During the Surrey training event, we heard an emotional testimonial from White Ribbon Ambassadors, Ryan and Luke Hart about the tragic death of their mother and sister at the hands of their father, and the subsequent biased media response.
They have released a book about their journey and unique perspective on male violence against women and girls. White Ribbon UK founder, Chris Green OBE, has contributed to the book which is available on Amazon.
Words: Luke Hart
Two years ago our father killed our mother, Claire (50), and our little sister, Charlotte (19), with a sawn-off shotgun before killing himself. This followed nearly three decades of controlling and coercive behaviour and was only four days after my younger brother Ryan, 25 at the time and I, 26, had raised enough money to break our mother and sister from the family home and relocate them to a small rental house five miles away.
We then witnessed a media commentary quoting those that ‘knew our father’ describing him as ‘a good man’, ‘always caring’ and ‘good at DIY’. One report even said that the murders were ‘understandable’.
Following the murders, we began to see the true misogyny which plagues our society. If women’s lives become inconvenient then the collective moral framework is simply reworked to allow the men to remain ‘good men’, even in spite of unprovoked murder. This is setting a very low bar for men indeed; in fact, by that logic it’s hard to think of how a man could possibly ever score below par. Society frequently and preferentially blames weapons for murders, short skirts for rape, or alcohol for assault. Anything but the agency of the man responsible.
Why then does society think that men kill? It appeared that often it’s ‘difficult childhoods’, or ‘uncontrollable male emotions’ or ‘provocation by the victim’. Yet, women live in the same world and we do not see dead men piling up at the hands of women. Men kill because they can, because we will shift the rules of the game to account for male actions. It appears that society will forever degrade women to explain male actions.
We now both speak out against male violence and the biased misogynistic perspective prevalent in our society. We first came into contact with White Ribbon when we were talking about our experiences of domestic abuse to Surrey Police to help educate officers to understand the reality of domestic abuse and its complexity. We immediately knew White Ribbon was an organisation that represented our convictions and one that we aspired to represent. We met White Ribbon founder, Chris Green OBE at a training event for White Ribbon Ambassadors in Surrey. We were infected with his energy and were in admiration of his purpose. Our pledge that day was to release our book to ensure we challenge the beliefs which lead to male abuse and violence against women and girls. We are very grateful for Chris’ support and contribution to the book. His prestige has helped to amplify our voices as we seek to amplify those of victims of domestic abuse everywhere.
Our book, Operation Lighthouse, is available on Amazon now. We hope that it can inspire other White Ribbon ambassadors and continue the great work of the White Ribbon movement.