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The girl's fault

Talking to young people about excusing men who use violence

Myths about men ‘losing their temper’ or ‘losing control’ seemingly still impact how some young people perceive domestic and family violence. It is important young people know that violence is a choice — it is about a person’s decision to try and control someone else not the loss of control.

While the National Community Attitudes Towards Violence Against Women Survey found most young people don’t think alcohol is an excuse for perpetuating violence against a partner, it’s still an important conversation for you to have.

  • 1 in 4 young people are prepared to excuse partner violence in a range of scenarios.
  • 26% agree partner violence can be excused, for instance, if the perpetrator regrets it afterwards.
  • 24% agree violence can be excused if the perpetrator was so angry they ‘lost control’.
  • Most young people (90%) don’t endorse being affected by alcohol as an excuse for perpetrating partner violence.

Young Australian’s Attitudes towards Violence Against Women, 2013

While it’s encouraging that most young people don’t think alcohol is an excuse for perpetuating violence against a partner, you should still talk with them about this as well.

Conversation ideas

Practice considerations Conversation ideas
He just ‘lost it’
  • Plenty of people get angry yet don’t use violence.
  • Domestic and family violence is not about losing control, it’s a choice.
  • It is about trying to control someone else. He has the skills not to hurt you.
He can’t help it — his dad used to be violent to his mum
  • Many men who are violent did not grow up in homes where there was violence. Many men who grew up in homes where there was violence do not use violence.
  • It is very sad that he experienced the violence of his dad. That must have been very frightening for him. Even if someone did grow up with violence, they can make different choices as an adult. This is something he can get help to do if he chooses to.
My partner loves me — they’re not violent all the time
  • Most people aren’t violent all the time, and are often fun and loving. But violence is never okay and everyone has the right to feel safe all the time.
  • It can be very confusing when someone is sometimes kind and sometimes violent. What we know is that if someone has been violent they are likely to be violent again unless they get help.
I think it’s my fault
  • Lots of people who are victims of violence think it is their fault. This is because their partners often tell them they're at fault. This is never true — using violence is a choice.
  • Are there times when he chooses not to use violence such as when he's at work or TAFE? What do you think about that?


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