What Have Us Slackers Been Up To?

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As regular followers will have noticed, the site has been rather quiet recently, pretty much since October in fact. So, what the hell have we been doing for the past 4 or 5 months?

Kicking back with our homies and spending the millions of dollars we get from the government each year on hookers & blow..ahem..I mean on “Executive Salaries”… of course!

Yeah, right.

What we’ve really been up to, and are still working on in fact, is a whole bunch of structural and behind the scenes stuff that will allow us to better operate, expand, develop, and maintain our network of groups under the banner of Men’s Rights Australia.

When we founded Men’s Rights Sydney back in September 2013, we really had no idea of what we were getting into, where we were going, or what we were doing. We had never so much as run a chook raffle before and had literally no idea what we were doing. We were as green as Kermit with about half as much idea of how to run a group like this.

But we learnt quickly. We kind of had to.

To be honest we still don’t know what we’re doing –  not really – but we have managed to pick up the odd thing or two along the way and one of the things we have learnt is that if you are going to run an organisation of any size or complexity, you can’t just do it on an Ad Hoc basis. Past a certain point you have to have systems in place to handle things and we have grown to the point now where we have to put some systems like this in place to help us keep track of everything, delegate tasks properly, keep track of the progress of various projects, and manage data.

So, that’s a big part of what we have been doing over the past few months. We have rented a server on which we can use as a file and mail server, run forum software, SQL for databases – to be used for various purposes such as for handling contacts or a ticketing system for projects – and perhaps even an intranet or wiki of some sort to help us to easily and efficiently store, share, and access information that we think may be of use such as the statistics and studies that we use as reference material. This is a time consuming and tedious process but it will make things a lot easier to manage and keep track of in the long run thus taking a lot of the workload off our shoulders and allowing us to simply and reliably delegate tasks to others.

Currently we are only about a third of the way through getting this up and running completely. However, certain functions will be ready well before we complete the entire thing. We hope to be able to start using these in the next month and work should be complete, or mostly complete, within the next 6 months but in the meantime, we still need to keep up with the group’s day to day demands so it very much depends on how much time we get to work on it.  In any event it is one of our top priorities and work on it continues with all possible haste.

Another big, yet completely invisible to the public, project in the pipeline is the setting up of an official non-profit whose purpose will be to service and assist our network of regional groups (Men’s Rights Sydney, Men’s Rights Melbourne, Men’s Rights Brisbane, and Men’s Rights Australia). The hoops that we have to jump through and the red tape we need to wade through to get this up and running is no small thing but it is definitely worth the trouble and cost as it will make us an officially recognised incorporated association and registered non-profit. This will, among other things, make us eligible to apply for certain grants and bursaries from the government as well as to legally fund raise from the public for specific causes.

We have been trying to raise money to fund the development of Vasalgel for quite some time now but, in NSW at least, it’s not legal to solicit money from the public without proper authorisation so we have thus far been stymied by the legal issues. In addition to it’s other advantages, setting up a non-profit will allow us to achieve this without breaching the law and being dragged away to a 8′ x 12′ cell where we would soon be married to the guy with the most cigarettes. Always a good thing I’m sure you will agree.

In addition to the above, on the heels of the amazing success of Erin Pizzey’s White Ribbon Organisation we were inspired to bring the fight to White Ribbon Australia (or as we like to call them, White Fibbin’ Australia) on their home turf and to counter their bigoted and misleading campaign by shoving the facts about family violence right in their faces every chance we get. To achieve this we began work on a pamphlet in September last year containing accurate Australian statistics and locally relevant advice for men who may find themselves in an abusive relationship and may not recognise the signs, or who are already looking for help. It has taken us several months to produce but it is now nearly complete. Once it is, we plan to hand them out at various White Ribbon Australia events and, with any luck, really get up their noses.

Unfortunately, as many Aussie MHRAs have discovered, hardly anyone is interested in doing research into male victims and female perpetrators of family violence so finding Australian statistics relating to them is damn near impossible. In a populous country like the US or Canada where large quantities of data about family violence are produced, it can be difficult enough but in a smaller country like Australia, where there is far less research to begin with, the amount of data that focuses on male victims or female perpetrators is almost non-existent. This has made finding solid statistics pertaining to the situation in Australia an extremely difficult and time consuming affair and as a result, a large amount of time has had to be spent tracking down what little research there is and collating it into a single source. Thankfully, although it still needs a bit of polishing, it is now more or less complete and we hope to start handing them out at the next scheduled White Ribbon Australia event.

As time consuming as the above projects have been, probably our biggest problem, the one problem that dwarfs all the rest, is the sheer amount of work that falls onto the shoulders of the Men’s Rights Sydney leadership. There are only a handful of us that are really able to dedicate any serious time to maintaining and developing the group and the amount of work required to keep everything ticking over is immense. In truth it’s more than we can currently handle. This is the primary reason that the blog site has been neglected in recent months. We simply do not have the time or resources to keep up with everything in a timely manner so some of the less urgent and/or more time consuming tasks, like writing original content for the blog, have been pushed onto the back burner until such time as we get some more help and/or we somehow manage to streamline the processes to such a point that we no longer need to spend much time on them.

A large part of our plan for addressing this problem is based around attracting more members, a certain percentage of whom will be willing and able to invest some time in assisting us to run the network. To this end, we have been casting our net far and wide, all over the country, in order to find any MRAs, or like minded individuals, that are interested in doing some activism and introducing them to our network of communities. We have had some success with this but most of the members we have attracted are either not wiling or not able to actively assist us. Of course we welcome, and are extremely grateful for, extra members of any sort as they help to create and foster a feeling of community. However, we badly need more `who are willing to get their hands dirty and actively help us to run the organisation. In the long term it is the only way that we are going to be able to continue to grow and increase our influence.

So, if you are an Aussie MRA, or even if you are just sympathetic to our cause, this is a call to action. We desperately want to hear from you. Yes, we need leaders, people with the will to lead and run with projects on their own initiative (with our support),we people to help us with little things like proofreading and big things like that pamphlet, we also need everyday members to make up the wider community that we are trying to create. If this sounds like you, you can contact us via our contact form on this site or directly via email at mensrightssydney@gmail.com.

We have established groups for you to join if you are in Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane and we are always on the lookout for people in Perth, Adelaide, Hobart, Canberra, or Darwin who want to create new groups in those cities. We are more than happy to offer advice and assistance to anyone interested in doing this as well as to provide ongoing support and co-ordination with the other regional groups via Men’s Rights Australia.

We are also only too happy to consider article submissions from anyone who feels they have something to say on gender issues and/or men’s rights so, if you would like us to publish your thoughts, please feel free to submit your article here. Before you submit however, please read our submission criteria. They can be found here.

As if all of that wasn’t enough we are also pursuing a project that should provide us with some political influence but I am afraid I can’t reveal the details of that project at this time. Watch this space though.

So, if you have been wondering why the site has been quiet lately, all that stuff I just listed, yeah, that’s why. Don’t worry, we have no intention of going anywhere, nor are we closing down. We fully intend to return to providing fresh content on a regular basis and getting back to business as usual as soon as possible, we just have to complete some of these big, time consuming, projects first as they are critical to the ongoing success, growth, and ultimately the effectiveness, of our network.

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