THIS IS A NATIONAL EMERGENCY!

Australia has a violence-against-women emergency on its hands. Hundreds of women are dying every year. And 95% of all victims of violence in Australia report a male perpetrator.

But first, some names to those faces in the picture above:

  • Courtney Herron, 25, beaten to death by a man, 27, of no fixed address, in Parkville on May 25, 2019
  • Natalina Angok, 33, killed by her boyfriend, 32, and dumped in a Chinatown lane in Melbourne, 2019.
  • Preethi Reddy, 32, stabbed to death by her ex-boyfriend who subsequently killed himself in a car crash, 2019.
  • Aiia Maasarwe, 21, beaten to death and dumped outside a shopping centre in Bundoora, by a man, 20, in 2019.
  • Laa Chol, 20, stabbed to death by a man, 17, at a party in a short-stay city apartment in 2018.
  • Qi Yu, 28, murdered by a housemate, 19, after she cut his lease short, in 2018.
  • Eurydice Dixon, 28, raped and murdered by a man, 19, at Melbourne’s Princes Park in 2018.
  • Renea Lau, 32, raped and murdered by a man in parkland in Melbourne’s King’s Domain, in 2016.
  • Masa Vukotic, 17, stabbed 49 times by a man, 30, in Doncaster, 2015.
  • Fiona Warzywoda, 35, stabbed by her husband, 40, outside her solicitor’s office at a Sunshine shopping centre in 2014.
  • Jill Meagher, 29, raped and murdered in Brunswick in 2012.
  • Allison Baden-Clay, 43, killed by her husband, 45, in Brisbane in 2012.

Second, some brutal facts:

  • On average, one woman a week is murdered by her current or former partner.
  • 1 in 3 Australian women have experienced physical violence since the age of 15.
  • 1 in 5 Australian women has experienced sexual violence.
  • 1 in 6 Australian women has experienced physical or sexual violence by current or former partner.
  • 1 in 4 Australian women has experienced emotional abuse by a current or former partner.
  • Australian women are nearly three times more likely than men to experience violence from an intimate partner.
  • Australian women are almost four times more likely than men to be hospitalised after being assaulted by their spouse or partner.
  • Women are more than twice as likely as men to have experienced fear or anxiety due to violence from a former partner.
  • More than two-thirds (68%) of mothers who had children in their care when they experienced violence from their previous partner said their children had seen or heard the violence.
  • Almost one in 10 women (9.4%) have experienced violence by a stranger since the age of 15.
  • Young women (18 – 24 years) experience significantly higher rates of physical and sexual violence than women in older age groups.
  • There is growing evidence that women with disabilities are more likely to experience violence.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women report experiencing violence in the previous 12 months at 3.1 times the rate of non-Indigenous women.
  • In 2014–15, Indigenous women were 32 times as likely to be hospitalised due to family violence as non-Indigenous women. See more here.

And yet, remarkably, Australians are more worried about being attacked by a terrorist than about curbing male violence against women.

A recent ANU poll revealed that almost half of all Australians (45%) are concerned that they or one of their family members could become the victim of a future terrorist attack, while more than half (56%) think the government could do much more to prevent such an attack. Another poll found almost half of us (49%) even support a Trump-like ban on all Muslim immigration.

Statistically, it’s not Muslims we need to worry about. It’s Australian men. Look at the list above. I admit it’s an arbitrary list of recent, high-profile murders, but note the ages of the perpetrators: a thirty-something-year-old dentist, a 27-year-old homeless man,  a 45-year-old suburban real estate agent, a 19-year-old Chinese student. Men of all ages and all stations of life are committing acts of violence against women.

Something drastically needs to be done to shift the culture in this country.

And third, some actions for men:

  • Learn what victim-blaming is and how to recognise it. Stop with questions like ‘What was she wearing?’ or ‘Why was she walking there at that time?’ When we blame women for their actions, we fail to hold men to account for theirs.
  • Learn what patriarchy is and practise explaining it to someone else.
  • Learn about gender, power and sexual consent.
  • Don’t laugh at sexist jokes or comments and speak up against them if you can.
  • Explore why we have a gender pay gap and talk with others about it at work.
  • Encourage the men in your life to talk to each other about their feelings and emotions. Quit telling boys to ‘man up’ and suppress their feelings, and stop encouraging them to sort out their differences with the use of violence. Talk to another man about the pressures of being a ‘real man’ and how it impacts on relationships with others
  • Recognise how violence against women is also a men’s issue and discuss this with men in your life. Watch this TED talk on why violence against women is a men’s issue.
  • Stop talking about what women look like, and speak instead about who she is and what she has achieved.
  • Don’t fund sexism: don’t buy media or products that portray women in a degrading or violent manner.
  • Call it out when a woman is interrupted or spoken over.
  • Advocate against violence and gender inequality by spreading awareness on your social media and beyond.

The more Australian men speak out against violence and stand up for gender equality, the more that message becomes the norm and maybe, just maybe, the culture that promotes violence against women will disintegrate. But it won’t be easy. Remember the backlash to Gillette’s ‘The Best Men Can Be’ advertisement?

Stay true. Women’s lives are at stake.

 

 

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The views expressed are my own and do not necessarily represent the official views of Morling College or its affiliates and partners.

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19 thoughts on “THIS IS A NATIONAL EMERGENCY!

  1. I agree that some men are commiting acts of violence against women, but not all men….
    We need to be careful on this definition, I have never & will never lay a hand on a woman in anger. I have been married for 27yrs & have 3 awesome kids (2 boys & a daughter) all brought up to respect everyone equally.
    Men as a whole a now being painted as predators in society, I now would think twice about helping a female out in situation due to the fact that I could be sadly accused of being a “predator”.
    We need to also be bringing our children up to not accept violence & to stand up for what is right in any situation.

    1. Matt, I wonder if you read all the dot points at the end of the article, of what men can take? Do you do/not do (whichever is appropriate) them.

      If I am in a bad situation, I would appreciate you helping me out. I’m pretty sure I could tell the difference between a helper and a predator. If you are encouraging someone assaulting me, then yep, I’d be calling you a predator too. If you are telling them/him to stop, pulling them off me etc, then I’d be thinking of you as a helper.

      1. Hi Jan,
        Yes I did read the dot points. Thing is I didn’t need to, I was brought up to respect everyone, not to harm & respect the laws of our country.
        I have hired & managed several brilliant women in my team, I actually was having drinks with some of the team to celebrate a birthday when we met up with one of my ex graduate Engineers (she had moved to another company 6 months ago).
        We had had a great working relationship during her time in my team, this is the thing, she had to go meet someone else for dinner & she said to me as she was leaving “I am not sure if I can give my ex manager a hug, is it appropriate?”. That made me sad, why can’t I have female friends in the work place? All my grads are like my kids, my team is my extended family. When did we start to loose that?
        I have a question for you…..
        If you got of the train late at night & were by yourself walking to your car & I was also getting of the train & walking in the same direction then how would you feel?
        I would like to ask if I could walk you to your car & make sure you were safe, but due to what has been happening lately, that could be interpretated as me being a “predator” or making that person feel unsafe by approaching a single woman.
        There are bad people out there but the majority are good, & would step in to help.
        Don’t get me wrong I would step in to help if I thought someone was being attacked, its just that the first thing I would be thinking is how can this be viewed or misrepresented.

        1. If I didn’t know you Matt, yes, I would feel uncomfortable if I felt you were following me. I don’t think it would help if you offered to walk with me. But, that would have been the same for me 40+ years ago.
          Now, if I can’t drive directly to the place I want to go to at night, I use a taxi/Uber to get there and home.
          And regards the work hug. I think asking is fine. I asked my oncologist if I could have a hug when I was being discharged from the cancer centre. But unless I know someone pretty well, I always check if it’s ok for a hug.

    2. Matt, I can’t see why you’d read that blog pointing out the crisis this country is experiencing in violence against women and say “but not all men.” It sounds like you’re minimising the issue. Those men who do perpetrate these crimes (and there’s hundreds and hundreds of them every year) are growing up in a culture where they have come to believe that violence is a reasonable course of action against women. This goes to our patriarchal culture where sexism, violence, and the objectification of women are norms. You say you’ve never laid a hand on a woman in anger, you’ve been married for 27 years and have raised your children to respect everyone equally. That’s awesome. We need more men like you to decry the national statistics, to agree we have a problem, to speak out against violence and sexism, and to try to change the trajectory of our culture.

      1. Hi Mike,
        Couple of lines out of you post…..

        “Statistically, it’s not Muslims we need to worry about. It’s Australian men.”

        “Men of all ages and all stations of life are committing acts of violence against women.”

        “All Men are predators” is being portrayed in the news lately, I was hoping to point that not all men are….
        No Violence is acceptable ever.
        But not all “Australian men or Men of all ages” are violent.

        We need to also promote that most men will be a gentlemen & be the one to step in & not made to feel like a predator.
        I would hope that for my wife & daughter if they ever were in that situation someone would be there for them.

        1. Oh, Matt, come on. Saying ‘men of all ages’ isn’t the same as saying ALL men. Either you’re not reading it carefully or you’re committed to an ungenerous reading. There is a national emergency of male violence against women and we need men like you to stand up and say, ‘Enough!’, not quibble about the wording.

  2. I’m not going to give you the Not All Men routine, but I have a different question.

    Why isn’t violence against men *and* women considered a national emergency?

    Men are murdered, predominantly at the hands of other men, at much higher rates than women – up to three times according to some stats. This has presumably been the case for some time. Leaders of men’s movements as far back as the 90s were warning about the kinds of unhealthy, repressive social scripts about masculinity that are now being decried so loudly, 30 years later.

    So why is violence against women suddenly the canary in the coalmine? Where are all the candlelight vigils for the ~3 men per week killed in Australia? Why did the assistant commissioner on the scene of a recent Melbourne killing comment that it was “more horrendous” because it was a woman? Is a male victim somehow more deserving of it? Is he less vulnerable or perhaps just less worthy of pity and emotional outpouring?

    When we talk about violent deaths as a whole, that is, when we are not restricting ourselves to a discussion of violence against women, we tend to compare ourselves favourably with other nations, and we comment on how things have improved over time. Is this because the majority of all deaths that do happen are still the deaths of men, who we are more comfortable seeing as statistics?

    1. I take it, then, that you’ve been active in advocating against violence against men? Or did you just decide to raise that issue when you saw my blog post about violence against women?

      1. It’s not really about me, but no, preventing violent crime has not been my area of advocacy. However, I don’t have a problem with anything on your list of actions.

        I just see an inconsistency in the attention currently being given to one part of the problem – when women are victims – and the full breadth of the statistics. Perhaps it is because that part received relatively little attention for a long time, or because some people like to simplify the genders into tribal groupings with uniform behaviours.

        I will agree that intimate partner violence and rape, which disproportionately affects women, deserves *separate* attention, in as much as it may have roots in some specific behaviours or behavioural expectations that are not transferable to general violence affecting everyone.

        I’d also add that your advice to men about the patriarchy, talking about emotions, etc. should also be given to women. Women, at least as much as men, police what is ‘acceptable’ behaviour for boys and men according to that repressive model.

  3. Not all men perpetrate violence against women BUT all the men who are violent towards women (and the stats and stories say there are LOTS of them) they are all men.
    Hence the crisis, hence the need for men to say Enough! And hence the question ‘what is it about our context that this can happen SO much?’
    We shouldn’t have to wait until it is “all men” for this issue to warrant a compassionate, significant and intergenerational response.

    1. Absolutely!

  4. https://theconversation.com/how-safe-is-australia-the-numbers-show-public-attacks-are-rare-and-on-the-decline-110276
    This is a perspective adding article, not totally current but close enough.
    The issue is important but I find myself nodding more at Nathan and Matt’s comments.
    In any case the issue is not to be ignored.

    1. You can read a blog post outlining 12 heinous, unprovoked acts of violence against women and find yourself nodding in agreement with what exactly??

  5. “Lord, help Austrialian society to own up to its violence toward women. And Lord, don’t stop with Australia. Wherever wome nare mistreated and suffer violence, please put an end to it. Help Christians to lead the way with gentlenss and truth and example. Make Churches powerful and compassionate havens of protection and safety. Bury the perpetrators under an overwhelming guilt that leads to repentance and bring the perpetrators to justice. Bring Gospel truth and values to bear so that women are both protected and allowed to flourish with all the gifts that they have for the joy of the world and your greater glory. Amen.”

    1. Finally an appropriate comment to a devastating article on women living and dying in constant fear. Thank you.
      And thanks Mike for writing about it. Let’s all be a solution to a huge and terrible problem in our society. I’m sorry but most men have absolutely no idea about the fear these women are living through every day and previous comments I find way off the mark, and quite heartless. Especially to someone living in this situation.

    2. Thank you for your prayers, Marty.

  6. The data contained in this posting reflects the reality of a situation from a more punitive and feminist point of view.

    The whole [unbiased] story is much more about early attachment insecurity, abandonment, neglect, humiliation amongst other factors which have a flow on effect to; not just men, but all persons who experience them.

    The changes in society over the last hundred years have created what can only be seen as a ‘culture shock’. Rapidly increasing in potency & bias, the primary target [a creation of radical feminism] is men. A cursary look at ‘language’ serves to corroborate both the bias and change/s.

    To put the present situation through the sieve of ‘reason’, the remnants would be evidence of a substantial shift away from our Judeo-Christian origins, to a more liberal humanism based on ‘feeling’ rather than ‘fact’.

    Socio-Psychological ramifications abound, with feminine males, masculine females, gender denial, trans-genderism, along with ‘legislated political correctness’ exacerbating things further.

    No wonder we see increasing signs of the resultant trauma.

    The battle lines have been created and now are being rigidly defined, coincidental to the voices of the combatants being either silenced or heard with deafening predictability.

    In this context, where gender roles, marriage and the harmony that attends their acceptance are frustrated, a ‘step back’ from the fray [which includes family violence] permits the creators of the new hypothesis to fabricate ’cause that fits’ the dominant agenda, whilst overlooking the possible ‘actual cause’ & better responses.

    Until we treat the ’cause’, not the symptoms, we shall continue our trip ‘around the mountain’……

    1. And what do you propose is the solution? A return to the “family values” of the 1950s before that dreadful feminism had made “primary target” of men and “legislated political correctness”??

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