I wouldn’t have behaved that way

There is a difference between “I wouldn’t have behaved that way” and telling someone else “they shouldn’t have behaved that way”.

I think we should remember this. At all times. Telling other people how they should behave, positions us as the expert in behaviour standards. 

Looking at the exchange between Scott Morrison and Grace Tame – I wouldn’t have behaved that way. 

But I wouldn’t have behaved that way because I’m a privileged white male and conforming to patriarchal standards comes relatively easy to me. And when I choose not to conform, people don’t care as much and are more forgiving. 

❌ I haven’t been abused – sexually, emotionally or physically. 

❌ I haven’t struggled to find my voice or speak honestly, or struggled to find the confidence or courage to say and do what I wanted. 

❌ I haven’t experienced grooming and being told what to say and do by someone who uses their entitlement over me. 

❌ I haven’t been recognised for my advocacy and activism with Australian of the Year. 

“I wouldn’t behave that way” should prompt us to consider and challenge WHY we wouldn’t. 

Then we should compare this to WHY someone else may have acted differently, appreciating that we actually know so little about that person. 

Finally, in light of that reflection, we should ask whether we STILL have a problem with the behaviour that warrants us to take action to call out, criticise, give feedback or coach them. 

But I don’t have the right to tell someone else how they should behave.

And so I’m simply sharing my perspective – I wouldn’t have behaved that way. 

If a guest had arrived at my residence, looking noticeably upset, I wouldn’t have ignored it, smiled, and pushed them into a photo op. 

I would have enquired “Are you ok?” Or “You look upset. What’s the matter?” 

I would like to think that my emotional intelligence would have kicked in, and I would have expressed concern and empathy, listened to how they were feeling, and asked what support they needed. 

Mind you, I would also like to think that I would have been more attuned to someone else’s state of mind that I would have had this conversation earlier, away from the public eye. 

But I wasn’t there. And I don’t have the right to tell someone else how they should behave.