Our latest Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull says:
“Real men don’t hit women.”
In Australia, violence against women raised its profile in 2015.
Rosie Batty our Australian of the Year has been a strong advocate during this year in raising awareness and bringing it to public attention. She has been (and continues to be) a strong advocate for women. She has shown much strength and courage in bringing violence against women to the forefront of Australia’s consciousness.
As Real for Women has shown there have many women and women’s groups throughout Australia this last year standing up for women.
The Australian Government announced a $100 million package of measures to provide a safety net for women and children at high risk of experiencing violence.
Of course, they didn’t announce that they had previously taken away $300 million dollars from women’s services and organisations.
The Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence was initiated in 2015 by the new Labor government in Victoria.
The ABCTV’s ‘Hitting Home’2 part series on family violence received high acclaim.
But let us look at the reality of what is happening in Australia for women.
Domestic violence services continue to be de-funded.
Tweed Valley Women’s Services recently forced to close
“I was shocked and outraged that this forced closure has occurred as the Tweed Valley Women’s Service provides vital services, particularly for those women and children fleeing from domestic violence,” Ms Elliot said.
SaveWomensRefuges recently conducted a survey of domestic violence victims
“Our survey results are telling us heartbreaking stories of women and children forced to return to live in violence, of sleeping in cars, in stairwells and on public transport. We need the Prime Minister to fund domestic violence refuges now. Sign and let Malcolm know it has to be a priority!!”
Womens Electoral Lobby have also raised concerns about the loss of secure funding for women’s refuges.
“Women’s refuges save lives. We request that the Prime Minister act swiftly to agree to a long-term secure separate national funding program for women’s refuges to ensure women and children escaping family and domestic violence have a safe haven and access to specialist services to enable them to rebuild their lives.”
The Guardian in June 1914 reported that the Liberal State government redirected $6m funding from inner city to rural NSW, predicting that up to 20 shelters will have to close their doors.
“The tendering process is completely new for this sector. We’re talking about an established network of women’s services across Sydney that have been operating for 30 to 40 years and never had their funding come under threat from any government – Liberal or Labor – until now.”
“You can’t provide quality care for women unless you’re operating from a specialist framework. We’re all operating on evidence based models.” There is also the likely outcome that women, including those escaping domestic violence, will have to seek shelter in mixed accommodation.
As reported to the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence:
“For victim support, historically underfunded (and recently suffering cutbacks and closures), needs adequate funding to cope with current demand, because DV is not going to be resolved or reduced overnight, these are life-saving services, and pay for themselves in reducing homicides and serious injuries. As for social workers and child protection agencies, better education and better case management is needed.”
Media coverage of domestic violence
A study recently showed that the media often distort domestic violence.
“The report, published by Our Watch and Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (Anrows), found there were widely established patterns of reporting in Australia and internationally that were overly simplistic, distorted and inadequate and increased the public’s confusion.”
Many reports also shifted blame from the male perpetrators to their female victims.
“One common theme across much of the media reporting in Australia and the US was that the social context in which male-perpetrated violence against women occurred was often excluded.”
Cuts to homelessness services
“Several peak organisations that provide policy advice and research into homelessness and housing services received word from the Department of Social Services on Monday that they would no longer receive funding.”
Homelessness groups were informed just prior to Christmas in 2015 that the federal government reportedly pulled funding from a number of advocacy organisations.
Reported by the Guardian.
It is well-known that women and children fleeing domestic violence make up the majority of homeless people.
In 2015 Background Briefing presented a critique of family law – ‘In the child’s best interests’
I wrote about this programme previously on MairiVoice
It would seem that parental alienation syndrome and father privilege is still the ideological underpinnings of our family law system.
Notably, the programme interviewed one specialist family law assessor, Chris Rikard-Bell and he was true to form.
“One cannot just depend on what the child’s statements are.”
When asked specifically about parental alienation syndrome, which appears to be the basis of his work:
“The concept of alienation, by which a parent consciously undermines the child’s relationship with the other parent, is still a valid concept.”
‘I refer to alienation if it specifically occurs and describe it but I avoid using the Parental Alienation Syndrome label, even though it is often useful, as it has now come under such scrutiny that it often creates more debate than is helpful.’
Apparently you can follow the principles of parental alienation – just don’t call it that.
Community Legal Centres lose funding.
Funding for CLC’s have not been restored.
‘Community legal centres will lose 30 per cent of their funding by the end of 2018 at the same time as police in Australia are handling one domestic violence matter every two minutes’The Federal Government is once again punishing victims of domestic violence with the toughest measures it has ever imposed on women seeking legal help.”
“Pockets of funding at all levels are under threat. Some are not being renewed, others are being reduced. In 2017, the sector will see a 25 percent cut in Commonwealth funding across the board. Funding cycles are now reviewed annually rather than every three years, making it difficult to plan ahead further than a single financial year. As a result, new employees are generally put on 12, six or even three-month contracts, which makes it hard to attract top talent.”
“However, CLCs do turn away tens of thousands of people a year. The demand is so high that the Productivity Commission has recommended an injection of $200 million into the sector, but with the Government seemingly ignoring the report, cuts remain a part of daily life at the RLC.”
And Daily Life reports on how legal help is now being means-tested.
“In a shock move just days after this year’s federal budget, community legal centres learned they would be compelled to means test those in need of legal support. Eight months of consultation were pushed aside to make way for just one measure to get help – financial hardship.”
“Gone were categories such as the risk of physical violence. Gone from the list were Indigenous women seeking support or people at risk of homelessness. The only thing which matters now is money.”
Cuts to welfare benefits
Families face cuts in welfare payments under the Federal Government’s changes to Family Tax Benefit rules.
The biggest changes are hitting Family Tax Benefit Part B (FTB-B), which will be cut for families when their youngest child turns six.(ABC news).
“The federal government has reintroduced to parliament cuts to family payments including abolishing annual bonuses.”
Families will no longer receive family tax benefit supplement Part A of about $726.35 and Part B of $354.05 under the measures which Labor previously rejected. https://au.news.yahoo.com/a/30249637/family-tax-benefit-cuts-return/
Anti vilification law
Wicked Pickets have done a wonderful job in raising awareness about A community action to extend anti vilification law to include ‘sex’ as a ground for complaint.
So far they have had no luck in convincing our politicians about this.
Headline the Saturday Paper in August:
Nauru rapes: ‘There is a war on women’
“One woman lies catatonic in hospital after being raped and beaten. Another was raped and immolated. This is the world awaiting refugees released from detention on Nauru.”
And from the Huffington Post
“At least two Iranian women detained on Nauru claim they were strip-searched by male security guards from an Australian firm who laughed as they ordered the women to remove their clothes, with allegations male guards are telling female detainees they have the power to conduct strip searches.”
And for the Somali woman who had been raped on Nauru and was seeking an abortion, shows us that Peter Dutton, our Immigration Minister lied about what occurred when she was brought to Australia,
Documents from the Department of Immigration and Border protection show that officials knew a Somali woman who had been raped on Nauru had not outright refused an abortion despite claims she had by Immigration Minister Peter Dutton after she was sent back to Nauru without the procedure last year. Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said at the time that Abyan had changed her mind about the abortion and that she was to be returned to Nauru. It is unclear from the documents why Abyan was removed when she had not rejected an abortion, as claimed by the Minister, however a note in the FOI documents from Australian Border Force warned: “There is a risk that once in Australia, [Abyan] will seek to join legal action which would prevent her return.”
“Ms Tranter said the fear expressed in the comment that Abyan would use the abortion to try and stay in Australia, was disturbing, given the matter involved a rape victim. “http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2016/01/02/departments-claim-raped-refugee-rejected-abortion-wrong-foi-reveals
“From the multiple reports of abuse, rape and sexual assault, to the awful treatment of pregnant rape victim Abyan; it seem increasingly obvious to the general public of Australia (as well as the recent United Nations Human Rights forum delegates) that Nauru and Manus Island are not safe places.”
Meanwhile our Immigration Minister Peter Dutton wanted to make it known that he was in support of White Ribbon Day, and that he is someone who publicly denounces violence against women.
“Unfortunately, he also happens to be the bloke who effectively sentenced a bunch of women and children to mandatory detention centres where sexual assault, rape, and violence against women runs rife.”
“Sending women and children to harmful and dangerous detention centres means you’re kinda okay with horrendous acts of sexual assault and violence against women, and are more or less part of the problem – otherwise you’d stop it happening, right? Which makes Peter Dutton a big fat hypocrite. “http://www.pedestrian.tv/news/arts-and-culture/peter-dutton-shoots-self-in-foot-with-tweets-about/8bfbbf0f-73c6-44ea-996e-da84fda5618b.htm
ABC produced a discussion panel on Pornography – Porn Even
As Laura McNally reports:
“Even in follow up to the panel, Tom Tilley continued to press the idea that porn is healthy, saying, “the personal experiences [expressed by the panel] weren’t extreme, it was just the broader generalisations and the theories people were making that got extreme.” Tilley apparently sees empirical data as theory and anecdote from half-a-dozen porn users as fact. With a sample size of one couple, the show seems to have concluded that porn is changing sex lives, and only for the better.”
“After a careful, nuanced and sensitive approach toward domestic violence on Hitting Home, the ABC has shown all the nuance of a train-wreck in examining the role of porn in sexual violence. Survivors of sexual violence, including the many performers harmed in the production of pornography, deserve better from the national broadcaster.”
Federal Minister Briggs has stood down from his position on the front bench after complaints of sexual assault from a junior public servant. To top this off he then sent a picture of the young women “to several people” which ended up in our newspapers.
And to start our new year, today’s news is that our esteemed Peter Dutton sent a SMScalling a female journalist a “mad f … king witch” in a text.
Sounds familiar doesn’t it?
So Mr. Turnbull you say “real men don’t hit women”.
Well it appears that real men
cut women’s services
lock up refugee women in detention centres, subject them to strip searches and to rape, fail to provide them with access to abortions after being raped;
cut welfare benefits to women
refuse to change anti-vilification laws;
do nothing to change the family law system to protect women and children from violence;
become MP’s so they can publicly vilify women
become MP’s so they can sexually assault women.
Perhaps First dog on moon best expresses the hope that women have for 2106
First dog on moon: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/picture/2015/nov/25/this-white-ribbon-day-lets-raise-awareness-of-our-awareness-raising