By Kyra Gillespie
“I never saw myself as a violent guy, I just thought I was a man who could get angry from time to time.”
Those were the words of former perpetrator of family emotional abuse David Nugent.
Mr Nugent was one among the hundreds of people who marched the streets of Pakenham to unite against domestic violence on Saturday 25 November.
Now a behaviour change specialist at Heavy M.E.T.A.L (Men’s Education Towards Anger and Life), Mr Nugent underscored the importance of men’s attitudes in the prevention of violence against women.
“I never saw myself as a violent guy, I just thought I was a man who could get angry from time to time,” he said.
“My family would walk on eggshells around me, not knowing what mood I would be in from one moment to the next.
“What I didn’t realise then is that my anger was a form of family violence.
“We men are the champions of minimising what we do. There’s no excuse for abuse.”
Twenty-five years ago Mr Nugent wore what he called “the good bloke mask” until one day he let his anger go unchecked at an extended family event, revealing the abuse he had been inflicting upon his wife and children for many years.
After seeking help and eventually helping other struggling men as a result, Mr Nugent said the key to the prevention of violence is through consciousness and raising and shifting perceptions.
“Years ago there was nowhere for men to go but now there are so many resources out there.
“We need to change our attitudes and perceptions around violence.
“To prevent it, we first need to understand it.”
Taking place on White Ribbon Day, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, the march aimed to bring attention to children’s voices and experiences in domestic violence situations through the theme ‘Safe Kids – Safe Communities’.
“Safe Kids – Safe Communities, what a simple message,” MC and Bass MP Brian Paynter said.
“Speak out for all genders, in the workplace, the football clubs, the sporting fields, the local hotel, wherever you are. It’s just common decency.
“Statistics say one in three women experience domestic violence. It’s too many.
“The goal is simple – respect everybody regardless of gender, look out for each other and build healthy and respectful relationships to make our community a safe and enjoyable place to live.”
The Walk Against Violence, hosted by the Cardinia Family Violence Network, commenced at the Pakenham Library and concluded at Bourke Park for a family afternoon with free activities and a free barbecue.
“This stuff does happen and people need to speak out against it,” newly elected Mayor and White Ribbon Ambassador Colin Ross said.
“The Cardinia Shire experiences high rates of family violence and we know that many people experience it in many ways that are not just physical.
“Everyone in the community can play a part in the prevention of family violence to create a safe and peaceful community.”