• 22Jan

    The New South Wales (Australia) Police Force recently posted on their facebook page that men are victims of domestic violence too. They quoted figures that 1 in every 5 domestic violence incidents the police respond to are where men are victims of domestic violence.

    nsw police
    As Jenna Price pointed out in her article in Daily Life these figures are not explained in the post by the NSW police. There is no information about the perpetrators of such violence and the possibility of male-on-male violence in same-sex relationships. The implication was that all of the perpetrators were women.
    This disappears all of the hard work and activism that feminists have done to highlight the social basis of domestic violence as being reflective of sexism and patriarchy in Australian society.
    The Police then allowed hundreds of posts to the site blaming women for violence against men

    .comments

    and citing dodgy statistics – statistics which Men’s Rights Activists have consistently been using falsely, and which have  been debunked

    “In 2012, Michael Flood delivered a speech to the Queensland Centre for Domestic and Family Violence Research. In it, he debunked the concept of one in five men as victims of partner violence – a product, he said, of an inaccurate analysis of the ABS Personal Safety Survey” as cited by Jenna Price.

    But what is most interesting to me is the context of this and what has been happening in NSW over the last year.

    I wrote about the closure of women’s services in NSW  in a previous article on women’s services.

    SOSWomen’s Services have highlighted the plight of women-only refuges in NSW.
    Under the ‘Going Home Staying Home’ program, the NSW government is failing to support women-only domestic violence services.
    “336 individual services have been consolidated into 149 packages operated by 69 non-government organizations.” Sydney Morning Herald”

    So I ask myself – is this a conspiracy?

    Is the closure of women-only services in NSW related to the Police highlighting male victims of domestic violence?

    Is this an attempt to disappear women’s experience of male violence?
    But there is more.

    According to the Queensland government, male violence against women isn’t even an issue for the criminal system. Doesn’t really exist, one would think.

    qld DtJ post

    Destroy the Joint posted on this:

    “The Newman government in Queensland pretended crime had gone down in the state by ignoring a dramatic increase in these domestic violence figures.”

    As commented on this blog by Bettsie:

    “In Queensland over the past twelve months, there has been considerable focus on legislation and interventions to reduce both bikie crimes and public acts of alcohol related violence with claims they are making a difference in reducing crime and improving community safety, At the same time, there is a shroud of silence over the increased reported incidence of domestic violence, rape and sexual assault.”

    So is this a deliberate policy by neo-liberal governments to silence women’s voices; to disappear male violence against women?

    As I have written before:
    “A considerable advantage of the women’s services sector is that it was developed from feminist advocacy and that a major role of such services was to challenge the social constructs that perpetuate disadvantage for women. Part of the empowering aspect of their work is to join with women using the services to advocate and lobby for changes to systems which create barriers to women’s safety and well-being.”

    The closure of women-only services and focusing attention on male victims of violence is one way to ensure that advocacy and activism which challenge the patriarchal system are silenced.
    The fact is that this is just the norm for patriarchal capitalism. When you are in a position of power and control, why upset the apple cart by listening to women or by involving them in decision-making or by even acknowledging their existence. After all, patriarchal capitalism has done very well thank you without women.
    In fact, for hundreds of years men have made a point of ensuring that they do not share their power and control with women.
    And it might be quite dangerous for them if they acknowledged the hatred, the misogyny, the violence that men inflict on women.

    It might even Destroy the Joint.
    It’s not a conspiracy. It’s just the same old patriarchy.

     

    fem

  • 17Dec

    If Man Haron Monis’s 36 sexual assaults had been taken seriously, the #SydneySiege wouldn’t have happened.”

    It is women who are the victims. It is women who are in the middle of male violence. It is women who are in the firing line.

    women as victims of war - MadreUpdate:

    Interesting article by Megan Murphy in Feminist Current:

    “Violence against women is taken for granted. Misogyny is taken for granted. Male violence is not seen as gendered. Violence against powerful men is a “public” problem — a war — and violence against women is a sidenote, if it is mentioned at all. Sixty women disappeared from the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver over about 20 years, beginning in the early 1980s, before the police even began an investigation. A database created by an Ottawa researcher tallies the number of missing and murdered Aboriginal women across Canada at 824. On any given day in Canada, more than 3,300 women (along with their 3,000 children) are forced to sleep in an emergency shelter to escape domestic violence. Most domestic violence homicides happen after a woman leaves (or tries to leave) her abuser. Women simply aren’t protected by the system. They aren’t taken seriously. The signs are there and they are ignored, over and over again, until it’s too late.

    “Soraya Chemaly pointed out that the number of U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan and Iraq was 6,614, while the number of women killed as the result of domestic violence during the same period in the US was 11,766. So tell us, who is being targeted? What kind of violence matters? What kind of victims matter? Who is really, “at war?”” https://feministcurrent.com/…/a-war-on-the-police-how-about…/

     

    By now we have all heard of the siege in Sydney. And about Man Haron Monis.
    For the last two days it has headlined the news and social media.
    The immediate assumption made when the siege occurred was that it was a terrorist attack. Why? Because he was a Muslim. And because he raised a flag with Arabic writing in the window. This is what he wanted us to believe – that his holding siege with hostages in the middle of Sydney was for a cause, and not because he is a violent, malicious man.
    It is what the Western media and our Western politicians also wanted us to believe. Even as the real story of this man came to light, they continued to define him as a rogue terrorists and media outlets continued to examine this event in these terms.
    This man, Man Haron Monis had a history of violence against women.

    He had been charged with being a co-conspirator in the murder of his ex-wife, who had been knifed and set alight.

    He was also charged with 40 sexual assault charges against women. And let’s not play around with words –aggravated sexual assault is violent rape.
    He was on bail.

    The magistrate who gave him bail stated:

    “If there is a threat it was to this woman who was murdered.”

    But after all he is not a threat to the community – only to women!
    This is why he was not on the radar of the authorities – he was not a real threat to anyone – except women.
    Male violence against women is epidemic throughout the world.
    Destroy the Joint figures show that 73 women have been killed by male violence in Australia this year.

    dtj 73
    But the media is not really interested in violence against women.

    Our politicians are not really interested in violence against women.
    It is more interested in creating fear and war-mongering.

    Escalating the threat to Western democracy allows them to continue with their wars, continue with their torture, continue with their demonising of the “other” and make us all afraid. This allows them to justify their secrecy and their denying of our freedoms and our rights.
    They are more interested in escalating violence. In making war.

     

    According to Women, Peace and Security:

    • Today close to 90 per cent of current war casualties are civilians, the majority of whom are women and children.
    • War crimes including rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, and any other form of sexual violence.
    • Violence against women is greatly exacerbated in conflict zones
    • Women face many challenges in conflict and post-conflict environments – including extreme poverty, displacement from their homes, destruction of social networks, and limited opportunities for employment and income generation.

    And wars which put more women and children at risk.

     

    Kathleen Barry

    A hashtag was born declaring #illridewithyou to Muslim Australians fearful of facing backlash on public transport. It was a powerful and heart-warming hashtag – but it is a practice that every woman uses on a daily basis – because every day – at home or in public – women are targets of male violence – physical, sexual, threats, harassments. But there is no public outcry, no empathy, little understanding – it just part of normal life for women in patriarchy.
    Acknowledging violence against women is a step that men in power are not willing to take. It would threaten their very power base.

    As Louise Pennington states

    “This is the reality of rape culture: systemic violence against women is simply not considered a problem. We need to start using the term terrorism to define male violence and we need to start recognising that women are human too. Until we do, men like Monis will continue to perpetrate these crimes, which are not ‘isolated incidents’ but systemic, state-sanctioned terrorism against women and girls.”

     

  • 08Dec

    I watched two programmes on ABC television this weekend which caught my interest.
    The first was a re-run of “Call the Midwife”. I have loved both series of this feel-good programme about life in post-war, poverty-stricken London.

    call the midwife

    It is about a group of midwives working out of a nursing convent, which is part of an Anglican religious order.
    When it was first advertised I was reluctant to watch it because of it being based in a religious convent. And the religion is a core part of the storyline.
    The series takes a positive slant on how religion impacts on the community.

    Despite that, I thoroughly enjoyed it. And I believe the reason is that its focus is on women – and women as a community.

     
    (As an aside I also wonder whether women find some kind of sanctuary in convents – away from men’s gaze. I have also often thought if convents, at some time, may have acted as women’s refuges do today, in providing a safe haven for women escaping abusive men. Rather ironic given that Church organisations are increasingly taking over women’s shelters here in Australia.)

     
    The programme does not shy away from the hardships and poverty that the women experience in this part of London. It tackles issues such as domestic violence, abortion (backstreet of course), teenage pregnancy, racism, miscarriages, poverty and the challenges of disability.

     
    For example, Saturday night’s programme was about a woman tramp, living on the streets in extreme poverty and racked with disease and illness. We learn that she has spent 30 years in a workhouse in London. She is forced to go there with her 5-6 children as a result of poverty. Her children are immediately removed from her – put in another section of the workhouse. She never sees them again – but knows that they have died because she can no longer hear their cries. The programme makes no effort to romanticise the terrible treatment that such women received under the Workhouse conditions.

     
    It is the heartbreaking stories that are handled both realistically and sympathetically which makes this such a successful programme.
    For me, however the success of the story is that it is about women – told from their perspective, highlighting their lives – and whilst it may romanticise the relationships in this community of women, and their relationship with the church, this is what I find most empowering about the programme. This is how women survive oppression – by standing by each other, by supporting each other, by being a community together.

     
    However, I am quickly brought back down to earth by watching on Sunday night – ‘World without End’. I understand that it is based on a book by Ken Follet, which I have not read and know nothing about.

    world without end

    It is set in the aftermath of a civil war in Medieval England, during the 1300’s. And aptly shows the difficulties, the violence and frailty of life in these times.

    The programme presented strong female characters – but also illustrated how misogynistic the society was. A woman is sold to a man for a cow; another is forced to marry in order to secure her father’s business interests – and is subjected to violence and rape; and the female healer of the town is labelled a witch and executed.

    And the backdrop of these happenings is the powerful church – and its blatant misogyny.

    I couldn’t but reflect on the different images of the church that these two programmes show.

    For centuries the church has demonised, ostracised, condemned and oppressed women. The Medieval Church helped lay the groundwork for the current misogyny of religion today. There is no doubt that the church today continues to be misogynistic. The oppression that women in the 1950’s faced, and continue to face today – such as anti-abortion laws; demonising of single mothers and teenage pregnancy and the cruelty shown towards women who don’t fit the norm – stem from a long history of oppression of women by the church.

    But somehow women survive; they create communities and allegiances and they struggle against their oppression.

  • 18Nov

    NOBODY GAVE US ANYTHING – Gerda Lerner

    feminist sign

    Our Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, who is also our Minister for Women, is a feminist.

    (He claimed his daughters helped him become one – https://www.dailylife.com.au/news-and-views/dl-opinion/tony-abbott-is-a-feminist-because-daughters-20140305-3467l.html)

    Yes he is male and he is the one our first female Prime Minister, Julia Gillard aimed her famous misogyny speech – at – because he undoubtedly behaved like one.

    ditch the witch
    But he has three daughters and a wife – so he must be a feminist, mustn’t he?
    However, our Foreign Minister – who is female – is not a feminist. After all she has enough white, upper class privilege to get her into the boys club.
    And neither is our female junior minister assisting the Minister for Women – she doesn’t want to be labelled as a whinging feminist either.
    But lots of famous people are coming out as feminists. Even some men want to be feminists too.
    It is nice to see that feminism is getting airplay again – that feminism is being noticed.
    Feminism has become mainstream!

    But be aware – be very aware.

    We do not want feminism to be captured by patriarchal, capitalist system – the very system that is at the core of the oppression of women.

    “Because the mere presence of our language in the mainstream, does not mean that it is correctly used, much less widely understood, sometimes the very opposite. Our language is often used against us, as Feminism is turned into a brand, as our complex political theory centuries in the making is reduced to catch phrases and slogans, manipulated to sell us everything from trainers to gym membership, manipulated to sell us lies; lies about our bodies, lies about our selves, lies about our potential, lies about our power.”  Finn Mackay

    As feminists we need to be aware of what feminism means for us. Just having the word in regular usage does not mean that the revolution is on its way. In fact it can mean that feminism and women’s oppression becomes diluted and meaningless. And of course that is what patriarchy would really like. It then becomes part of the backlash against feminism.

    “And in such a culture, everything becomes Feminist; and anything can be Feminist, and as a consequence Feminism becomes nothing, becomes meaningless.” Finn Mackay

    Feminism is about resistance to male dominance.

    Language is important.

    Some have framed feminism as about prejudice, hatred or fear.
    But this individualizes the issue and hides the patriarchal nature of subjugation of women.
    Describing violence against women as “hate crimes” makes invisible the structural and systemic nature of oppression.

    “In the radical framework, prejudice is not the cause of systemic oppression but a consequence or by-product of it.” Debbie Cameron

    She cites Liz Kelly:

    “Domestic violence, child sex abuse and rape are not rooted in fear and loathing of women or children as a group, but have more to do with men’s feelings of superiority and entitlement, their assumption that women and children exist for their benefit and may be controlled, exploited and abused with impunity. These are not crimes of hate, they are crimes of power and domination; but that in no way diminishes their impact on the lives of those who are or may become their victims.”

    Some would argue that feminism is about equality.
    But feminism isn’t just about equality – as Karen Ingla Smith so aptly puts it:

    “Equality is a condition of a just society, not a cure for an unjust one. So when I say feminism isn’t about equality, it’s about women’s liberation from men’s oppression, this is what I mean. Ending inequality is a big part of feminism, of course it is. But equality is impossible in the society that we have. That’s why feminists talk about smashing patriarchy because we need to think bigger.”

    The importance of language and how we use it.
    The importance of how feminism is framed and defined.
    Equality; choice; empowerment; agency – all words which have been usurped by patriarchy.

    Pornography and sexual violence is now about empowerment.
    Prostitution is about choice.
    Sex trafficking is liberating for third world women.

    And now we hear the call to include men in our feminism – to “invite men to be part of the solution”.
    Because “Not all men” movement has to be appeased.

    Because men have always been important.

    Because we live in patriarchy.

    ‘But it is also ludicrous to ask a liberation movement to frame itself in ways that will please or appease the beneficiaries of oppression. All men do and have benefited from patriarchy and the systemic oppression of women, whether they wanted to or not. Being unwilling to accept this is a serious obstacle to social change.” Michael Laxer

     

    “The silencing of women by men in the public sphere is deafening; the habit of overlooking and failing to respond to women’s subordination is entrenched, structural and serves men as a class. By insist on inclusion in feminism, once again, men’s wants and needs are prioritised over women’s and women’s subordination is reinforced.”Karen Ingala Smith

    Feminism is not about or for men; it is not about what they think.

    fem

     

    It is about giving women a voice.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    “The fact that the dominant culture has shifted from denying our existence and telling us our movement is dead to trying to tell us what our movement is and should be, is a sign of our success, is a sign of our momentum. We cannot be ignored any more, so now a new tactic is to acknowledge and incorporate, to celebrate and saturate, to dilute and water down our Movement and attack it at its radical roots all the while claiming to accept it – or at least a certain version of it. But ask yourselves what our Movement has to look like in order to be accepted by a culture that looks like this. Ask yourselves why we would ever want to fit in with a brutal, violent, compassionless system. Ask yourselves what truly revolutionary movement is ever going to be anything but threatening.” Finn Mackay

    Articles worth reading:
    Don’t blame Emma Watson’s speech for liberal feminist failures. Laura McNally
    Part of the problem: Talking about systemic oppression. Michael Laxer
    I would be ok with sticks and stones: Rebecca Mott.
    What does it look like, this equality that you speak of? Karen Ingala Smith
    Thanks and all, but no thanks: I don’t want men in my feminism. Karen Ingala Smith
    It’s time for feminists to Get In, not Lean In. Finn Mackay
    Minding our language. Debbie Cameron
    The Trouble with “Hate” Liz Kelly

    problems with feminism

  • 07Nov

     

    the awakening

    I have just finished reading this moving and absorbing book.

     
    My immediate impressions were that of loneliness, alienation, confinement and oppression. Kate Chopin reflects women’s oppression and alienation in their roles as mothers and wives at the end of the 19th Century.

     
    But sadly it is far too familiar for women in the 21st Century. It is a battle that women still struggle against.

     
    Interestingly, Kate Chopin’s original title was A Solitary Soul, which highlights the loneliness of women recognising that the role they are confined to, not only does not fit but is oppressive.

     

    The book is about Edna Pontellier‘s awakening to her authenticity as a woman and her inability to continue in her restrictive and false life as a mother and wife.

     

    “As the critic Per Seyersted phrases it, Kate Chopin “broke new ground in American literature. She was the first woman writer in her country to accept passion as a legitimate subject for serious, outspoken fiction. Revolting against tradition and authority; with a daring which we can hardy fathom today; with an uncompromising honesty and no trace of sensationalism, she undertook to give the unsparing truth about woman’s submerged life. She was something of a pioneer in the amoral treatment of sexuality, of divorce, and of woman’s urge for an existential authenticity. She is in many respects a modern writer, particularly in her awareness of the complexities of truth and the complications of freedom.” Rosemary F. Franklin 

     

    It is interesting to compare this with the short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.

    Both address the issue of women’s oppression and alienation within patriarchy. Both of the women central characters find that their only option is to rail against this oppression.
    I was discussing “The Yellow Wallpaper” with two other women who had different interpretations of the ending. One thought that Jane finally went crazy; the other saw her as committing suicide. I saw Jane as finally being able to liberate herself.

    Edna Pontellier finds her only solution is to commit suicide – to swim into the ocean, naked. This is her liberation.

    “She wanted to swim far out, where no woman had swum before.”

  • 23Oct

     

    Now I know this isn’t my post – and it is by a man – but it is very good and I strongly recommend having a look at it.

    Men’s Rights Activism: A Tale Of Rampant Misogyny And Powerful Insanity

     

    He raises a number of issues about men’s rights activism and its misogyny.

     

    “The Men’s Rights movement seems to be born from the idea that feminism has turned all males everywhere into victims. As we all know, being a man is tough these days. Sure you get paid way more, have lower costs for health insurance, don’t need to worry about being attractive during a job interview, and can play whatever sports you like without needing a court case, but that certainly evens out. I mean, can a man show cleavage to get out of a speeding ticket? Nope! Take that, feminists!”

    FEMINAZI

    He then goes on to talk about their activism around divorce and custody issues:

    “One branch of the Men’s Rights movement is an activist group of divorced dads called Fathers 4 Justice. Their aim is to stop courts from both making them pay child support, and keeping them from having custody of their children. The idea that their group’s cornerstone is wanting to see their kids and simultaneously not wanting to pay for their care is left suspiciously unmentioned. That said, who wants to pay for all the things they want? Wouldn’t everything be better if all the cool stuff in life was just free for everyone, all the time?”

    FATHER

    And then about male violence and rape:

    “They make the weak point that it’s sexist to frame rape as a male crime, but considering the fact that the overwhelming majority of rapes are committed by males, that’s kind of the equivalent of getting mad about someone saying all men who procure prostitutes just want sex. Some of them might very well just want to play a rousing game of Yahtzee with their hooker, but you’re only making yourself look like a dipshit for getting bent out of shape about it.”

    rapestatement

    A worthwhile read.

    https://www.eyeballcircus.com/2014/03/02/mens-rights/

  • 15Oct

    Sexual assault, rape, child sexual abuse – whatever it is called is about power not sex.

    safe_image.1php

    (From Greens Senator Sarah Hanson Young)
    And nowhere can this be exemplified but at Nauru where reports of sexual abuse of children in the Detention Centre have come to light.

    “The claims included that women inside the centre were being forced to strip and exchange sexual favours with guards so they could have access to the showers.
    There were also claims that children were being forced to have sex in front of guards at the centre.”

    Vulnerable and traumatised women and children.

    Refugees who have escaped horrific situations – war, torture and civil conflict – who have often spent years seeking refuge and safety.

    The most vulnerable of humanity. Locked up in concentration camps (detention centres) on a foreign, alien remote island.
    And those charged with their ‘care’. Working in an organisation whose structure is developed under an ideology of racism and misogyny which attempt in every way to dehumanise these vulnerable people.

    Every aspect of the detention of these people has been designed to humiliate and demean.
    So it is no surprise that in such an environment those in charge will abuse their power and sexually abuse women and children.
    And Scott Morrison, on behalf of the Australian government has responded in a typically patriarchal pattern.

    “The public don’t want to be played for mugs with allegations being used as some sort of political tactic in all of this.”
    “However, we note that the allegations by Senator Hanson-Young have been made publicly and in the context of broader political statements to discredit the government’s involvement in offshore processing.”

    Morrison

    For centuries women’s and children’s claims of male sexual violence have been met with suspicion, disbelief and contempt.

    When women and children have raised concerns of rape and sexual assault they have been dismissed, demonised and vilified.

    Called liars. Blamed for asking for it.
    This is a culture where the most vulnerable of women and children are dehumanised, called illegals, their human rights ignored.
    Treated with such inhumanity.
    It is therefore believable that those charged with “guarding” them would abuse their power to rape women and children – to treat them as less than human.
    This is patriarchy at its worst – misogynistic, racist and inhumane.
    When will this stop?

  • 01Oct

    Update:

    chief-justice-warns-lawyers-against-custody-case-pressure

    Chief Justice is asking that lawyers not pressure women into making agreements where there are concerns about violence and abuse.
    Of course what she is doing is deflecting responsibility from the court which we know is just as likely to order unsafe arrangements for women and children.

    And women face the possibility of punitive measures by the Family Court for raising allegations of abuse and violence.

    Abbey’s mother said this in response:

    “However, Abbey’s mother said she had spent 11 years navigating the family law and child-protection systems and did not give her consent willingly.

    She said she could not afford to challenge final orders in court, ­especially when she would have to fight the recommendations of the psychologist.”

    In May last year, Abbey (surname withheld) disclosed to her mother that her father sexually assaulted her repeatedly between the ages of three and seven.

    At 17 this Western Australian girl took her own life.

    Her father had just been released from jail after having been convicted of abusing her friend during sleepover visits. He was granted access visits to his children upon release from prison.

    “In my attempts to protect my children, I was treated as a hysterical woman by the Family Court, even though [the father] had been charged with child sexual offences at the time,” Abbey’s mother said.

    “I was made to look like a vindictive wife instead of what I was, a protective mother.”

    “Every week in Australia, the Family Courts are ordering children into contact with, and even into the custody of. parents who are dangerous, toxic and abusive because Family Courts do not have the powers, expertise, and resources to competently investigate allegations of child abuse,” Bravehearts founder Hetty Johnston

    Tragically there exists within the family law system, within child protection systems and in our community more broadly the belief that women vindictively make allegations of both domestic violence and child abuse, either to punish their ex-partner or to gain some kind of advantage in the family court.

    This has consistently been disseminated widely –  at the time of the Federal Parliamentary Inquiries into Family Law in 1996 and 2006.

    It is not based on reality.

    Numerous studies, both in Australia and overseas have unswervingly found that false allegations of child sexual abuse are rare indeed. (See also ‘Child Sexual Abuse Allegations and the Family Court‘)

    Let us look at some of the reasons why child sexual abuse allegations may arise following separation.

    1. Sexual abuse occurs after separation.

    Sexual abuse may occur when an abuser has unconstrained access to children, without the restrictions of the mother being present.
    The abuser may also sexually abuse children in order to punish the mother – as a result of his anger at the separation and loss of control over the mother.

    2. Disclosure of abuse following separation

    There are several reasons abused children may be more likely to disclose abuse and to be believed by the other parent.
    Children who are sexually abused sometimes experience a sense of responsibility for keeping the family together, and can be coerced to do so by the offending parent. This pressure lessens when the family splits.
    There is also diminished opportunity for the abusing parent to enforce secrecy, and increased opportunity for children to disclose abuse separately to their mother. The child may feel safe to report because the perpetrator is out of the picture and no longer able to punish her for disclosure.
    A child may disclose abuse when she realises that despite the separation she will continue to have unsupervised contact with the abuser during contact visits.

    3. Disclosure leads to separation

    A significant proportion of mothers on learning that their partner is sexually abusing the children will separate from him.
    It is likely that the sexual abuse, for a number of reasons, will not be revealed to any authorities, and it is only when the offender seeks contact with the child that the mother discloses the sexual abuse.

    The structure of the patriarchal family can be a perilous place for women and children.

    And the patriarchal systems – our legal systems and our child protection systems – are not going to seriously address this. Dealing with the reality of child sexual abuse confronts the whole ideology of patriarchy, the institution of the family, and male control.

    Bravehearts has launched a privately funded inquiry titled Abbey’s Project to uncover and reflect the experiences, testimony and outcomes for families and other stakeholders in their dealings with the Family Courts (and related child protection agencies) to better protect children against child sexual assault.

    “The community has had enough of these courts ignoring the testimony of children, banning access to all support to the families and children making allegations of harm for fear of the courts retribution, demonising the credibility of protective parents and destroying the lives of children.

    “We have seen the courts continually put the rights of repeat, dangerous and /or violent offenders and child sex predators above the safety of the most vulnerable members of the community.”

    For information on Abbey’s Project and how to make submissions to the royal commission, visit www.bravehearts.org.au

  • 22Sep
     burqa
                               (Lana Slezic produced a body of work on women in Afghanistan for the World Press) 
     

    Malalai Kakar

    She was murdered by the Taliban.

    “She was the pinnacle of strength in Kandahar at a time that was extremely difficult for Afghan women. She was the first female police officer in Kandahar and stood for the rights of women.
    “All the women of Kandahar knew who she was and knew they could come to her with their problems. Problems like domestic violence, rape forced marriage.”

     

    But PUP Senator, Jacqui Lambie uses this image for the purposes of creating fear, bigotry, racism and violence.

    She depicts this brave woman who gave her life in her struggle for freedom for Afghan women as a violent threat to Australians.

    Next to this photo she calls for the banning of the burqa.

    Not because the burqa is a symbol of oppression for women but for security reasons.

    She is saying we should be afraid of this woman; we should be afraid of those who are not like us.
    I wonder what Jacqui would say to this image.

    nun habit

    And if we are talking about the oppression of women let’s not forget the Catholic Church and its opposition to abortion and divorce.

     

    Cardinal_George_Pell
    The image of this man is a reminder of the Catholic Church’s protection of child sexual abusers. What is hiding underneath his cloak?

    What does Jacqui and our Australian government say about the extreme right Christians in America who have bombed abortion clinics.

    Or what the Judaist religion says about women.

    In Judaism there is a daily prayer which says “I thank god that I was not born a woman.”
    I once had a Jewish colleague refuse to shake my hand in case I was menstruating and therefore deemed dirty.

    Let’s face it all of our major religions are patriarchal.

    And this is what this is all about. It is about patriarchal power and control.

    It is about competing patriarchies and their quest for control of resources and power.

    It is about patriarchal militarism and their intent to destroy.

    It is the women and children who are the victims of such wars. Women have been considered the spoils of war in so many conflicts.

    Women as collateral damage in men’s wars.

    So back home to the “degrade and destroy” Australia.

    Jacqui Lambi is not alone in creating fear and hatred in our community.

    The Australian government has led the world in its determination to go to war – to send troops to Iraq; to kill and maim, to degrade and destroy.

    And part of that process has been instilling in the Australian people hatred of the “other”.

    Their goal is to terrify and to create widespread fear.

    Mamamia has reported  – “So frightened are some in Australia’s Muslim community that a Facebook group dedicated to support for victims of hate crimes against Muslims was set up this week. Group members use the page to report instances of abuse and swap tips on how to stay safe. Posts like these feature on the page:

    “Early last week in the early evening A sister (was walking home) when a few guys came upon her and tried to burn off her hijab… She was a international student and is now wanting to go back home due to feeling traumatised and insecure.”

    “Two days ago, a group of men tried to rip the hijab off a sisters head at Garden City.”

    “Yesterday at 5pm, a sister from Logan was threatened by a guy that he would burn her house down.”

    And it is the women in their burqas, hijabs and their headdresses who will the focus of the bigotry and racism that is being invoked in Australians.

    Yes the burqa is a symbol of women’s oppression.

    Yes I will celebrate the day when no woman is required to cover herself and become invisible.

    I will also rejoice when women are not the victims of war, of rape, of violence and abuse in their homes
    There are many forms of oppression against women. We will not overcome this oppression by violent oppression of those we consider “others”.

    To quote a friend:
    “In her pursuit of populist media trumpeting, Lambie has desecrated and insulted the memory of this honourable and courageous woman.
      If women choose to wear a burqa, bikini, religious habit, goth gear, high fashion, low fashion or nothing at all, that is their decision.

    Our courts are not over flowing with woman wearing burqas but they are full of men in everyday clothes who have committed some fairly heinous crimes against women and children.

    Can we please turn our attention to the ‘real’ terrorists hiding in this country.

    The Malalai’s of this world speak for me not the bigots and racists. The world needs more Malalais and less Jacqui Lambies.”

    sept 11

    Women are murdered, raped, mutilated, humiliated, imprisoned, impoverished, appropriated, manipulated, marginalised and any one of a number of acts of violence, all over the world.” (Browyn Winter in the excellent book edited by Susan Hawthorne and Bronwyn Winter, published by Spinifex Press)

       unmaking warAnother book worth reading by Kathleen Barry