Brisbane GP says we should ‘Make Love Infectious’
Brisbane LGBT community activist and GP Dr Wendell Rosevear OAM spoke at the TEDxUQ conference recently, his topic ‘Make Love Contagious’.
Rosevear is the founder of MARS (Men Affected by Rape and Sexual-abuse) and GLADS (Gay & Lesbian Alcohol & Drug Support Group) and is a GP at Stonewall Medical Centre.
“I see some of society’s most damaged people, and I see some of society’s most hated people,” he told the audience.
“My personal life motto is to make love infectious. We can sing about it, we can talk about it, but are we able to translate love into talking about really difficult problems? Because if not, it’s just a mythical wish.”
He spoke of one man whose father was absent growing up, and whose mother thought fear was the best way to learn – asking the police to lock her son up for trivial matters to scare him into behaving better.
Sexually abused by a neighbour, the boy had no one to turn to. Trying to fit in with his peer group, he took drugs and ended up in jail for drug convictions. Raped in jail, he became angry and used his anger to enact violent revenge on fellow inmates.
Rosevear said the man joined his recovery group and felt able to be open about his past. By sharing his pain in a safe place, he began to heal.
When people feel accepted, according to Rosevear, they can afford to be honest about who they are, especially after traumatic events.
He said the primary damage of abuse was a loss of value, followed by the person going into survival mode, where they erected walls around themselves and kept secrets.
“Many people seek relief by putting a big wall up around their needs and pushing people away, never letting people close,” Rosevear said.
“That’s a valid survival thing. But no wall and no secret can restore your value and your freedom.
“When I’m working with abused people I want them to reclaim their value. Because when we reclaim our value we reclaim our right to say yes or no, set boundaries and make choices in healthy ways that don’t limit us.
“Acceptance and honesty are the tools of love. You don’t have to be perfect to let love work. I can accept me and be honest, and you can accept me and we can be honest together.
“We can have respect, safety and connection, fulfilment and intimacy. And good sex if we’re lovers.
“Today I’ve infected you with how love works,” Rosevear finished. “I want you to enjoy spreading it.”