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Democracy

Australia is banning entry to anyone found guilty of domestic violence anywhere in the world

"Australia has no tolerance for perpetrators of violence against women and children." 👏👏👏


Australia is sending a strong message to domestic abusers worldwide: You're not welcome here.

Australia has recently broadened a migration law to bar any person who has been convicted of domestic violence anywhere in the world from getting a visa to enter the country. American R&B singer Chris Brown and boxing star Floyd Mayweather had been banned from the country in the past, following their domestic violence convictions. Now the ban applies to all foreign visitors or residents who have been found guilty of violence against women or children.

Even convicted domestic abusers who already have visas and are living in Australia can be kicked out under the new rule. The government is using the rule, which took effect on February 28, 2019 to send a message to domestic violence perpetrators.


“Australia has no tolerance for perpetrators of violence against women and children," Federal Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs David Coleman said in a public statement. “The message is clear: if you've been convicted of a violent crime against women or children, you are not welcome in this country, wherever the offence occurred, whatever the sentence."

The ban is supposed to make Australia safer, but not everyone is happy about it.

“By cancelling the visas of criminals we have made Australia a safer place," Coleman said. “These crimes inflict long lasting trauma on the victims and their friends and family, and foreign criminals who commit them are not welcome in our country."

However, Australia's neighboring country of New Zealand has long taken issue with Australia's policy of exporting convicts, and this new policy highlights why. Under the new rule, New Zealanders who have already served their sentences for domestic violence and lived in Australia most of their lives could be kicked out and sent to live in New Zealand. Such circumstances raise questions about when justice has been served and the role of rehabilitation in domestic violence convictions.

Australia, like many other countries, is trying to come to terms with its domestic violence problem.

Barring domestic violence perpetrators from other countries sends a strong message, but it's only meaningful if the country also tackles the problem among its own citizens. According to a Personal Safety Study conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, about 17% of Australian women and 6% of Australian men have experienced partner violence since the age of 15. And the numbers have remained relatively stable since 2005.

That may seem to indicate that little progress has been made; however, as Australian law professor Heather Douglass points out, the numbers only tell part of the story. Since most people in abusive relationships don't report the abuse until after they've left, it could simply be that more are leaving, which is a good thing. There has also been a marked increase in people seeking domestic violence services in some areas, which, again, is a good thing. For far too long, domestic violence was swept under the rug while victims were often too afraid or embarrassed to seek help. More calls for help could mean that the stigma associated with domestic violence is starting to fade.


This story originally appeared on 04.01.19


Know the signs of a domestic abuser.

Most abusers don't start their relationships by hitting their partners. That's why early warning signs are vital to recognize.

I know two women who recently left abusive partners. Both men seemed sweet and likable—even gentle—each time I saw them. Both had some lovely qualities as people and even as partners. And both turned out to be controlling, increasingly abusive partners behind closed doors.



The thing about domestic violence is that most people don't enter into relationships with someone who abuses them from the get go. It's often like the analogy of the frog in boiling water. If you place a frog into a pot of boiling water, it'll jump right out. But if you put it in a cool pot and gradually increase the temperature, the frog won't recognize that it's being slowly cooked until it's too late.

Abuse usually comes on gradually, with plenty of opportunity to manipulate and forgive and justify the water getting warmer. That's why many stay in abusive relationships far longer than they should.

A domestic violence counselor suggests a simple test to help identify potential abusers early in a relationship.

Rob Andrews is a domestic violence counselor in Australia. He told ABC News that he advises people to use what he calls the "No Test" to identify potential red flags early on in a relationship.

"The No Test is basically to watch out for the way your partner responds the first time you change your mind or say no," Andrews said.

"While expressing disappointment is OK, it's not the same as annoyed. Annoyed is 'how dare you,' a sign of ownership or entitlement."

Ownership, entitlement, control—these are red flags that often lead to increasingly abusive behavior. And though women can definitely be abusers, the reality is that women are much more likely to be the victims of domestic violence and male abusers tend to be more dangerous to their partners.

"A lot of the women who will present to services will see themselves as part of the problem," Andrews said. "They'll ask themselves why they're always attracted to abusive men, blame themselves for not being assertive enough, blame themselves for pushing their partner's buttons, causing their anger."

"With the No Test, we're not trying to give women knowledge that they didn't already know," he said, "but when they see it in black and white in front of them like that, they realize they of course have the right to say no, that they aren't to blame."

Andrews describes our patriarchal history as "the nut of the problem."

Andrews said that some people erroneously tell women that they should just be more assertive with their partners, letting them know they won't stand for controlling or abusive behavior, but that's not always the best tack to take.

"Being assertive with a man who's threatening to bash you is not a very good idea," he said. "It almost comes from what I'd call 'deficit thinking,' that somehow these women need to be trained up so that the people won't abuse them. The only person who can stop the abuse is the person who is doing the abusing."

Andrews works with men who are struggling with their own behavior and want to change. He has them think about what kind of man they really want to be and work with them to align their behavior with that vision.

"I hear a lot of people saying how it's so hard for men now, it's all so confusing," he said. "It's very easy to be a man. Just be polite and respectful to people, it's not that difficult really."

"But in saying that," he added, "we are to some extent dealing with 2,000 years of history of women being a second-class citizen. That's the nut of the problem and we've got to keep chipping away at it."


This article originally appeared on 02.11.19


This is Briana "Bree" Wiseman, a pastry chef and restaurant manager from Tennessee.


A photo of Briana "Bree" WisemanPosted by Bree Wiseman on Saturday, May 6, 2017



The 22-year-old shared a photo of her dog on Facebook next to a plate of food and it went viral — but not just because her dog is really, really cute. In the caption, Wiseman made a powerful statement about sexual assault, using her dog, and the plate of food, as a metaphor.

Wiseman wrote:

To the people that say women get raped due to the way they are dressed. This is my dog. His favorite food is steak. He is eye level with my plate. He won't get any closer because I told him no. If a dog is better behaved than you are, you need to reevaluate your life. Feel free to share, my dog is adorable.

So far, over 325,000 people have shared the post. And thousands have left comments, most of them in full support of both the message, and the dog.

Wiseman told the Huffington Post she decided to share the post to take a stand against victim-blaming, in part because of her own experiences with sexual assault. She said:

The only person to blame in a rape offense is the rapist. It was their decision to rape. People shouldn't have to worry about what they chose to wear for fear of rape. I want people to see that this is a problem, and to stand together against victim-shaming.

She continued:

If a 4-year-old pit bull understands the word no,' even though he is looking at something he wants so bad he is literally drooling, then adults should understand 'no,' no matter how the other adult is dressed... How is it that a simple-minded animal has the ability to understand better than a large part of the adult population?

Good question. Although we already knew dogs are better than people. That being said, kudos to Wiseman for speaking up, and to her dog, for being such a good boy.

This article first appeared on 04.16.19 and was orginally published by our partners at someecards.

Health

How to be an ally to someone dealing with PTSD

An estimated 8 percent of the population will experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in their lifetime.

Helping those affected by PTSD.

Up to 8% of the American population will experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in their lifetime, according to the National Center for PTSD.

As much as people might not want to discuss it, traumatic experiences are not rare. In fact, recent data suggests that 60% of men and 50% of women will experience at least one traumatic event in their lifetime.


For a long time, it was believed that only those who had served in the military could develop PTSD, but that's simply not true.

The reality is that, while it may be more prevalent among certain groups,PTSD can affect anyone who's experienced a traumatic event. It's important to be able to speak about it clearly and openly, without fear or condemnation, in order to promote understanding and healing.

Virtual Reality, therapy, reliving trauma

Cognitive behavioral therapy is one piece of the puzzle.

Photo by Lucrezia Carnelos on Unsplash

Today, more treatments exist for PTSD than ever before.

The medical and psychological communities are finding new and effective ways of treating the disorder. For example, therapies involving virtual reality and paintball have shown to be promising in treating veterans. Both are methods where an individual is exposed to the triggers of their symptoms in a safe and controllable way.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (where one learns to think more realistically and logically) and eye movement desensitization reprocessing (in which an individual relives the traumatic experience in small doses and while remaining firmly in reality) can also be effective in treating the disorder. But therapy, no matter how effective, is only one piece of the puzzle.

Helping those with PTSD must also include compassion. Here's how to be an ally.

It's likely that you know someone who's experienced PTSD. It's also likely that you didn't know how to think or react to the disorder.

Confusion (and even judgment) are normal responses. After all, most of us aren't trained therapists. But you don't have to be a mental health professional to help a friend or loved one who's experiencing PTSD.

There's no one right thing to say to someone who's experiencing the disorder. The best thing you can do is just be there. While it may seem helpful to offer wisdom or offer suggestions for how your loved ones can "move on" or "get over it," that's actually counter-intuitive.

Friendship, respecting boundaries, PTSD

Helpful therapy is important.

Photo by Omar Lopez on Unsplash

Those living with PTSD are already under a great deal of pressure. Suggesting therapy is helpful, but trying to make your loved one see "the good side of things" or "remember that this is all part of a bigger plan" is likely to create even more guilt and stress rather than prompt action. PTSD is painful and it's serious, but it's never a sign of weakness.

Respecting boundaries is also important. It's up to the individual when they choose to talk about their trauma. Nobody should force it or take it personally if they don't.

Show up, listen, care. These things are enough. More importantly, they're important steps toward ending stigma and helping our loved ones heal.

This article originally appeared on 06.27.18