Our Social Response – November 2017, Sydney

A snapshot from ‘Creating Conversations Day’ hosted by Domestic Violence Service Management Sightlines Team with Dr Linda Coates and Dr Allan Wade.
Digital Facilitation by Gavin Blake and Videography by Clay Fisher.


Video: Introduction to Creating Conversations Day (5 mins) | PDF: Creating Conversations Kit


Video: Contextual Analysis (12 mins) | PDF: Creating Conversations Card 01 – Contextual Analysis

“Important to stress that everyone in this room is in these bubbles. We are all there – some of us in multiple bubbles. You know what I mean… probably most of us. So, it includes everybody. In this kind of a map we all have a place, we all have a role, we all have a part. Whether we want to take it up consciously or not.” Dr Allan Wade

“So that kind of great news, especially in the area of violence. Often people have this idea – ‘How do we stop a perpetrator of violence when we are not even there?’ Whereas what we are actually saying is ‘It doesn’t matter where you are in these bubbles, we all have a role, we can all do something, we can all do something in fact to make things substantially better.” Dr Linda Coates

“All of us, all the time, are engaged in seeking and providing responses to other people. That’s just inherent in life. Within the first 48hrs of birth infants and mothers are taking turns – we are learning reciprocity right away….we are always engaged with one another giving one another meaning. In other words, the suffering of human beings is always mediated through the responses of others. It is never individual.” Dr Allan Wade

“How people respond to offenders is more often than not about the social context than is a matter of personality, or traits. People are dealing with a geographical, cultural, social reality all the time, and that,  if you’re trying to understand how a person committed violence or how a person responded to violence – you need to get into that level of detail.” Dr Allan Wade


Video: Dignity (10 mins) | PDF: Creating Conversations Card 02 – Dignity

“All forms of violence are an affront to a person’s dignity, and for many people they will say the humiliation is the worst part….” Dr Allan Wade

“Perpetrators know the force of humiliation. So one of the first guiding principles if we are ever intervening in cases of violence is how do we uphold the dignity of this person… so that includes offering choice, making safety….etc. Trying to learn what people already know, feel, believe and do.. their existing competencies… rather than jumping in with giving advice for example….” Dr Allan Wade

“One of the most common forms of resistance is feigned (pretended) obedience.” Dr Allan Wade

“Children are actors, they are not merely clay moulded by adults.” Dr Allan Wade


Video: Social (21 mins) | PDF: Creating Conversations Card 03 – Violence is Social

“So what we are talking about here is to understand violence you can’t just look at one person. You can’t look at the victim and go – ‘Oh, violence has happened because she is deficient. She is passive, she is screwed up. She is belligerent. Or something like that – in other words ‘she deserves to be beaten’… and you can’t just look at the perpetrator in isolation. You’ve got to look much, much more socially.” Dr Linda Coates

“The resistance of the victim is part of the ‘fact-pattern’. We are not just re-framing and trying to be you know ‘positive’ here, people do actually resist violence. Resistance to violence is as real as violence.” Dr Allan Wade

“It is not at all uncommon that people being raped and beaten, that they respond in a way not only to resist the attacker but to protect other people around them. Tiny children do that.”  Dr Allan Wade


Video: Responses (12 mins) | PDF: Creating Conversations Card 04 – Responses

“It’s important when we are trying to understand emotions that we understand them in context and not out of context.” Dr Linda Coates

“The perpetrator’s history is the history of violence. The victim’s history is the history of resistance (not trauma – that’s different).” Dr Allan Wade

“Emotion is more like a walk in the park than it is like indigestion. The emotions are activities of a person, right? They are not biological events triggered inside of a person – they are relational, they are contextual.” Dr Allan Wade 

“And so in fact, emotions can be more understood as a moral and ethical response.” Dr Linda Coates

“What a person despairs against, tells you what they hope for. Despair is protest. Not illness.” Dr Allan Wade


Video: Language (7 mins) | PDF: Creating Conversations Card 05 – Language

“Language is inseparable from ourselves, as a community of human beings with a separate form and character, a specific history, a specific relationship to the world.” Dr Allan Wade

“Violence, of course necessarily involves the application of force against the will and wellbeing of another person.” Dr Linda Coates

“We need to spend a little bit of time working out what is a mutual social interaction and what is a unilateral social interaction… violence is a unilateral action.” Dr Linda Coates


Video: Language – A Case Study (7 mins)

“Yet… the term ‘abusive relationship’ implies a mutuality there…. it implies you’re being abusive, the other person is being abusive, you’re being abusive together…. so it’s really important that we clarify terms like that.” Dr Linda Coates


Video: Consent versus Violence (8 mins) | PDF: Creating Conversations Card 06 – Consent vs Violence

“It’s really ironic, really problematic and really troubling, that in other contexts we are so good at understanding when that ‘moment by moment’ collaboration has been changed, and now it’s just a unilateral activity, and yet we pretend that we don’t know how to do this when a sexual act gets hijacked and turned to an act of violence. Of course we know. And these are the types of things we have to hold when we are trying to describe the acts in question.” Dr Linda Coates

“If you hit someone on the head with a frying pan you don’t call it cooking.” Dr Allan Wade


Video: Victim Blaming (19mins) | PDF: Creating Conversations Card 07 – Victim Blaming

“The more we change the language, the more we move from the facts, the more we change from what has happened.” Dr Allan Wade

“The problem we have here is transforming the ‘perpetrator into a victim’ of circumstances of ‘forces he cannot understand or control’, and transforming the victim into a ‘perpetrator of her own misfortunes’…” Dr Allan Wade

“….The problem we have here is as soon as it is made ‘mutual’ the deliberation of it, and the severity of the action is taken away. Because now what happens very quickly is that the ‘argument is the perpetrator’, not the perpetrator (person)…. so the ‘argument’ caused the assault…and then when you have done all that, you can start ‘mutualising’ even further and start talking about this as a ‘marital problem’. Because if it’s a ‘mutual argument’, then marriage is also ‘mutual’ and then you can bolster up the ‘mutually’ here by calling it a ‘marital problem’.” Dr Linda Coates & Dr Allan Wade