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Anti-violence experts stopping by

An anti-violence movement called She Is Not Your Rehab [SINYR] is making its way to Masterton next week, sparking conversation surrounding intergenerational trauma and abuse.

On the agenda is a presentation at Mākoura College, a free-speaking engagement that’s open to the public, and a training workshop with a team working on the frontline with the Family Violence Network.

One of the movement’s founders, Matt Brown, survived his own experience of childhood trauma.

After opening a barbershop and offering other men a safe space to talk, Brown used what he’d learnt to start a global anti-violence movement with his wife, Sarah Brown.

Mike Thomson, a Wairarapa family violence network coordinator based with Changeability, said he hopes the session will teach people who are struggling that there is help – and hope.

“From our experience and what we do here at Changeability, there’s a number of people who will self-refer, otherwise, we have quite a few come in through the courts,” Thomson said.

“So they know things can change, people will be there to help support them, and there are some fantastic people and a variety of agencies here in Wairarapa.”

Thompson said that listening to people like Brown, who have had their own personal history of trauma, can help people change their own narratives.

“They can see someone who’s gone through that and flipped it around – not be hurting other people but trying to help people.”

Those who attend the public session can expect to hear about Brown’s journey and see options for local support networks.

Matt Brown speaking about how he has moved beyond his experience of childhood trauma.

“It’s not about saying, ‘You’re a bad person because you’ve done this’, it’s just trying to get people to look at how they can make a change and improve themselves,” Thomson said.

“Trying to get people to have a different perspective, to learn new tools so they can cope better in situations they find stressful.”

Thomson said conversations on intergenerational abuse can help people who’ve dealt with parents who operated in a certain way.

“It trickles down habits to children who don’t learn any alternative behaviour,” Thomson said.

“That’s the only way they know.”

Matt and Sarah Brown will be speaking next Monday evening at the Copthorne Solway, an event that will also feature koha haircuts from FadeAway Barbers.

The couple will also be speaking at Mākoura College, which Thomson said is an attempt to convey healthy thought patterns and strategies to youth.

Mākoura College has run anti-violence campaigns like White Ribbon Day, but deputy principal Dan Hrstich said this type of speaker will be a first for the students.

“To have someone come along and speak, who has set up a movement like She Is Not Your Rehab is very cool,” Hrstich said.

“Wairarapa has a high rate of domestic violence, and my hope is if it’s triggering for some, that the school has ways of looking after them and talking about it rather than hiding in the darkness.”

Hrstich said support mechanisms such as the school’s guidance counsellor and staff from Changeability will help reinforce the presence of support to students.

“We’re not looking to shame or blame,” Hrstich said.

“This is not coming from a place of judgement. It’s coming from a place saying, ‘This is what’s healthy, this is how we should treat each other with respect’.”

Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age, originally hailing from Wellington. She is interested in social issues and writes about the local arts and culture scene.

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