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Can We Talk by Toby Butler

Men in the United Kingdom face many difficulties, but also many opportunities. Gone are the days where men are pigeon holed into acting a certain way, due to the diversity of belief and culture on our shores. For example, it has become more socially acceptable for Dads to be stay at home parents, particularly within the predominantly white middle class, gone are the days where single stereotypes fully dominate, for example you can be a poet and a huge football fan, and long gone are the days that a majority of men open up willingly to matters of the heart, if this were ever true.
What does exist clearly are big repeated messages, such as to be masculine is to have control and power in whatever context. I was made redundant recently, and it was hard for many reasons, but the primary one was that another person had control over what happened to me. I was helpless however good I was at the job. I had no power, no control, and that challenged my own perception of masculinity. I want to provide for my family. I want to say I am successful down the pub. I want to feel like I have power in a situation. These feelings are not bad in themselves, but learning to channel and nurture them well is essential. I know my temper well enough that I must speak how I feel or the steam train comes quick. Often that steam train will be directed at those who love me mosI have many different types of male friends. Some atheists, some fire-breathing Christians, some agnostics, some lower-middle class, some very wealthy and some very middle class. Whatever label one assigns to a friend, there have always been three defining factors when considering someone a close friend or not. Openness, vulnerability and honesty. I struggle to act out these factors sometimes, and I have certainly spent swathes of my existence hidden. For example, I have always struggled with the temptations of porn, with gossip and with not believing in myself. This is a side I am very good at shoving down the sofa, even though it manifests in different ways, such as running away from a challenge, lustful thoughts and speaking ill of others. I wrote the song called ‘Can We Talk’  for the Dwell Project, which is a phenomenal charity preventing domestic violence against women. (Watch this video to hear it.) 

 

 

As much as my instinct would be to give every woman a good-hearted terminator security guard, I sense that peace and transparency always wins, in every occasion, even if it comes with short-term costs. Our judicial system is set up in this way. If a murderer pleads guilty, then the charges are less. If the murderer shows signs of remorse, this is also taken into consideration. I write and ‘spit’ poetry intending to connect to the heart of an individual, and usually in the process get changed myself, as I want to be an example of a transparent heart. Here is a lyric from the single:

We know its pride when men don’t talk 

We tell the world we feel cheese when we‘re just chalk 

Inner voice speaks to us plus we trust thoughts 

Suicide rates through the roof chimney falls off

Men must talk.
When we speak out how we feel, it breaks an inner chain of cold steel silence. The darkness wants us hidden, whereas freedom calls for us to speak out! Silence always loses; a voice always triumphs, even in the shadows. Talking to each other gives a window for us to redeem ourselves through our honesty. Here are a few more lyrics from the track:

Company will define you 

Intimacy/ into me see/ come on shine through

You once desired truth/but now you hire suits

Pouring gasoline on your dreams like they fire proof

The company we keep can easily define us, and there is no worse company than only ourselves. Men are made to be connected to reality, we are designed from our core outwards to be alive to others and we were created for much more than staring at screens and smacking other beings. There is such healing in telling others what is going on in our hearts. Truth will set you free. My wife knows me better than anyone, and she knows my struggles left, right and centre, but the incredible thing is, when she sees me prevail over my inner pain she can see the work of victorious light shining through me. This in turn gives her permission to do the same, and vice versa. Final piece of lyric:

The saddest thing for me is watching all your art go 

Part you, part fake, part half fast show

But I ain’t laughing at your silence as we pass bro

It’s good for men to talk so we can both pen our chart growth

It deeply saddens me that domestic violence is so prevalent in our society. I intend to never abuse or physically hurt my wife, but I know that one of the key ways this will never happen is if I allow male friends into my life. Legends are made from vulnerable men. This doesn’t mean we have to cry and cuddle, but it means I must not lie, and I must be open to what is going on in myself and share vulnerably. Fear is silencing, whereas truth is deafening. It’s time to speak to someone, as they may need to speak to someone too. Play your part in preventing domestic violence, by killing it in yourself. In an age of endless cyber connection, lets make sure our hearts are eternally connected to another, and the fruit will not be Apple’s growth, but Adam’s nourishment and flourishing.
Bless you all
Toby
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Words that Change your World

I love to read & I love words. I love that words can convey powerfully our love for each other. I love that words can express our inner deepest thoughts just by using a few of them. I love that words in a card or letter can encourage & inspire & change a person’s day. I love words therefore I love to read.

I have hated words & I have loved them. I hope I have made them right - The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Sometimes our words are not loving, not made right, but they are just as powerful in a negative way. They can destroy a person in their inner being, in their soul. When words are used in this way they are abusive & the person using them becomes a perpetrator of abuse. The person on the receiving end of these words can be rejected, brought down, begins to doubt themselves & their own worth. Words repeated again & again have more & more power to destroy the person they were aimed at to the point that the person dies inside. Because the results of words are not physical or visual we can underestimate the power of our negative destructive words.

The words I am speaking to you are spirit & life – Jesus (Jn 6:63b)

 

 

The good news is words can also bring life. My husband often says: “I love you”, “You are funny” & “You bring joy into my life”. These words are life giving to me. These are powerful words he says that I receive into my soul & they lift me up & give me life in the sense that I’m energized & encouraged & empowered by these words to be me. What are the words that give you life? What are the words you say to people around you that give you life? What about the destructive words are there people who say these to you often?

You choose death or life in your words. 

 

What can I do to Help? 

1) Share our #NametheAbuse videos on Youtube

2) Contact us to book a Dwell workshop

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Frocktober 2014: You can help prevent domestic violence!!!

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What is Frocktober?

Last year we ran a campaign called Frocktober on Facebook with the aim to raise awareness about domestic violence everyday throughout October with a selfie and the truth about domestic violence. Many of you were responsive to it & said you learned more about the truth of domestic violence. So we’re doing it again and we want to involve Christian and Muslim women. Each day of October 2014 we will post a different picture of a Christian or Muslim woman who wants to speak out about domestic violence with information about the myths & how to prevent it happening to you, your sisters & friends & colleagues. And where to go for help.

Why Frocktober?

Frocktober is not just about the dress, it’s about empowering women. Empowering each other to speak out about domestic violence. A devastating experience that 1 in 3 of us will experience in our lives.An experience that ends in death for at least 2 women a week! It’s about saying we will no longer be silent about the violence against women we hear about, we see and experience in our homes and communities.
When women all say together we stand against domestic violence, women of different ages, ethnic groups and faiths then we are stronger. Each one of us counts and together we are stronger. We are stronger because our voice is louder than the voice of one. The power of the group empowers the ones and twos.
The world today is full of violence, division, and separation but the holy grail of female empowerment is the idea that when women support each other, we’ll all become stronger and more liberated to make our way in the world.
Join us, share your voice and speak with us louder and stronger against domestic violence.

How to join the campaign?

Start by following these simple steps:
Step 1: Click & print this document all women
Step 2: Take a selfie whilst holding the piece of paper
Step 3: Email it to thedwellproject@gmail.com
Step 4: Like our Facebook page & follow us on Twitter to follow the campaign
NB: The pictures you send to us will be posted on facebook and twitter throughout October and be printed out as part of an exhibition which we will be running around the UK.
For more information get in touch with The Dwell Project at thedwellproject@gmail.com

 

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