MENZ Issues

Men’s refuge proposed in Tauranga

Denise Rewi, Tauranga Women’s Refuge advocate wants more responsibility put on male perpetrators of domestic violence. She says a men’s refuge for perpetrators of men’s violence would put the focus in the right place.

Hmm, I had to ponder on this and make a few phone calls to see if this was something the collective of women’s refuges had their hand on. From the information I have been given, the answer is “No” but I think it might be put on the table now for discussion.

Angry Harry, a well known and respected men’s online advocate has been saying this all along.

If the feminists and the women’s groups were really concerned about domestic violence against women, they would be demanding that aggressing men were given the option of getting help.

And the fact that they vigorously oppose providing any help to men says a lot

At the moment men are sent to anger management classes which we are aware is not working well because a one size fits all doesn’t work.

However, women’s refuges do not need to have a one size fits all. They cater to the individual and the circumstances.

When women are aggressive, they say, “It was defence”, “A man somewhere in her life made her this way”, “She has a drug or alcohol problem.” Women in New Zealand are helped each and every time they pick up the phone.

But men get nothing like the women. Zilch. Zero. Or if they do it is GIVEN under circumstances of taking the blame for women’s woes. Where does their individual circumstances come into play?

Angry Harry says the death toll for men has dropped over the decades because women have their refuges and helpline while women’s deaths have stayed the same because men have nowhere to get help.

“Typically women go to a women’s refuge often with their children after a domestic abuse incident”, says Denise.

So true.

Some of those who Tauranga Women’s Refuge works with are forced to complete uproot, change their identities or leave the country. “Why should he be allowed to roam about and do what ever he wants and she has to go in hiding?” asks Denise.

Fair enough question. IMO. But in reality if the abuse is that bad, the perpetrator is looked up in prison and if that is the case maybe uprooting the family is the only choice. Yet I am wondering if Denise is also frustrated at the amount of women that don’t want to be uprooted. After all, it is a big thing to do.

“The responsibility is always put on the women’s shoulders but the male just stays in his normal environment. The focus is in the wrong place” adds Denise.

I don’t think uprooting the man is worthwhile considering in all cases but refuges for men will mean more diversity to help fix the issues.


Denise says men convicted of abusing their partners could go to the men’s refuge under a home detention system.

“Men can come and go and work but they have to be back by a certain time.”

That to me is one option for one type of family.

So far, I am thinking this is good. Men can be helped by men, supported by peers and work through issues while living in the real world…… oh, and there can be relationship counselling where the women attend and children can see their dad in a safe environment without paying for supervised access.

But what do others think?

Source: Bay Sun Newspaper, Friday 3rd July 2009