Anna Leask is senior police reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

'Male privilege' drives abuse

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Violence by men against women is the most serious issue we face in New Zealand when it comes to family harm.

On average, about 72 per cent of family violence incidents and 78 per cent of partner homicides are perpetrated by men.

Yes, there are women who abuse and batter their partners and children, but the figures show that New Zealand's most significant family violence issue is men hurting women.

The hurt is not just physical. Women are being bullied, tormented, controlled, and emotionally, psychologically and sexually abused.

It is thought that about half of all Kiwi women will experience some form of non-violent abuse by a partner in their lifetime.

So who are the men behind the pain and suffering?

They are professionals and beneficiaries. They are rich and poor. They are European, Maori, Pacific Island, Asian, Middle Eastern. They are of all ages.

They come from every social, cultural, ethnic and economic background.

They could be your brother, your mate, your workmate or boss, your team captain, your lawyer or accountant, the guy on TV, the high-profile sports star.

According to the National Network of Stopping Violence, most men who hurt their partners and families do not want to behave that way.

They use violence for "short-term gains" including controlling people and situations and, essentially, getting their own way.

The NNSV said men often used a sense of entitlement or superiority to justify their use of violence.

They think they are the "king of the castle" or "the boss", and anyone who challenges that is seen as a threat.

A big part of violence towards women in New Zealand was male privilege, said the NNSV.

A sense of entitlement and superiority can be used by men to justify violent and controlling behaviour in their homes and towards their wives, partners, exes and kids.

They see women and children as "less than", objects or owned possessions under their complete control.

Help for men:

- If you are experiencing or witnessing violence, or want to change your own behaviour, you can ask for help.

- Call the It's Not OK information line - 0800 456 450.

- Shine runs a No Excuses stopping-violence programme for men. Call 0508 744 633.

- See the National Network of Stopping Violence website

- The Man-Up programme runs at Destiny Church on the corner of Pukaki and TutanekaiSts every Tuesday at 7pm.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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