Writing Vulnerability

WRITING VULNERABILITY
By David Brockway

I really hate writing articles, not that I get invited to write many. In fact, this may technically fall under the category of a blog, in which case I hate writing those too. But the process of working through my dislike of writing has allowed me to reflect on how our participants experience our workshops. In dwelling on my displeasure for writing articles I found myself trying to find a reason; I struggled to other than the fact that it seemed like a challenge. Now that I’m sitting here writing I’m reminded that it’s not actually that bad, the words flow, my mind ticks over nicely and it’s not proving to be the excruciating pain I believed it would be.  This got me thinking about actually giving this article some sort of direction - a revolutionary thought! There are many challenges that can easily become insurmountable in our minds, the old “mountain out of a molehill” come true. Rather than putting this down to laziness or seeing a task as simply difficult, I feel that this is as a result of anxiety. In this case, I think that my subconscious hatred (how male, that big angry word) of writing an article stemmed from the knowledge that I had to put something of my own imagining out into the open. It would appear that some vulnerability has crept into the mix too.

I fell straight into that old masculinity trap of seeing that something could leave me exposed and tried to make it go away - not run or hide or complain - but “disappear it”, take the approach that most removes me from any interaction with something that could open me up to..what,.the caring reaction of our lovely supporters?! Seems an illogical thing to be afraid of. And something else creeps into the mix here too: the fear of failure, the fear of not being good enough and letting people down. Something that again requires vulnerability to open yourself up to.

In our work we teach that vulnerability is a strength and being able to expose yourself to it is a skill; so here I am, after much showmanship I’m actually doing the thing I dislike, giving it a go and seeing where it takes me. It’s not easy, and that’s something that we’ve always sought to teach in our workshops too; whether it’s facilitating with teenagers, students or adults, we never say it’s easy to confront the uncomfortable, challenge a norm, step outside your comfort zone and ask questions of yourself. We do these things not because they are easy, but because they are hard - and things that are hard to achieve are worth having.

Our aim is to help people try and as I’m writing this I’m reminding myself that sometimes you’ve got to try, perhaps fail, learn and try again. Then you succeed.

Transparent

Good Lad Initiative has created strong ties with with Universities and Colleges in both the UK and Australia. One our founders is a proud Aussie, and is keen to bring Good Lad back to Aus, through workshops, interviews and media, that you can check out here. 

However, there is something that Australian Universities are currently doing much better than back in the UK. They're being transparent about sexual assaults on University campuses. 

Now why is this important? 

Sexual assault and harassment statistics on University campuses are notoriously flawed, with many universities using information that is misleading and downplaying on current campus trends. 


In the USA, 91% of colleges and universities recorded no incidents of rape in 2015. While a survey at the University of Stanford in California showed that 43.3% of current undergraduate women had been a victim of serious sexual wrongdoing, a stat very similar to the average American University campus. 
 The Atlantic, January 2016  

This trend is used to dissuade a threat of violence to current and future students, and to create a 'norm' of sexual-harassment and sexual-assault free campuses, in which no campus is more dangerous than another. In reality, the statistics say that all campuses are a potential danger to women, with an estimated 1 in 7 women being victims of sexual assault on a UK Campus, this is clearly not the case. 

The recognition of the importance of true statistics in regards to sexual violence on campus, is the first step towards acknowledging the problem, and supporting survivors and victims. With the use of true statistics, University administration will no longer be able to turn a blind eye to one of the biggest problems facing their students today. 

The Good Lad Initiative is excited to see Universities move towards this reality, and we can only hope that this becomes the norm across the UK in the near future. 

Click HERE to read more!

Locker Room Inspiration

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It dawned on me that for the past 10 years, I had only been preaching to “half of the sky,” and the treatment of women is no longer a women’s issue or a women’s movement, it is a human movement. 

Who is Alexis Jones? 

Other than a revolutionary superhero for masculinity, she is an activist, coach, author and speaker. 

Alexis has founded both Protect Her and I Am That Girl , two organizations that seek to broaden the definition of manhood, and encourage girls in sport respectively.

The Protect Her specifically campaign focuses on the definition of manhood and sets out to inspire men and athletes, with a heavy focus on sports, to treat women better. The best part about the recent campaign is that they praise men who are doing this right, not just saying what needs to change. We love Alexis because she focuses on the role of men and women, something that Good Lads tries to do through our independent female and male workshops, and collective workshops as well. Sometimes we get caught up in the semantics, and Alexis makes gender violence a reality for everyone and anyone she talks to, me and women. 

Check out the following quote below from Alexis about a team workshop: 

One in four girls will be sexually assaulted on your college campus.” Eyes glaze over with the expression of “Really?! I gotta listen to a chick lecture me right now? I’m tired. I have class. I have afternoon practice. I have … ” I click to the next slide and say, “But what happens when it’s her?” Little do they know that with access to social media, I have pulled pictures of their girlfriends, their sisters, their friends, their moms. They are staring at a stranger’s presentation recognizing and loving the faces looking back at them. Their eyes quickly come back into focus and suddenly this topic is real. Suddenly, this isn’t a stat anymore. 
Alexis Jones, Darling Magazine 2016

For those of you who have attended our workshop, you know that this is a part of our exercises, to make sexual assault and harassment stats personal. The numbers are daunting on paper but horrific in reality. However, Alexis brings us solutions that we can all work towards, and creates action based on individual awareness. We love how she identifies sport as an opportunity, not a barrier, to male and female activism, and we are so excited to see what she is up to next. 

Check out some photos of the @ProtectHer Campaign below: 

Cheers, 

GLI