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TGBC & International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

November 25 is host to the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and we marked the occasion with a very special meeting of Tough Guy Book Club.

Tough Guy Book Club’s mission is to have men read more, talk more, and make more friends.

Where this mission takes place is in a scattering of pubs dotted around the world that play host to some big rowdy conversations about big important issues.

One of the biggest we’ve got to talk about is that of violence against women and the experience of women who face this scourge the world over, daily.

A difficult, necessary conversation

For this special TGBC meeting on November 25, Goons were encouraged to invite an important woman in their life to come along.

The evening followed the same format as our tried-and-tested monthly meetings, but this time with the welcome addition of wives, girlfriends, aunties, sisters and mothers.

Taking over the entire upper floor of the Lord Newry Hotel in Fitzroy North, we made an Acknowledgement of Country and split into seven groups at seven tables.

Each group nominated a meeting “President” who welcomed guests, reported our monthly news and invited introductions from each guest in attendance before kicking off the discussion of that evening’s book - “Wild, Fearless Chests” by Melbourne author Mandy Beaumont.

“Brutal”, “Gut wrenching”, “Heartbreaking” …

…were some of the most repeated words from our conversation about this debut novel of short stories.

Each story turns a dazzling spotlight into the darker corners and fringes of female experience, exposing rape, domestic violence and paedophilia in harrowing, high- definition. During the chat, this granular detail led many of us to agree that where “gritty” clearly couldn’t do the book justice, maybe “visceral” came at least a little closer to the true awfulness of the lives - and deaths - of the women portrayed.

As our conversations went on over the evening, some of the women at our table shared insights from their own day-to-day lives that sadly (lamentably) mirrored those explored in “Wild, Fearless Chests”.

Our discussion gave the men present not just “food for thought”, but rather a feast of bitter insights that - to sum up many Goons that night - left a lump in the throat and an appetite to better understand support, equality and allyship.

Why we did this

That evening of November 25, Tough Guy Book Club did something a little different, by inviting the important women of our lives to talk with us about a traumatic exploration of women’s’ lives.

That conversation was not an easy one to have.

It was not a “fun” one to have.

But it is part of a larger, ongoing conversation about gender-based violence that will still never, EVER be more difficult than what the victims of that same violence go through.

Why we did this may be summed up in the words of Margaret “Meg” Wheatley, that “Very great change starts from very small conversations, held among people who care”.


Tough Guy Book Club would like to thank the important women in our lives who joined our meeting this November 25.

We’d also like to thank that awesome crew over at Safe+Equal for supporting that meeting and show our appreciation for the excellent work they do.

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