Qld Police Commissioner Ian Stewart, Centre Director Prof. Melissa Bull, Prof. James Messerschmidt, Belinda Cox, Assoc. Prof. Michael Flood
The #MeToo movement has drawn national and global attention to the problems of sexual harassment and abuse. A recent, popular public event at the Queensland University of Technology explored the #MeToo campaign, how women and men have responded to it, and the roles that men can play in building a community free of sexual violence and abuse.
The public event, titled “Reflections on Women, Men, Sexual Violence, and #MeToo”, examined the promise and pitfalls of current efforts to end sexual violence, and the role of men in sexual violence prevention. The buzz of conversation during and after the event was a clear sign that it had prompted thought and reflection.
Two leading international experts presented to the 90 or so researchers, professionals, and community members in attendance. James W. Messerschmidt is a Distinguished University Professor of Sociology at the University of Southern Maine, USA, author of the recent book Hegemonic Masculinity, and an Adjunct Professor at QUT’s School of Justice, and the event was timed to take advantage of his visit to QUT. Dr Michael Flood is an Associate Professor at QUT and author of Engaging Men and Boys in Violence Prevention. The event was chaired by Belinda Cox, a longstanding domestic violence advocate.
Attendees at the event included Police Commissioner Ian Stewart, Deputy Commissioner Michael Wassing of the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, Professor Belinda Carpenter, Assistance Dean (Research) in the QUT Faculty of Law, and a host of others.
There was lively discussion after Messerschmidt’s and Flood’s presentations. Some participants took up Messerschmidt’s assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the #MeToo campaign. They asked: does #MeToo include the experiences of women beyond the white, wealthy Hollywood celebrities on whom the media has focused? Will the campaign lead to real social change? Other participants asked about the challenges of engaging men in positive change. What role can fathers play in encouraging non-violent futures for their sons and daughters? How do we make sure that women’s voices continue to be heard? And, above all, how can we encourage well-meaning men to take part in working for change?