Holding Men Accountable

Holding Men Accountable with Jude Oudshoorn

Jenna Mayne: Welcome to she is your neighbour, a show where we discuss the realities and complexities of domestic violence. This podcast is brought to you by Women’s Crisis Services of Waterloo Region, a charitable organization in Ontario, Canada. I’m your host, Jenna Mayne. Join me as we talk to different people each week to learn how domestic violence impacts people from all walks of life. She is your neighbour, and we all have a role to play in ending domestic violence.

This week’s episode is called holding Men accountable with Jude Oudshoorn. Jude is a restorative justice mediator and a professor in community and criminal justice at Conestoga College. He also helps facilitate the engaging men program at AH Women’s Crisis Services. His work centers on making justice systems more trauma informed and working towards ending male violence. In this episode, Jude tells us about his experience growing up in an abusive household and how this experience has led him into the work that he does today. This episode is part of an eight episode series called when violence escalates, which explores how violence builds, leading to more severe incidents and death.

I really admire Jude and the work that he does, and I’m so grateful for how open and honest he was. In our conversation, Jude always talks about how men need to be role models for other men. And to do this, men need to be willing to share their own stories and be authentic and open up and in order to help themselves and help others. Something else that was really interesting that Jude talked about was some of the unexpected triggers that he has experienced in his life. one of those being when he had kids and they were having tantrums, which I totally get. Tantrums are not fun. I’m a new mom myself, so I know what that can be like. but it was really interesting to kind of talk through this with Jude and just talk about how triggers can sometimes feel like they come out of nowhere. You didn’t know you were going to be triggered by that. But also triggers can change over time. Just because something triggers you at one point doesn’t mean it’s going to be that way forever. You are able to move past that if you have the right tools and resources. So that was something I really enjoyed talking about with Jude. Of course, I was really happy that we got to expand on women’s crisis services new engaging men program in this episode. It’s an example of some of the prevention work that we’re doing to stop domestic violence, either before it starts or once it’s already happened, to prevent it from happening again. And I think this work is just so, so, so crucial because we can’t support women without supporting men and helping them with their behavior and changing their behavior. The onus shouldn’t always be on the women to change. Right? I think we need to encourage men to be accountable for their behavior and then give them the tools and resources they need to be able to change. Now, before we get started, I’d like to note that the following episode includes a discussion of domestic violence and abuse and contains graphic content which may be distressing or traumatic for some listeners. Please take care of yourself and don’t hesitate to ask for help if you need it.


Jenna Mayne: Hi, Jude.

Jude Oudshoorn: Hello.

Jenna Mayne: Thanks so much for being here today. I’m so excited to have you on the podcast.

Jude Oudshoorn: Thanks very much. I’m super honored to be here with you. Thanks for having me.

Jenna Mayne: Oh, yeah, I’m so excited. We’ve been talking about it and just looking forward to it for a while now, so I know you’re gonna have lots of great things to say. I was hoping maybe you could start by just sharing a little bit about yourself.

Jude Oudshoorn: Sure. So, my name is Jude, and my connection to the podcast, I guess, is probably mostly the work that I’ve done with men over the past 20 years or so around engaging men to, end violence against. Against women and children and other men and other genders, too. I come at this work from a variety of contexts, one as a college educator, another as a researcher, and then also, as a frontline worker, so to speak, in this area. And then I’ve got my own story as well, too, that’s connected to these issues.

Jenna Mayne: Yeah, that’s great. Thank you so much for being here, and I know you have so many different experiences, and I’m excited to learn from all of them. So today we’re going to be really talking about how we can engage with men who use violence towards their partners and children, and why this is so critical in preventing violence from escalating. So, at, women’s crisis services, we have an engaging men prevention program, and it’s designed to work with men and families. I was hoping you could tell us a little bit about the program and your involvement with it.

Jude Oudshoorn: Sure. It’s a great starting point, and I’m very excited about this engaging men program at women’s crisis services, and I’ve been involved with it for a couple of months now, coming on board in the role of a consultant to help support the development of that work. Pragmatically speaking, the program is about providing, services to men who are at risk of using violence, or men who have used violence in order that they might engage with a therapeutic process to do better in their relationships in the future. So we have a couple therapists that we can refer men to. I think for me, though, the why of the program is so important, right in the area where we are from, as it is also being named in other parts of the country, violence against women, gender based violence is being named as an epidemic. And one of the things that’s been really important to me in this work is actually clearly naming that most of the perpetration, at least of serious violence, of sexual violence, of, assaults against partners, actually being perpetrated by male identified people. And so part of this work then is really being honest about that. It’s acknowledging that and then really getting at more of the root cause of what’s going on for men, in the sense that why are we as men, at risk of perpetrating violence much more so than other genders?

Jenna Mayne: Yeah, that’s a great overview. Thank you for sharing a bit about that. And I’m also curious, kind of what led you into this work. I know you touched on a little bit of why it’s important to you, but do you have a bit more you’d like to share about that?

Jude Oudshoorn: Sure. Thanks for asking. So, I grew up in family violence and domestic violence myself. Probably the best metaphor or analogy that I could use. It it’s kind of like growing up with a dark cloud over your home. And I deliberately mean like a dark cloud over my home instead of in an open field, in the sense that it felt like there’s no real escape from it. So there’s this dark cloud in the home. Lightning strikes. I don’t always know when lightning is going to strike. Sometimes I do, and I can predict it and try and steer clear of it. but more often than not, it’s that feeling of kind of being frozen in fear and not being able to function. So myself, my brothers, my mom, we all experienced some physical violence. and beyond that, it was just a hyper controlled environment, emotionally, spiritually, all of the areas of well being. So I was fairly frozen in my childhood. actually, in advance of getting ready for this podcast, I was kind of having different memories pop up to my mind, and it actually got me thinking. One of the most dramatic experiences I had when I was growing up related to violence, I actually. I didn’t remember it, and I still don’t remember it. And the only reason that I know about it is because about 15 or so years ago, when my parents split up, my dad had sort of a brief window of accountability and taking responsibility. And I was sitting across from him in his living room at the time, and he was, he was sobbing and apologetic about his, patriarchal violence and his control and all of that. And in particular, he wanted to share this one story about something that he had done to me when I was in grade one. So this would have been in the early 1980s, 1983. And what I remember from 1983 was boy George’s karma chameleon. I mean, that was the song I remember singing that, on the ride to school. And I was a bit of a troublemaker in grade one, as much as somebody can be a troublemaker in grade one. And I think that’s part of the reason my dad laughed out with his violence towards me. And he actually, beat me pretty badly. He used to keep this stick that he would use as like a spanking implement, but it was often used for much more than just a simple spanking thing. He said that he had to put like long clothes on me so that I could go to school, so that nobody could see that there was bruises on me. but I share that story for a couple of reasons. One, that specific incident actually shaped me for the rest of elementary school and high school without me really realizing I became a really compliant kid and I became a really withdrawn kid. and I was actually super hyper well behaved because I was afraid of authority in those settings, in those contexts. So I found it interesting to hear that story from my dad, both from how I was shaped, and there were other incidents of violence that I remembered. but beyond that, I was also really intrigued that there was just this brief window of taking responsibility that my dad was actually present. And things shifted after with that. I mean, I actually don’t have a relationship with him. Ah, to this day. A number of years ago, he disowned me when I tried to put some boundaries around our relationship. but that window of account accountability became really important for me in my work, because I actually thought, you know what? Men who use violence are human beings, and more often than not, we want to characterize them as monsters. And yes, they’ve done monstrous, harmful things to us. At the same time, even this podcast is called she is your neighbour. I kept thinking like, he is your neighbour as well, he being the man who have chosen to use violence. And so are we going to acknowledge their humanity and are we going to draw in those moments of remorse that they have, or are we going to continue to kind of separate them and other them from society? When in actual fact, these men are our dads, they’re our brothers, they’re our uncles, they’re our friends, all of those sorts of things.

Jenna Mayne: Thank you so much for sharing that. I know, it can be difficult, but I really do appreciate you sharing that with us. A few things you said were interesting. You said that experience shaped you without even realizing it. And I think it’s interesting, and I think it would be, relatable to a lot of our listeners and our clients. And, you know, I think when you’ve experienced trauma, I think a lot of your experiences do shape you without you realizing it. And a lot of the time, it’s not until much, much later that you start to really feel the impact and understand it. The other interesting thing was the windows of opportunity, because I’ve heard you talk about that before and talk about how that’s so important in the engaging men program and how can we turn these windows into doorways. And I was wondering if maybe you could share a little bit more about your thoughts around this.

Jude Oudshoorn: Yeah. To me, it’s such an important question, and it speaks to our social obligations. Right. I think part of our problem with dealing with gender based violence is we’ve really tried to individualize it, and it doesn’t mean these men shouldn’t be responsible. They should be. They should be accountable. And certainly I have that expectation of my dad right. Even now, to this day, if ever he wants to do more to take responsibility for his behavior, I would welcome that. and at the same time, I think these are men and boys who we raised in our communities. They are our responsibilities. The behaviors that they have chosen to use are as a result of part of who we are as a community. And so that’s where we can start to talk about things like patriarchy and colonialism and white supremacy and some of these bigger structures and how they get tangled into, why men choose to use violence in interpersonal relationships. And so what I’m looking for when I’m thinking about, like, expanding on these little doorways of accountability and shifting us into actually bursting open the door of accountability, is creating a structure where we can actually encourage men to take responsibility for their behavior. So those who use violence, but I’m also very, very into. In awakening this whole silent group of men. So, of course, most men don’t use violence in their relationships, right? Most men are peaceful, loving, caring human beings. At the same time, most men are silent and don’t say a whole lot when it comes to gender based violence. And I’ve worked in some areas, trying to be kind of invitational, word of mouth, trying to get men involved. But I actually think we need to do more from a policy and a systemic framework on this stuff. So if violence against women is a systemic problem, which it is, that, requires a systemic response. And when I’m talking about changing policy, I’m talking about. So in all of our education settings, we should have mandated work, being done around masculinity and what it means to be a man, and talking about issues of violence and structural violence and all of it, right through, like, from elementary all the way into post secondary, or in our workplaces as well, too. I mean, patriarchy isn’t just interpersonal, gender based violence against women. It’s also that at, the top of most organizations, we find male identified people. We find that men are better paid than women in the workplace. Like, there’s all these areas that require sort of a systemic analysis and a systemic response. And then the one more thing that I would add to that is, and you might have heard me talk about this as well, too, I firmly believe we need more role models, more men who are willing to stand up and say, I have caused harm, and I’m willing to make some reparations, I did it. It was wrong, it hurt other people, and I’m willing to take the steps necessary to change. And that isn’t just an interpersonal violence, but I also mean leaders in our communities who make mistakes, mistakes and do things that cause harm to other people, actually legitimately taking responsibility for their behavior. Because how can we expect these men to take responsibility for their behavior when leaders in our communities make mistakes and they do everything possible to deny, deflect, minimize, justify all that stuff that we work on with men when we’re working, with them around their choices based on using violence.

Jenna Mayne: Yeah, you’re right. We’re sending complete opposite messages. Right? How are we going to expect someone to do that for themselves when they’re surrounded by a world that doesn’t do that? So it’s just, it’s not something you’re going to pick up on naturally. I also think it’s so interesting, going back to the story you shared for a second, like, it was interesting how that was such a pivotal moment for you. and I think it could be a pivotal moment for a lot of men having this window of accountability. I’m curious how you think we get there. Because it’s not something that can just happen, right? Men don’t just, out of the blue, take accountability. And that’s what some of this work that you’re doing in the engaging men program is all about. So I wonder if you could explain a little bit more about what that work actually looks like and how we, we get there.

Jude Oudshoorn: Yeah, I think for me, the overarching theme is that we need to not only get men to ask for help sooner, we have to make sure that that help is available, and we have to make sure that people aren’t being shamed when they’re coming to receive that help. Because shame is often at the root of why people are using violence in the first place. And if we’re going to tap into those windows of accountability, we have to make sure that we are receiving and welcoming men into, into that support. So in a second, I’ll say what that looks like in terms of the engaging men program, because I want to be really specific about it. But before getting to that, I just want to comment a little bit on some of the men that I’ve worked with in prison over time. I think that’s the most consistent theme that I’ve heard from men in those contexts, is that they wish they had gotten help sooner. And if I can, kind of even relate it to my own story in my own life, I mean, I don’t want to position myself in a way that I’m better than my dad, I’m any different than my dad. I’m certainly, as a human being, capable of using violence towards others in my relationships. I have just chosen not to. And then the one difference between my dad and I is that I reached out for help, when I was in my early thirties. So I was. I had just become a dad. I had been a dad for a couple of years. And one of the aspects of I absolutely adore and I love my children. And being a dad is the most wonderful thing. Wonderful, experience of my life. And temper tantrums were incredibly hard for me when I was a young dad. They were a significant trigger for me because they put me into a feeling of being out of control and overwhelmed. And I actually remember, and temper tantrums are normal. So when I share this story, this is nothing on my kids. This is everything to do with me. Temper, tantrums are actually a beautiful thing. If you can look at them that way, that kids are just processing, and it doesn’t feel beautiful when you’re a parent in the moment. But I very clearly remember one night, I would have been in my early thirties about 15 years ago, and one of my children was having a temper channel. Tantrum before bedtime, and his parents were worn out. We’re exhausted. We want our kids to get onto bed so we can have a few moments of quiet, that kind of thing. And one of my kids was having a temper tantrum. And it put me into this overwhelming state of. I can’t even describe it, almost fear. And I remember running downstairs from the upstairs in my house. I started punching myself as hard as I could in my own face. I ran out the front door of my house, and I just wanted to hurl myself into trap. And again, this had nothing to do with my children. My children are beautiful. They’re wonderful. Temperature rooms are normal. But it had everything to do with my own sort of traumatic experiences of feeling overwhelmed. I mean, one of my dad’s common lines was, don’t cry, or I’ll give you something to cry about. And he would. Every time we cried, we would get beaten for it. And so for me, then, I was a trigger is where trauma is being relived in the moment, even though it’s a past experience. Right? So I didn’t obviously hurl myself into traffic. I managed to calm down as I walked. But what I did the very next next day was I reached out for help. I phoned M for walk in counseling. I found out that there was walk in counseling in the community. The next week, I showed up there, and I did about six weeks of counseling with a therapist. And I discovered that talk therapy wasn’t going to work for me, and I needed more than that. So I went to a doctor, and I got medicated for depression and anxiety, and I’ve been taking medications ever since. And I’ve been doing therapy ever since as well, too. So long winded way of saying what I want to support in engaging men work is recognizing that we’re all human beings. We’re all capable of hurting each other. Sometimes we do hurt each other, but we need to have people who are courageous enough to ask for help. And then now we’ve got women’s crisis services, who has been incredibly courageous to create that place where men can actually get that help sooner. And so one of our primary areas of referrals now in that program is there’s an outreach worker who is contacting couples where there’s been two domestic violence calls to 911 in a two month period. And that outreach worker is offering service both to, let’s imagine a heterosexual relationship here. The woman who might have experienced, some form of violence, making sure there’s a safety plan, making sure the support’s necessary, but now we’re also offering support to the man as well, and asking, would you like to be healthier in your relationship? How can we support you with that? And then that’s where we help them tap into, a therapist or one of the therapists that can work with them.

Jenna Mayne: Great. Thank you so much for sharing that. Jude, you said a lot of things there that stuck out to me. First of all, the tantrums. I get it. I have a daughter. She’s, not two yet, 19 months old. And, we have tantrums a lot in this house. Right. I love her so much, but they happen and they can get to you. I appreciate you sharing that example, because I think it’s relatable to a lot of people. and I do think it’s important we talk about this and not be ashamed to share our experiences and our feelings with it, because I think we all have these feelings, and I think a lot of people are going through things that you went through. So I think we should just get it out there and talk about it and not be ashamed of it, because there’s nothing to be ashamed about. There’s things we can do. There’s things we can, ways we can make it better, and we’re not going to unless we talk about it. So I think it’s so important. I really love that you highlighted that for us. You also touched on the work that you do in prisons with men earlier when you were speaking. And I really appreciate you talking about the engaging men program. I’m wondering if you could also share a little bit about what the work you do in prisons with men looks like.

Jude Oudshoorn: So, for the past 15 years, I’ve worked as a restorative justice mediator and facilitator in the federal prison system. So, where safe and appropriate, bringing together for some form of contact, whether it’s a letter, a video exchange, a phone call, or even face to face in person dialogue. people who’ve been hurt with people who’ve caused harm. So for shorthand, a victim together with an offender. Now, this is a long, careful process, and there’s many people who initiate it, where it’s our job to assess and make sure it’s, whether or not it’s safe or suitable. So the shortest it takes is about usually a year of preparatory work and more likely between a year and two years. And in fact, I just had a case wrap up recently that took about, twelve years, all told, of bringing people together. So, as you might imagine, in the aftermath of serious, harm in the federal prison system. I’m talking about, about 50% of our cases in that work have to do with murder, about 25% sexual violence, and then 25% about other serious crimes that have taken place. Through that work. Though I have learned a lot about myself, and I’ve learned a lot about other people. I’ve learned a lot about responding to trauma and how to walk alongside people who’ve experienced trauma. And I’ve learned a lot about what accountability actually looks like. And since accountability is kind of the topic, I’ll focus more on that area. But I can certainly speak to some of what survivors need as well, if you’d like. One of the things about our current approaches to working with men is we have put most of our resources into the single basket of the criminal justice system. very simplistically, all the criminal justice system requires of a man is that they do their time. So does a person actually have to do any kind of rehabilitative programming? Do they actually have to be introspective? Do they have to think about the impacts on other people? No, not necessarily. Right. Of course, doing some programming could potentially help, and there are some but limited programs that are available, and it might help them get parole and out back out into the community a little bit sooner. fundamentally, all a person has to do is their time. And I’ve actually heard from, some of the men that I’ve worked with over time that doing your time is a lot easier than actually having to face the consequences of your behavior, face the people that you’ve hurt, understand the impacts of your behavior. and so what I’m actually interested in with restorative justice is, I wouldn’t call it true accountability, because it’s more complex than that. And we certainly need a system that contains and incapacitates people who are hell bent on hurting other people or hurting themselves. But what I’m interested in is that deeper accountability, I’m interested in meaningful change. I’m interested in making sure that there are no more victims, that we’re making sure that also that nobody’s disposable, and we’re willing to continue to work with people as long as they’re willing to continue to work with us. And so I’m actually looking for a deeper level of change. and of course, I mean, I already mentioned I do assess and I do screen, and there are certainly instances where we don’t bring people together for contact. It wouldn’t be safe or appropriate. And then more broadly, and again, we can get into this if you’re interested as well too, that, working inside of prisons and having been in most prisons in Ontario and many in the United States and Canada, I’ve also seen how that system tends to replicate some of the very dynamics we are challenging individual men to do different in. So it’s a system of power and control and dominance that dehumanizes, and we expect men to go live in that kind of a context and experience that, and then to come out the other side and to not use power and control and dominance in their relationship.

Jenna Mayne: Relationships, yeah, that is interesting. And actually, we had Jessica Hutchinson on the podcast a couple seasons ago, and we talked about this, and that’s what it’s making me think of. We had a really interesting conversation, and I think that is a really important piece. There. Something else that you said is, you know, you’re interested in making sure that there’s no more victims. So we’re really talking about prevention here. and I know prevention there can take many different forms and there’s different ways to look at it, but there’s really kind of three main stages of prevention that I’ve heard you talk about before, and I was wondering if you could elaborate a little bit on these.

Jude Oudshoorn: Sure. Yeah. So I sometimes talk, I mean, and this isn’t my language or terminology, but in sort of the prevention field, we talk about primary prevention, secondary prevention and tertiary prevention. So tertiary prevention is what I was just talking about, which is our prison system. Right. It’s responding to things after the fact. another good example of that is the partner assault response program. So the pars program, as they’re, they’re known. So those are programs that men are mandated in either by the police or the courts or probation to participate in in order to do some psycho educational work around, violence against women and children and understanding something better about the choices that they’ve made and how to be in healthy relationships. So that’s kind of the tertiary side. It’s after the fact. Obviously, we are always going to need those types of interventions. We’re never going to cure human beings of violence. I don’t think we have yet to see it in human history, but I suspect we’re always going to need that again. Unfortunately, when we put all of our eggs in the tertiary prevention basket, we tend to take away from what we could do earlier to get at root causes of addressing why people are doing things in the first place. So the next step back, the next level back, is more the secondary prevention. And that’s the work that we’re up to with the engaging men program, at least so far. And that is where we are trying to identify people at risk of using violence, or people who have used violence in relationships that are fairly committed to making change. Right. So I gave the one example already of the outreach worker contacting couples where there’s been two domestic violence calls. We’re also offering the service to people who have done the Par program. So again, that’s the partner assault response program. Now, it’s a little bit less secondary prevention, but a little bit more tertiary prevention, because violence has happened at that point in time. At the same time, what we know outcomes related to what we call batterer intervention programs like the PAR program, is that at their best, they are successful in sort of turning away one in five men from perpetrating violence in the future. So, that’s an approximation based on meta analyses of the research that I’ve looked into. So that’s not great. That’s not meaningless either. I think it’s really important that we want as many people as possible not to use violence. But what we know, though, about the, batterer intervention programs is, and I’ve been hearing this for decades in this work, is that they’re one size fits all approaches. People use violence for different reasons, yet we lump everybody into the same basket, give them the same type of educational experience. What men often need more is that individual therapeutic approach that helps them connect the dots between the education that they’ve had and their own life. Because often these men have stories of trauma as well themselves. Right. We know that 70% of men who perpetrate violence in domestic violence relationships either experienced it or witnessed it growing up. And so we know there’s a correlation there. And, in the educational, the par programs, it’s not that we don’t want men to be introspective and think about their pains, but we’ve often looked at that is them minimizing or rationalizing or explaining away their own violence by using their own stories. But I think the therapeutic process with men allows us to be more complicated than that. Still, the emphasis is accountability and better relationships. At the same time, it’s pretty hard for men to think clearly about who they are and the choices they’re making in their relationships if they’re also still acting out of their own traumas. And so we need to do some trauma therapy words. So it’s kind of balancing support with accountability. So that’s a little bit more about the engaging men. It’s kind of at the secondary prevention, primary prevention is kind of a step back further, which would be more about how do we raise men and boys in our communities so that they don’t use violence in relationships, so that there are no more victims. And so this is where we don’t have a whole lot of examples. There’s some programs in the community that, try and talk to men around healthy masculinity and what healthy masculinity looks like. So that’s a part of it. But going further back to your question earlier, I really think we. We do have to do that more of a systemic way, rather than just inviting individual men to reflect on their masculinity.

Jenna Mayne: Yeah, I think so, too. And it’s interesting when you say, you know, it’s more complicated than that. And I think we can be more complicated than that with our approach. I just love that because I think this is a really complicated, thing we’re talking about here. You know, it’s not easy to solve domestic violence. Like you said, we’re sadly, probably not going to have a world free from violence very soon. And I do recognize when I’m saying that, that our vision statement at women’s crisis services as a community free from violence. And we always say, you know, our ultimate goal is to work ourselves out of a job. But sadly, it’s not going to happen anytime soon. But I do think. I do feel hopeful when we’re talking about prevention initiatives like this because I really do think we’re getting closer. I know there’s still kind of a big, mountain there to climb, but I think we are kind of working our way up it. But I’m curious what you think. I mean, I was listening to a CBC interview. You were talking to Craig Norris, and it was from nine years ago, actually. And, when I was listening to it, I was thinking, oh, how funny. Craig is asking Jude a lot of the same questions that I want to ask him and talk to him about. Just got thinking about it and thinking, you know, I wonder what Jude thinks about what it’s like to do that interview nine years ago and then what’s it like to do it now? And if you don’t mind me asking. I’m just curious, you know, how do you think things have changed? Do you see it going in a better direction?

Jude Oudshoorn: Not yet. Maybe. Maybe a little bit. I mean, I think in a lot of ways, we haven’t changed a whole lot as a community when we’re talking about ten years later. And you’re right, I was speaking about the same themes back then. And I think we’ll be speaking about the same themes for a while. What has shifted for me, though, and this feels really significant. And one of the reasons I’m so excited about what women crisis services is up to is that you’re the ones now that have said, enough is enough. We need to move upstream. We’re never going to get at, addressing these issues unless we actually get to the root of this violence. So this is stuff again, that people have been saying for years and years and years. And I find it, isn’t it always the people who are most affected by a social issue? They’re the ones that step up and advocate, for the change and make the change. I kind of feel like that’s what women crisis services is doing. Like, for decades, you’ve been supporting some, of our most vulnerable community members who’ve experienced horrific traumas and abuse, and now here you are once again stepping up and saying, let’s get at the root cause if we actually want to make change, if we want no more victims. So that’s one thing I certainly. I think the implementation of this kind of program is really unique. I haven’t seen it done the other thing, too. And I think this is also kudos to you and other, feminist based organizations locally that have allowed us to actually name intimate partner violence as an epidemic. So I didn’t hear that kind of language at the political level ten years ago. So that’s really important for me. What remains to be seen now is where do we invest our resources as a community? What hasn’t changed in the past ten years, as we continue to put more and more money into police, courts and corrections, that hasn’t changed. And I think at some point in time, we have to recognize that by putting all of our resources in the tertiary prevention basket, not only are we taking money away from what we could do upstream, upstream, hopefully, like the idea is prevention, we want to end this, this thing called violence. And the other thing is when you put all of your money in tertiary prevention, you’re basically accepting that violence is inevitable. And I refuse to accept that violence is inevitable, even as much as that cynical part of me has said, I, will probably always have it. That doesn’t mean I’m going to accept it. It doesn’t mean that I don’t want to go earlier in people’s lives and help them live meaningful lives so they don’t hurt other people and they live a more meaningful life themselves. In fact, that’s the other thing I hear from men in prison is. Most of them are incredibly, incredibly lonely now. They have hurt so many people along the way over time, for so many years that people don’t want anything to do with them. And why would they? Right? Again, that’s not on us at that point in time. That’s something they have to live with. And is that. That loneliness? So part of it for me is I actually want people to live meaningful lives. I want people to be in good relationships. I don’t want any more violence. And so that’s why, I think at this moment in time, we’re at a kind of a critical juncture where we’ve named intimate partner violence as an epidemic. We actually have the emergence now of a secondary prevention program. And I’m curious to see, is the community going to go a step further and do more of that primary prevention work in a systematic way.

Jenna Mayne: Thank you. Yeah, I hope so, too. I know it’s sad to think a lot hasn’t changed, but I do think we are starting to see, you know, little glimmers of hope. And I feel like we have to hold on to them, or else those who do this work, you know, you just. You start to get a little down. So, yes, you gotta. You gotta look for the good, even though it’s hard.

Jude Oudshoorn: It is. It is, dude.

Jenna Mayne: I also wanted to ask you something. We always ask guests on the podcast is, how can we be better neighbours? Those experiencing domestic violence. That’s a big part of what we’re trying to do here by talking about it. And the whole point of she is your neighbour is it’s happening to people in neighbourhoods all around us, whether you know it or not. So I do want to ask you how you think we can be better neighbours to men, too.

Jude Oudshoorn: It’s a great question. I think we need to tune into each other, right? And pay attention to each other and notice things about what’s happening with our friends. If we’re seeing something that’s a little bit off, we should trust our instincts and ask some questions about it. Right? It actually reminds me of my own story, this question. And then I’ll add a few more details to. To your question, specifically of what we can do. A couple years ago, just before my nana passed away, this is my mom’s mom, she said to me, and I remember I met with her in the seniors residence where she was living, and we never, ever really talked about deep, personal things. That’s just kind of the way she was. I loved her. I adored her. She was a bit of a cheerleader for me and that kind of thing, which I really appreciated. And we didn’t talk, like, deeply personal about our lives and traumas, but she said to me, she’s like, you know, we knew what was going on in your home, and we didn’t do anything about it because we were scared we would lose you. And it took me. I still don’t know if I fully understand, like, what that means to me. I don’t feel any judgment for my nana about that. I think we all make choices constrained by, like, whatever our experiences are or what we’re seeing. And at the same time, I wonder, like, what would have happened if Nana had had the courage to speak up and say something about what was going on. Would that have made a difference now? I mean, I can’t play the speculative game, and she didn’t do that. So I kind of think maybe it wouldn’t have made things any better. They were the way that they are. at the same time, for me, in the work that I do, I encourage people to, I mean, not intervene and do things against people’s will, but to believe people when they share things, to ask them about how they’re doing, to ask them what they need, to trust them that they know what’s best. And I apply this to my nana as well, too. I trust that she knew what was best in that circumstance, and her lack of speaking up in that circumstance was the right decision, and I’m okay with that. Right. at the same time, there might be other circumstances where survivors actually do want us to say something. They do want us to speak up and to notice something. Right. Beyond that, I think there’s many things we can do. I mean, my partner and I have just recently signed up for monthly donations to women’s crisis services. And I think we need more people giving to the work financially, to support women’s crisis services in the work that you’re doing there. we need more men who are willing to, stand up and speak out on this issue to get involved. We need more men in their peer groups who are willing to engage other guys when it comes to the way that they talk about women. I mean, I grew up in playing sports, and I’ve heard what the locker room talks about, and I was pretty silent along the way with a lot of that stuff. And I think it would have been much better if I had been able to speak out, because what we know about domestic violence is it’s correlated, and it’s mediated by the conversations that men are having with other men about how women are objectified and that sort of thing. So I think part of, recognizing that she is your neighbour is that men need to learn to, speak up and tell each other what’s okay and what’s not okay to talk about. we certainly need that silent group of men to get meaningfully engaged, to, be looking out for their neighbours.

Jenna Mayne: Thank you, Jude. I’m so excited you could be here today, and I’ve just been so excited to have this conversation. I think it’s so important, and I think we’re not bringing men into this conversation. How are we going to make any change and make this any better? So I think it’s just such an important conversation to have, and I’m so glad you could be here to speak with me about it today. So thank you so much.

Jude Oudshoorn: Thank you very much, Jenna. I’m truly, truly honored to be a part of this. I really appreciate the work that you’re doing with she is your neighbour and the way that you’re having these conversations, I think to me, this is a part of exactly what you’re asking about, about raising this topic so that it’s not a topic that’s in the shadows anymore. So thank. Thank you.

Jenna Mayne: That wraps up this week’s show, but the conversation is far from over. We want to hear what you think. Use the hashtag hash sheisyournebour on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, or Twitter and join in the conversation.

We all have a role to play in ending domestic violence.

keep in the loop

subscribe to podcast updates

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

get involved

what's next?

get involved

We encourage you to get involved! Read a blog story, tune into the podcast, start conversations, and use the hashtag #SheIsYourNeighbour. We can’t do this without you! We all have a role to play in ending domestic violence.

keep in the loop

subscribe to podcast

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.