Thousands of Australians took to the streets last week as part of the Women’s March to demand gender equality and stronger action against sexual harassment.
As the crowd rallied and demanded reform, one message was echoed over and over again on posters and chanted by supporters: This is a men’s issue, not a women’s issue.
Men are the offenders, and they must take responsibility for their own conduct, as well as the actions of their fellow man, and take action.
Patrick O’Connor, who plays Dean on Home And Away, has not only echoed but also acted on this sentiment.
Patrick posted this photo alongside a note in which he spoke about his own toxic masculinity experience.
The actor took to Instagram to post an emotional message about his own experience with toxic masculinity.
“I’ve been dwelling on my feelings about recent discussions of men’s treatment of women for the past couple of days and I’ve landed here,” Patrick started.
“Let me begin by saying that I attended one of the Australian schools mentioned on the #chanelcontos rape culture petition. I’ve seen firsthand how dangerous the ‘boys will be boys’ mentality is; it caused me pain in school, and school is something I’d rather forget about.
I’m saddened and ashamed at the same time because I know this conduct is still prevalent in our society because I was there.”
“I have firsthand experience of how toxic the ‘boys will be boys’ mentality is…”
“To all the young men at school who are grappling with their own masculinity. I understand because I’ve been there.
When you’re a thirteen-year-old boy at an all-boys academy, you’re surrounded by people who want to raise their egos and show how manly they can be; taking a stand against that is a tough thought to consider.
You may be afraid that if you confront your brothers, you will be hurt, mocked, or even bullied. That is, for the most part, the truth.
However, even if you only do it once, you send a powerful and important message that society must change. You are much more of a man than those boys will ever be for doing that.”
Patrick talked about the beautiful people in his life, including Sophie, a co-star on Home And Away (left).
The 27-year-old then talked about the wonderful women in his life, including his mother, girlfriend, and wife, fellow Home And Away star Sophie Dillman, before voicing his “gut-wrenching frustration and despair” at the possibility of someone insulting or disrespecting them.
“Without the women in our lives, we would be nothing. This must be stopped at the source. This begins with instilling in young boys from an early age that such behaviour has no place in their lives “he penned
“Have respect for yourself, have respect for women, and most importantly, have the respect to point it out when you see it,” Patrick concluded with a straightforward call to action that all men can take up.