If you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention.

I’m over it.

I’m so fucking over it. And if you’re not over it as well; if you’re not angry about it, you’re not paying attention.

It’s a topic I’ve written about before. A lot, actually. And I’ll keep writing about it, keep speaking about it, and keep being furious about it until somebody listens.

Figures from the New South Wales Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research showed that domestic violence bucked the state-wide decline in all other major offences in December 2013, reaching its highest level in 15 years, according to reports last week.

On average, New South Wales police receive 94 domestic violence assault reports every single day. That’s over three women per hour.

Three women an hour. And much like the issue of sexual assault, the media and public outcry has been practically non-existent.

Once again, I want to know why the fuck we’re not all screaming for harsher sentences, just like we did with the “king hit” or “coward punch”. I want to know where the fuck the wall-to-wall media coverage is. I want to know where the politicians are and why they’re not rushing through new legislation that ensures harsh penalties for perpetrators.

Why are we continuing to fail victims of domestic violence?

All of the statistics tell us that women are predominantly the victims of domestic violence, while men are the primary perpetrators. “King hit” victims, however, a predominantly males.

Do we need to draw the seemingly inevitable conclusion that the reason that domestic violence doesn’t get the same level of outrage is because the victims are women? To me, there doesn’t seem to be an alternative answer.

Australian society simply seems to consider women second-class citizens. Those female victims of domestic violence? They’re not as important as the males who get punched on a night out. They don’t deserve the laws, the attention, or the collective outrage.

Now, it seems that whenever violence against women is mentioned, there will always be men (and some women) who get all up in arms, decrying the author for tarring all men with the same brush. If any of those people are reading this, I would like to say this: you’re getting angry about the wrong fucking thing. Don’t be pissed off because people are pointing out the facts – men are the principal perpetrators of domestic violence against women. Those are the facts. Get angry about that. Get angry that these males are giving you a bad name. And get angry that very little is being said or done about it.

Because if you’re angry that the media, a blogger, or someone on twitter is pointing out the facts, you’re not paying attention to the real goddamn problem. You’re ignoring those three women per hour in New South Wales, and women just like them around the country.

If, like me, you’re over the deafening silence from mainstream media and politicians from all sides of the spectrum, speak up. Contact Prime Minster Tony Abbott (a.k.a the Minister for Women), Senator Michaelia Cash, the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women, and your local MP here.

If you, or someone you know, is experience domestic violence you can get 24/7 help by contacting 1800Respect via their website or on 1800 737 732. 

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28 thoughts on “If you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention.

  1. Pingback: We are failing women. And it’s killing them. | It's the people and places.

  2. Pingback: The political silence on domestic violence. | It's the people and places.

  3. We should definitely be angry about male privilege. The disproportionate attention and response to king hits is another symptom of a structure that currently privileges men.

    Yes alcohol has a role to play in cases of domestic violence. But research tells us that GBV is primarily about a misuse of power and control in the context of male privilege. It is fed by a sense of entitlement that is often supported by sexism, racism and other discriminatory beliefs about one’s entitlement to power.

    If we are serious about addressing GBV we need to see it as part of a whole. A symptom of patriarchal structures that exist globally. Of course the responsibility is always on the perpetrator. That is without question. My argument is that in addressing it we need to be careful not to look at the act in isolation, and without addressing power.

  4. Not long ago, I wrote an opinion piece for the SMH (not published, but since it’s basic premise was ‘why I’m more intelligent than Tony Abbott’, no surprises there) which said, among other things, this:
    “But is it necessary to slash and burn with such cavalier indifference to public welfare? Like, for example, the decision to withdraw funding from Australia’s top drug and alcohol organisation, The Alcohol and Other Drugs Council of Australia. At a time when the rest of the nation is increasingly concerned about the results of excessive alcohol consumption, the Abbott government has chosen to pull the plug on the organisation most likely to find answers.
    Must we assume that Mr Abbott doesn’t care? Perhaps he sees a drunken spree or two as any red-blooded lad’s rite of passage, drinking as a thoroughly civilised affair and the current fuss as a storm in a brandy balloon. In which case I suggest he ask any emergency worker, either on the street or in an A&E, for their opinion. I doubt they’d agree. The misery, damage and cost of alcohol abuse is staggering. Hundreds of thousands of Australians are affected by it, either directly or indirectly. Are they now to be left swinging in the wind? It would seem so.”

    Most domestic violence has a link to alcohol – that cow so sacred that until recently, drunkenness was a defence, and not drinking labelled you ‘wowser’, and guaranteed insidious social ostracism. I’m actually not a wowser, but I won’t be watching the ABC TV program tonight “Dead drunk: Lights out in The Cross?” I don’t need the sheer despair it will make me feel.

    So there’s my (very long) answer. Get angry about alcohol abuse, and then women subjected to domestic violence might believe they’ll be heard. At the moment, they’re brushed off: “So he had a big night out, but basically, he’s a nice guy.”

  5. It is a tricky problem and unfortunately many women are caught financially in a cleft stick. I know that isn’t a good reason to stay and put up with it, but it happens all over. I’m off to Tassie next week to try to talk to a friend in that same situation…

  6. Fully second and echo your outrage at yet another domestic violence case. I can never understand how in this day and age, any act of domestic violence can even happen? It is most unfortunate, but the truth is that the control will have to happen right where it starts: at the domestic front. I feel if these women were well educated and self dependent they will not put up with such treatment and not accept any kind of violence as remotely acceptable. It is time for us to stand up for ourselves first.

  7. “I want to know where the politicians are and why they’re not rushing through new legislation that ensures harsh penalties for perpetrators.” M-R, you’re being naive. What’s in it for the politicians except angering the very men that make up most of their constituents? Our congress could not even vote an equal pay amendment for women into law this past month. And no one, not even women, got angry. There are just too many things to get angry about in this world. I think that’s “their” plan. I am not offended by being tarred with the same brush. I know the truth about myself and so does anyone I’ve ever had a relationship with. So get angry. And all of us, man and woman alike, write your local politician. But, chances are, you’ll only receive a form letter in return.

      • Embarrassing! The same thing happened just last week. I texted my wife “So how’s my baby?” and received a reply: “I don’t think that text was for me haha!” I didn’t recognize the number. I texted back what I will answer to you:

        OK, then. Never mind!

      • [grin]
        No need for embarrassment in my case, I assure you. When threads start up via one site on another, things grow very complex. I hope that other Aussie broad appreciates the discussion ! 🙂

  8. Prohibition in America, as a movement, started in the 1700’s with the mass distribution of hard alcohols. With nothing for men, specifically men, to do they would spend their time drinking. Under the influence of alcohol they would regularly beat their wives until Prohibition took place in the 1920’s. One of the main reasons women were supporters of prohibition is domestic violence.

    I’ve not been to Oz (too many spiders) but I have plant of Aussie friends here and over consumption of alcohol is the defining characteristic.

    You would know better than I, but I suspect all that ‘manly’ drinking is largely behind the increased domestic violence. And just as drunks don’t want to admit there’s a problem, evenings and weekends you have a continent of inebriated people who need to admit they have a problem.

    I agree, it’s terrible that domestic violence happens. But finding the reason and working on it is a better long-term solution.

  9. And you should be outraged! But until women make up half (or more) of elected leadership, nothing will change. In 2013 the AUS parliament lower house was 26% female; upper house 41% female: women aren’t elected… In the 2013 parliamentary elections, there were 470 female candidates and 1,247 male candidates: women don’t run for office… And even in a country that claims to have ‘mandatory’ voting, anywhere from 5%-10% of women do not vote.

    When women vote and women run and women win seats in government (at every level), then issues that are especially vital to women will be addressed; sadly, not before. The same is true in the United States, and in every democracy.

    Of course, this does not begin to address your real question, which is basically WHY DON’T PEOPLE CARE ABOUT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND ITS VICTIMS?! The answer to that question is far more depressing than political apathy — and the most compelling reason for political enthusiasm!

    Organize. Vote. Win. Change the world. But hurry, please. We men have pretty much ruined it (with the help, it must be noted, of some very sadly confused women).

      • What about those women?
        Are we arguing that some women should speak and other’s don’t?

        Michaelia Cash is an extremely conservative politician who is our Assistant Minister for Women. She actively promotes neoliberal economic structures which disproportionately disadvantage women.

        She is also an elected politician. I don’t agree with Cash’s views and find them considerably more offensive than someone from a minority requesting to be left alone to wear what they like. But a diversity of opinion is exactly what we should be advocating for.

        We can’t argue for the choice of some women to speak and not others.

        I also disagree that when women make up half the cabinet or held more positions of power that there would be world peace. The premise is problematic. If I did so I would again be characterizing a gender as being superior. It disallows women to be conservative or progressive, kind or cruel and all the other aspects of the human condition. It’s an incomplete argument that simplifies and fetishizes women.

  10. What can it be but the media ? Where do we, these days. discover anything but via the media ? Who other than you has the nous to turn over the rotting animal corpse and find a statisitic like that ?
    I shall send email. I know it won’t get one second of some correspondence secretary’s time, and will be peremptorily deleted; but if enough people did so too, well …

    • That argument would have worked 20 years ago, but with the World Wide Web media is ever less the problem. True, they do help shape our thoughts but not as much each successive generation finds niche news they care about and ignore the rest.

      • But I don’t believe people go looking for news on the Web, Steven; they use it for everything else, but unless a news item is thrust into their faces … Maybe I’m only talking about my own generation, as we still largely watch TV newscasts …

      • I work with young people. They do look for news, but niche news. News which pertains to them and news which is Tweeted around. The stories which go viral, those are the breaking headlines of yesteryear.

        University to early adults, they seem to fall in between that and broader news events.

        Myself, I have to want to seek it out because my day to day is filled and I suspect that’s the new norm.

        I’m not sure why domestic violence isn’t as wildly reported there, but if we’re looking at media, it is responsible for the trend towards tolerance and equality in the modernized world. It seems to be pushing woman towards even more equality, too. Perhaps DV falling to the sidelines means that other issues seem more pressing there. What news is standing in for DV?

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