masculinity that is weighted to the “tough guise.” The good news is that solutions become apparent when we understand how boys develop—when we understand that masculinity is a social construct and changes over time, unlike maleness which is biological and fixed.
....After he left the Northern Rivers in 1980, Pip, a former PE teacher, ran an outdoor adventure business for 12 years which eventually took him to the USA where his adventure lifestyle continued. He was a ski instructor in winter, a raft guide in summer and in between taught peer mediation in the area schools. Mediation studies opened his eyes to restorative justice programs, especially with juveniles and he eventually became a mediator in the juvenile justice systems of NSW and Oregon. In these years he also worked with gang kids in California and with men in prison.