“I really believe that violence is a weak man trying to express himself forcibly.
He’s weak in character, he’s weak in judgement, he’s weak in social skills and he has no other way to express himself but through this” – Pat Mesiti
Flashback – Pat Mesiti interview published May 12, 2015
Pat Mesiti:Good afternoon Barry, thanks for having us on the program.
Interview host:Can you describe some of the first-hand effects that you’ve seen as a result of violence towards women?
Mesiti:Look, one of the first-hand evidences that I’ve seen is obviously a break-down in family. I think one of the second things is terrorised children. And thirdly is the total batteredness of a woman. I think these are three incredibly tragic things in our society now is coping with .. and look .. I’ve seen that first-hand even in my own life, having been brought up in a house where there was a lot of domestic violence. It’s absolutely like living with a terrorist really.
Host:Are we seeing more of it now or is it just a problem that’s always been there that’s just more evident now?
Mesiti:Look, I think it’s a problem that’s always been there but of course, today, I think our culture Barry is becoming more and more de-sensitised unfortunately and values that we held dear to are no longer important. I mean, values like respect for a fellow human being. It seems everything, when we look around our culture today is a de-sensitisation in it. Obviously media, games and the whole yobbo mentality, especially in our culture is really bringing these things or escalating them. I mean, they’ve always been there but there seems to be an escalation of it in my opinion in these days.
Host:My guest, Pat Mesiti, mindset expert and troubled youth counsellor at Teen Challenge. Are we getting any closer to getting at what is at the base to the anger that is driving this violence against women?
Mesiti:It’s almost like, how long is a piece of string? Sometimes it’s not even anger, it’s just guys, they could lose a football game, or on a day like the Melbourne Cup. I know we celebrate Melbourne Cup and all these things but, I mean, for example in New Zealand, the domestic violence situation when the rugby match .. the All Blacks when they lose .. ridiculous .. it’s out of control. And, of course, you can’t ban sporting games, but you’ve got to teach people basically respect another human being. And also, alcohol, drugs, these things just don’t help the situation at all. And again, we’re not telling people to have a drink, or that, but when it comes to drugs I believe we should have a zero-tolerance policy, but for goodness sake, get yourself under control. I really believe that violence is a weak man trying to express himself forcibly. He’s weak in character, he’s weak in judgement, he’s weak in social skills and he has no other way to express himself but through this. And I’ll cite him. Toughening up some of the laws. I just have a situation myself right now, a lady who’s been terrorised by someone, by a male in her life. She’s had to leave town and the courts did absolutely nothing. Nothing. Even though photographic evidence showed the violence, they did not a thing. They let him go.
Host:Where do you begin if you’re trying to change someone’s behaviour who is violent? Where do you begin?
Mesiti:I think firstly if you want to change someone’s behaviour they need to acknowledge their behaviour is wrong. That’s the first thing. It’s their responsibility. Same when I worked with kids on drugs. If they didn’t think what they were doing was destroying them, they would never get help. So they’ve got to acknowledge it. I think secondly, what we’ve got to do is really learn to penalise these things stronger. I’ll give you an example. Just a little example between us New South Wales and Queensland people. When Paul Gallen threw that punch at Nate Myles there was an uproar. Consequently, if you throw a first punch, you get sent off. How many guys have thrown a punch and been sent off since then? Hardly any. A push and shove, but they know, ‘I break that rule, I’m sent off and I’m gonna be dealt with’. Today the courts don’t do that and so they’re not protecting women, they’re not protecting children, they’re protecting offenders. And I think that has to be there to be a deterrent.
Host:So what’s the solution? Jail more offenders?
Mesiti:Well, I certainly think it wouldn’t … I don’t know whether it’s a matter of jailing them but there can be fines, there can be punishment. There’s a whole bunch of things we could do. Secondly, I think people with help, need to be reported and made to go and get help. You know, go and get help. The courts should force them to get help. Otherwise, you’re a ticking time bomb. I think that’s a second thing we could do. Force them to get help. And report these incidents as soon as they happen. Unfortunately, women are secretive by nature and so they hold things close to their heart. And so they suffer in silence. It’s important to report these incidences and the offenders.
Host:Let’s hope something gets done. Pat Mesiti, we’ll leave you there. Thank you for chatting with us.
Mesiti:Thanks so much.