Empowering culture

The results of a recent survey that showed domestic violence increases on the nights of State Of Origin matches gives me ideas for tackling this scourge in our communities

It means a variety of resources can be directed to those peak times, but not just investing in shelters for women.

TV advertising during the matches could remind viewers there is no place for violence in the home.

An important form of influence could be to donate a percentage from ticket sales to shelters, hotlines and other support services.

Many studies have shown that when people recognise their role in responding to an issue, they feel empowered to act.

So a small step like raising funds and promoting this outcome could potentially have a deeper psychological effect on punters at the matches.

The longer term issue is to recognise that male violence is a cultural issue.

Not all males are violent and male violence is not seen at the same levels across all cultures.

For too long Australian governments have retreated from the idea of culture.

Sport and arts were separated decades ago from sitting together in a cultural portfolio, although there’s a lot in common between these activities — particularly in terms of performance and audiences.

A popular misconception is that male violence stems from frustrations that can only be expressed as anger while disinhibited by alcohol.

Alcohol plays a role but many commentators recognise that male violence is an expression of power.

Most would agree that violence is not a healthy form of expression but we need to change our culture to promote alternatives.

Many people find pleasure in the meditative qualities of sport and art and there are a wide variety of other benefits.

The challenge is to recognise the role of culture and to fund programs that are available for everyone.

Just as we know that exercise is good for us, art is good too.

Both activities can increase feelings of well-being and help regulate mood.

The problem I see is that too much government funding is directed to the elites of sport and art, rather than promoting these activities as available to the broader community.

It’s time to recognise culture and its potential in our communities.