Most of the time, the things that swirl around social media are pretty banal.
Every now and then something will pop up that asks us to really think about ourselves and society.
This video which asks boys aged 7 to 11 to hit a girl is one such video and it’s seriously powerful.
With some of the cutest smiles, these boys are led down a garden path talking about themselves and what they want to be when they grow up.
When they are asked to hit a girl, they refuse. One boy even says “girls shouldn’t be hit, not even with a flower”.
I take a hard line against violence: it is never acceptable. There is no excuse.
I believe an act of violence shows that someone has lost the focus to act rationally.
It is completely unjustifiable.
How do we get from this point, where boys find it reprehensible to even consider violence against a woman to a situation where one woman every week dies at the hand of abuse from her partner?
Justifying domestic violence takes a number of paths. Men, and it is overwhelmingly men, who commit domestic violence end up blaming other people, alcohol or drugs and situations at work or financially for violent eruptions.
For some bizarre reason, boys can grow into men with notions of masculinity that violence is acceptable. He can believe this is an exploration of his manhood – when nothing can be further from the truth.
Only unreasonable men commit violence against their partners.
Sadly, some men fail to seek help because of the fear of judgement. They are too ashamed to seek help. Realising that they have a problem they can still struggle to open up and find support.
As our boys grow up they should still feel the way these boys do – that violence against women is inexcusable. Which means that boys and men need to be reminded the impact that domestic violence has on the individual and community.
As much as some men would think otherwise, men are not naturally violent. Violent actions are learned behaviours and are unhealthy expositions of masculinity. Men ought to channel manhood in other ways – such as through sport or creative endeavours.
This should be explored at all points in their life: at school, at home, among friends and in the community.
As important as it is to have male role models call out sexism and violence against women, nothing is comparable to women sharing their stories.
While that takes tremendous bravery, it gives men a direct insight. I cannot think of a time when my school mates and I heard directly about domestic violence from a woman – too often it’s descriptive and skirts around the harsh reality.
Bringing the issue back home can have a powerful effect. It makes it local and real.
Every man should realise that, at one time, they were one of these cute boys with smiles who is confused and unwilling to hit a woman.