Helping put lives back on course
A men's behaviour course in Pakenham will increase to two days a week after the success of its first group.
Course facilitator David Nugent said many men had joined the Pakenham group after encouragement from their partners.
Mr Nugent said after the success of the course, run at Pakenham's Outlook Community Centre, it was decided to start a new class for those who had completed the first course and wanted to take their learning to the next level.
The course, known as the Heavy METAL (Men's Education Towards Anger and Life) Group, is designed to help men lead a non-violent lifestyle and take responsibility for their actions, encourage them to treat women and children with respect, and provide support for the men.
On participant, Steve, who did not want to give his surname, said the course had turned his life around.
"It's changed my attitude, not just with my partner but with other people as well," he said.
Steve said his partner had put some course brochures in front of him one day last year after a big row and he knew then it was time to do something about his anger.
He started the 12-week course in October and said it had been a huge eye-opener.
"It saved my relationship and my family," he said.
Steve said the course forced participants to look at their own behaviour and how it affected the people around them.
He said in the course men dealt with not just physical abuse but also verbal abuse, their total attitude towards and way they treated other people.
Steve said without realising it he had taken on traits of his abusive father.
"It's second nature, it's the way you're brought up," he said.
Steve said the course, run two hours a week over 12 weeks, gave people the tools to get their point across without being aggressive.
"I now have a better respect for my partner and females across the board," he said.
"I also spend a lot more time with my son - without yelling."
Steve said he still had a long way to go and had decided to enrol in a further 12-week course that will build on the tools learnt in the first course.
He urged other people to enrol in the course not just for the people around them but for themselves.
"I have never felt happier in my life. This is the first time in 38 years that I enjoyed Christmas," Steve said.
"Any person feeling out of control should seek help."
"They mightn't realise they've got a problem, but they've got to learn that the behaviour is unacceptable."
Steve said the course should be taught in year 10 or 11 to give teenagers the tools to deal with their anger.
Mr Nugent encouraged men who felt like there were losing control of life and their anger to come forward.
Heavy METAL runs on Wednesday evening from 7pm to 9pm for 12 weeks from 8 February.
Mr Nugent said if the participants demonstrated they were taking responsibility for changing their behaviour they would be invited to participate in the 12-week phase two level.
Anyone interested in attending Heavy METAL can call David Nugent on 0401 766 877.
By Sarah Schwager