Real men say sorry | The Jackal

30 Jul 2014

Real men say sorry

There are a couple of universal truths that all men should be aware of. Firstly, it takes a bigger man to walk away. Of course men can be accused of being weak if they don't confront their problems with violence, but in most cases giving into the urge to do violence is where the weakness really lies.

Another truth is that real men say sorry.

That’s why I was pleased to see the David Cunliffe inform a Women's Refuge forum in Auckland at the beginning of the month that Labour would fund refuges an extra $15 million per year. David Cunliffe also said:

"Can I begin by saying I'm sorry," he said.

"I don't often say it. I'm sorry for being a man right now, because family and sexual violence is perpetrated overwhelmingly by men against women and children.

"So the first message to the men out there is: wake up, stand up and man up and stop this bullshit!"

Clearly David Cunliffe has the emotional fortitude and intellectual acumen to understand that violence against woman and children is a problem that all men must stand up against. Like the anti-drink driving adverts, men must stop their mates from abusing woman and children. If we don’t, then we’re partly responsible for the terrible amounts of domestic violence that occurs throughout New Zealand.

Of course the right wing cherry picked the “I'm sorry for being a man” part of Cunliffe’s speech and badly misrepresented what he actually meant. Instead of acknowledging that all men have a role to play in stopping violence against woman and children, they vilified the leader of the opposition for political gain. This wasn't just bad for Labour's poll ratings, it was bad for domestic violence in general as well. Instead of promoting the core message, the media belittled somebody who was trying to get men to unite against a serious problem. They in fact made it even harder for men to do something about their and their mates domestic violence issues.

The contrast to the current Prime Minister couldn’t be more apparent. Last week John Key went back on his word and decided not to apologise for the government's bungling that resulted in a Malaysian diplomat accused of attempted rape being allowed to return back to Malaysia. Despite John Key’s assurances, he may never return to New Zealand to face justice.

What really pisses me off about all this is that John Key says the government’s mismanagement wasn’t very serious and therefore he isn’t going to say sorry for his administration allowing the accused rapist to get away.

However it appears the real reason Key has decided not to apologise is because Tania Billingsley spoke out publicly against the government.

In changing his mind about acknowledging Ministerial and departmental fault Key is implying that the victim doesn’t have a right to speak out. By doing this the Prime Minister is in fact helping to perpetuate and facilitate rape culture.

John Key’s failure to apologise appropriately (apparently because the case isn’t serious enough) begs the question as to what exactly constitutes a serious enough case to warrant an apology?

When traffic and train delays caused some Rugby World Cup fans to miss the opening game, John Key made a well-publicized apology. When court documents showed that the GCSB had carried out illegal surveillance on Kim Dotcom, Key made an apology. Why then can he not make an apology to Tania Billingsley for the government's obvious failings?