• 24Feb

    margaret atwood fear

    First off let me say that I hate the term ‘family violence’, and am even beginning to lament our use of ‘domestic violence’. It makes it all nicely neatly packaged as a personal problem within families – nobody really to blame.

    It is MALE VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN.

    This is the problem. This is why women are being killed, beaten, raped, imprisoned, violated, controlled, constrained – are scared, are unable to live freely.

    Because of MALE VIOLENCE!!!

    And it is not only male violence in the home – it is male violence in the street, in the workplace, in public places. Women are not safe from male violence anywhere.
    So when QandA announce they are doing a programme on ‘family violence’ we are supposed to be grateful that at last the issue is getting some national coverage on the ABC.

    qandapic
    Well we had the controversy even before the programme aired. Women were rightly annoyed that the composition of the panel was majority male – 3 male guests, 2 female guests and of course, Tony Jones hosting. The complaints about the makeup of the panel were responded to by the oft cited reason –

    “We have to engage the men in addressing family violence”.
    It speaks volumes that in order to engage men, it is other men who have to speak. Women’s voices are not valid.
    The unequal representation of women on the panel says it all really about how we evaluate women’s voices –how women’s voices are not heard; are viewed as being less valuable, less important, less knowledgeable; how we manage to silence women.
    And let’s talk about knowledge. I do not want to hear from men about male violence against women. Women are the experts here. We are the ones who live with violence, the threat of violence every day of our lives. And if men are not willing to sit down quietly, shut up and listen to what that means for women; listen to our experiences of violence; listen to what we have learnt about men and violence – then nothing will change.
    The panel appeared to acknowledge that male violence was about power and control – whilst the men enacted their power and control over the discussion.
    Clem Ford has written about this in Daily Life:

    “Gender inequality is one of the key drivers of men’s violence against women. Limiting the access women have to both participate in and lead discussions that are politically and culturally important isn’t just related to the structures of violence that oppress us – it is a fundamental part of its very foundation. It isn’t good enough for women to just be given a scrap of space to speak, particularly when it’s about matters that directly affect our lives.”

    Intimate Partner Terrorism

    But then we heard that Intimate Partner Terrorism is the extreme end of violence – and they are sociopaths/narcissist – and not the majority. The majority of violence is about relationship problems. (Counsellor for Men and Families Simon Santosha on the panel.)

    I had the privilege of going to a seminar presented by Liz Kelly recently.

    And Georgina Dent has written an article prior to the QandA show citing Liz Kelly.

    “Kelly established the concept of sexual violence occurring on a continuum and identified common elements in different types of violence and connecting them to structural gender inequality.”
    “The everyday is connected to the extreme and it’s connected in two ways. First in terms of women’s experiences but it’s also connected in the sense that it’s not deviant, crazy men who do this,” she says “There are some crazy and deviant men but the majority are relatives, colleagues, or friends. A lot of this violence is normalised; it’s only by challenging it and identifying it that we perceive it as violence.”

    liz kelly

    There is too much talk about psychological explanations for men’s violence – talk about mental health issues; about drug and alcohol being the cause. It came up frequently last night.
    And then of course came the argument that it is the result of men feeling disempowered – perhaps because women are beginning to be empowered??

    Natasha Stott-Despoja’s repeated argument was that gender inequality is at the core of the issue of male violence against women. They all agreed but there was no in-depth discussion about this. There were no suggestions made about how we can create change in the power imbalance between men and women.
    But we have to make sure we take care of men’s feelings – their feelings of shame and embarrassment and their feelings of disempowerment – because if they don’t they just might get violent.

    ENTRENCHED MISOGYNY

    There were lots of good questions from women in the audience. Perhaps the best was the video question from Megan Hale:

    “I am nineteen, I have been sexualised by men my whole life. I do not feel safe when I am alone in public and my experiences have taught me that boys my age feel entitled to my body. I do not feel equal to men in Australian society at all. Can the men on the panel acknowledge that there is a lot of entrenched misogyny in Australia, and what are they going to do to get other men to take gender inequality and male violence seriously?”

    “Entrenched misogyny” – what a great term. And her question was barely responded to. Little acknowledgement from the panel that this exists for all women and no analysis of how this could be addressed.

    WHAT ABOUT MALE VICTIMS?

    And of course we had the tweets – “not all men are abusers”; “what about the men”.

    They can’t allow women to speak; to have a voice without involving the “poor men”.
    This was followed by Steve Khouw asking about male victims and citing dodgy statistics about male victims and female perpetrators.

    “But what I want to know, is why it has to be the very small, flickering torchlight that we place on women that needs to be shared with disempowered men, rather than the massive stage lights that are normally shining on men that need to be shared.”
    “Violence against women is not an issue of ‘why don’t women leave’ or ‘how can we support men who are violent to control their emotions’, it is about how do we fundamentally shake up the building blocks of our society to give women more power, and in doing so, remove the ‘right’ of some men to be violent.”Julie McKay, Daily Life

    What would have been the impact if ABC had chosen an all female panel – with a female host? Would their voices have had legitimacy? Would men have bothered to listen?

    “To end male violence against women, we need to end male power, and dismantle all the institutions that uphold male supremacy. It is this power that creates and is reinforced by male violence against women. We will never end male violence by believing that we can change one man at a time, though sensitising education programmes. We will never end male violence against women by being gentle to men and sympathetic to the harms of masculinity to men, not without destroying the institutions that uphold and create male supremacy. We will never end male violence against women, against children, even against other men, if we fail to recognise and name men as the overwhelming primary perpetrators of almost all forms of violence.” Karen Ingalas Smith.

    Male violence against women is a women’s issue – because women are the ones who constantly live with the consequences of male violence. I don’t want to hear a male perspective on this. I want men to listen to women. I am not responsible for changing men’s behaviour. If men are truly interested in change then they need to listen to women.

    Gillian Middleton Gillian Middleton’s photo

    As Liz Kelly said in her seminar in Adelaide – yes we need changes in social policy; yes we need legislative change; but what we really need is a feminist revolution.

    Women murdered and missing by known and suspected male violence Australia 2015

    real for women

    #countingdeadwomen

    dtj14

  • 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

  • 06Jan

     

    “How Certain Efforts To Prevent Human Trafficking Are Proving To Be Hurtful”

    This is an interesting article from Holly Smith.

     

    trafficked woman
    She expresses concerns about the use of extreme examples of the harms done to women and girls through child sex trafficking – the images of bound, gagged and tortured girls to raise awareness about sex trafficking.

    “As I continued to speak, I began to notice posters displayed at many of these awareness events. They often portrayed girls who were beaten, drugged or tied to beds, or something similar to indicate circumstances of force and bondage.
    None of these images represented my experience. I wasn’t abducted from my bedroom; I wasn’t held in shackles, and I was never in fear for my life. I began to question whether or not I was a victim of sex trafficking.
    And, then, I stopped sharing my story.”

    She describes her own story of being lured, not forced or coerced into prostitution.

    Her experience when telling her story was that people began to question why she did not leave if she was not being physically forced to stay in prostitution – why she chose to continue as a “willing victim”. She argues that this can make girls and women feel that they were somehow to blame for their victimisation.

    “I again felt like that 14-year-old girl who had been misunderstood, judged and blamed by law enforcement, family members and friends.”

    This resonated for me in our advocacy work around other forms of male violence against women and children, such as domestic violence.

     

    When we raise awareness of male violence against women we use images which we hope will shock and make people sit up and take notice.

    Pictures of bruises and injuries; statistics about deaths and injuries are powerful ways of creating the attention that is needed.
    These images fail to take into account those women who do not necessarily experience physical violence – or where physical violence is only the tip of the iceberg of abuse. They also do not reflect the complexity of male violence against women and children – the grooming, the establishment of dependency and forced isolation, the coercive control that men place on women.
    Neither does it recognize other abusive behaviours such as financial abuse, emotional abuse and the many other forms of male abuse that men use to dominate and control women.
    When we create in the minds of the public this image of battered women are we doing a disservice to other forms of abusive behaviour that women experience?
    We hold women responsible for many things, including their own victimization. If there are no bruises, no injuries are we setting up women to be blamed for not leaving, for not escaping from abusive relationships, as Holly began to experience in telling her story?

    “They can unintentionally cause the public to project blame onto those whose backgrounds and spirits are so broken that they fail to see a life in prostitution as something from which they need to be “rescued.””

    “We must never interrogate a child victim about his or her actions, or lack of actions. We must, instead, question which factors would drive a child to become a “willing victim,” and we must hold the perpetrator(s) accountable, not the child.”

    This holds equally for women trapped in abusive relationships.
    Holly Smith is the author of “Walking Prey: How America’s Youth are Vulnerable to Sex Slavery.”

    walking prey
    “Holly is a survivor of child sex trafficking and an advocate against all forms of human trafficking and child exploitation. She works with survivors of abuse, anti-trafficking organizations, and pro-empowerment programs across the globe.”

  • 03Jan

    “Domestic Violence does not go ‘awry’

    Louise Pennington’s article challenges the idea that women making contact with police authorities is the simple answer to stopping domestic violence. She points out that the reality is that the system consistently fails to protect women from abuse, violence and murder.

    “Women know that the greatest risk to their life and that of their children is leaving the relationship. Several reports on research in the US suggest that the majority of physical violence resulting in hospitalisation occurs after separation and that the majority of male offenders are not living with women they abuse.”

    “Neither the family court system, criminal justice system nor government services are adequate to deal with domestic violence. Like the tweet above which suggests that one phone call will render everything hunky-dory, the system does not prioritise the safety of victims. Instead, it holds the victim responsible for ‘allowing’ the abuse to continue and completely erases the perpetrator.”

    She also contests the use of language by commentators, including the authorities, when domestic violence leads to deaths. It is common in media reporting of murders in domestic violence situations – murders committed by violent males for discussions centre on mental health issues, fathers’ rights and the regular excuses made by domestic violence perpetrators and the systems that support them.

    We will hear a lot about father’s rights and nasty women preventing fathers from seeing their children, as though domestic violence has no impact whatsoever on the emotional and physical wellbeing of children in the house. We won’t talk about men’s entitlement to women’s bodies. We won’t take about the fact that police are statistically more likely to be perpetrators of domestic abuse than the general population and that it is these very perpetrators who are being sent out to investigate domestic violence in the wider community.

    Louise Pennington is a feminist writer and activist who works as the development officer for the campaign and training organisation Ending Victimisation and Blame.

    She blogs at My Elegant Gathering of White Snows and the Huffington Post (UK).

    She has recently founded A Room of Our Own: A Feminist Network  which aims to combat cultural femicide by archiving and sharing the work of women who self-define as feminists and womanists.

    A Room of Our Own collects blogs, Tumblr, YouTube channels art, music, photography and any other medium in which women express themselves.

    room of our own

  • 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.”

     

  • 21Oct

    Update:

    “The up-to-date research and information now available makes it clear that the present practices can no longer be justified and the custody court system must create the necessary reforms to protect the safety of children and protective mothers in domestic violence custody cases. This article will discuss ten reasons we know the custody court system is broken and must be reformed.”

    https://www.nomas.org/node/168

    Parental Alienation

    family law hammer

    If there is one symbol of misogyny and patriarchy within family law it must be the use of the concept of parental alienation.
    Parental alienation epitomises how the patriarchal legal system has viewed women within our western civilisation.
    It views women as vindictive liars – out to destroy men and fatherhood. It deems women as pathological – not the norm; not male.
    And the intended result is to negate and trivialise male abuse of women and children. It denies and minimises the impact and severity of domestic violence and child abuse.

    problems with feminism

    (Taken from https://www.facebook.com/shoutoutaustralia)

    In basic terms, parental alienation takes the position that when a mother raises concerns about child abuse and domestic violence following separation – in a bid to protect her children from exposure to further abuse – that her allegations are likely to be false. That her motivations include revenge and vindictiveness against her ex-partner.
    And most importantly it is seen as an effort to deny men/fathers the inalienable right to their children.

    It is about male ownership and control.

    The parental alienation syndrome was originally developed by Richard Gardner (1931-2003). It was based solely on his own (biased) clinical experience with little objective basis and lacks any empirical basis.
    Gardner also had bizarre beliefs about sexuality. He is quoted as stating that:

    “adult-child sex need not be intrinsically harmful to children.”

    Parental alienation syndrome is grounded in misogynistic views and reflects a mother-blaming ideology.

    ALIENATION AS A DYNAMIC OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

    What we do know – and there is empirical evidence – is that alienation is a pattern of control used by male abusers in domestic violence and child sexual abuse.
    The use of denigration of mothers is part of the pattern of both child sexual abuse and domestic violence.
    And then when the mother separates from the abuser, perpetrators of domestic violence use custody litigation as a form of ongoing harassment and abuse of mother.

     

    Chesler

    Alienation theory and its continued use reflect historical and societal denial of the extent of male violence within the family.

    wsas

    I would highly recommend Liz Library – lots of useful information about child custody, family law and parental alienation.

    Other websites: Women’s Safety After Separation

      WEAVE Inc

     

    And another useful book which examines how perpetrators use of controlling tactics:

    Batterer as Parent

     

  • 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?

  • 09Oct

    shelta-logo

    Women’s House Brisbane recently highlighted their concerns about the potential loss of women’s only services in Queensland.

    “Women’s House is outraged at the recent loss of many valuable services for women and children, in particular, domestic violence refuges in New South Wales. Staff at Women’s House believe that women’s refuges in Queensland will be put out to tender next year.”

    This issue was raised in my previous post on this, where Women’s refuges were put out to tender earlier this year in NSW.

    This has led to smaller specialist domestic violence refuges losing their funding to larger generic welfare organizations – many of them religious. And as the article points out, they “have an appalling record in relation to survivors of violence” – just take a look at Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
    Over 20 refuges in NSW have been de-funded. Larger generic organizations are able to offer cheaper services by cutting specialized services for women and children.

     

     

    Australia is not alone in this backlash against feminist services.

     

    Karen Ingala Smith has been interviewed by Socialist Resistance.

    OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

    Karen is the chief executive of nia, a charity with a feminist ethos supporting women who have suffered sexual and domestic violence in the U.K.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     
    “We’ve lost too many specialist women’s organisations and it is continuing. It’s harder and harder for independent women-led organisations to survive, and the fight to survive takes away energy that we should be spending on supporting women, girls and children and campaigning for change.”
    Tenders are going to large organizations that aren’t specialist women’s organizations. She gives an example:

    “The local area did not lose refuge spaces but in order to meet the lower contract value, the new organisation managed to circumvent employment protection laws and made all the existing staff team redundant, offering them new contracts at lower rates, more hours per week and less annual leave. Most accepted. Since then, as staff left and new ones were recruited, salaries were offered at lower rates. With this sort of contracting the central focus becomes not ‘What could we do for women and children with this money?’ but ‘How could we deliver the specification outlined in this contract – and nothing more – for the least possible cost?’”

    Both articles point out the importance of feminist, women’s specialist and women-only services.

    “It means that our work names male violence and that services are provided in a framework which recognises that there are inequalities between women and men in society, and that male violence against women and girls is both a cause and a consequence of inequality. That we don’t see male violence against women as reducible to individual acts perpetrated by individual men, but as a key instrument of men’s domination of women, supported and normalised by patriarchal institutions, attitudes and social norms and values.”

    It is not just about delivery of services but about activism and awareness-raising about male violence against women and children. It is about recognizing that male violence against women and children is not about individual pathology – it’s a social problem embedded in our patriarchal society.

    “Women’s refuges in Australia have a proud legacy and wealth of experience and skills in working with women and children who have experienced violence and abuse. Refuge workers have a well-developed understanding of the nature and impact of violence against women and children. They understand that women are not to blame for the violence perpetrated against them and that rather, it is part of a much wider systemic problem.”

    “For the sake of women and their children who are desperate to break free from abuse, Women’s House urges the Queensland government not to follow the course taken by NSW. It is essential that the Queensland government funds refuges that have a specialised focus on women and children and a diversity of services which meet the variety of needs required by those affected by violence.”

    Women’s House opened the first domestic violence refuge in Queensland in 1974. It has a public office in Woolloongabba and provides services for women who have experienced domestic violence and sexual assault.” .

    Woollongabba Womens House is a cooperative that runs Women’s Shelters in and around Woollongabba in Brisbane’s inner South.

     

    Karen also runs a blog which counts women who have been killed.

    counting-dead-women-montage

     

    And here is the updated number from Australia’s Destroy the Joint

    dtj counting dead

    Good enough reason one would think!

  • 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

  • 13Sep

    ANC protest

    Members of the ANC Women’s League protest outside the court in Pretoria. Photo: Getty

    Two events have headlined our news this week and both were about men murdering women and children.
    And both events were spoken about and enacted from a male, patriarchal voice.
    This week Oscar Pistorius was found not guilty of murdering his partner, Reeva Steenkamp, who he killed.
    The Judge believed Oscar’s account of being afraid of an intruder.
    The judge believed his account, although there was no other evidence to support his claim.
    She did not believe in Reeva Steenkamp’s fear, despite evidence that she had reason to be afraid.

    “The man she was scared of caused her death. Steenkamp was, ultimately, right to be afraid.”
    “His fears count, hers are dismissed.” (Sarah Ditum)

    The legal system’s voice is that of male patriarchy.

    The second event was the murder of Kim Hunt and her three children Fletcher, Mia and Phoebe Hunt by Geoff Hunt who then committed suicide.
    And here the media represents the male voice.
    We find news reports sympathising with the father –

    “You couldn’t get a better bloke. The most gentle, considerate bloke… a pillar of society.”

    Nina Funnell nails it when she says:

    “If a man walked into a classroom, pulled out a gun and shot three children and a teacher, before turning the gun on himself, we’d call it a massacre, and we’d call him a vicious murderer.

    Yet when a man walks into his own home and shoots his three children and his wife before turning the gun on himself, he’s remembered in the press as a loving family man who was under some strain.”

    Silences the voices of victims of male violence – the voices of women and children.

    Nina Funnell correctly writes that the media depiction of male violence against women and children both reframes and minimises domestic violence.
    It treats each event as separate and discrete, as one tragic event.
    But we know that domestic violence and the murder of women and children by their male partners is a repeated pattern in our society.

    counting dead women
    Every year 75 Australian women are killed by their partners or ex-partners, according to national homicide data.

    Every year violence against women is the single largest contributor to the public health burden of illness, injury and premature death for women aged 15-45.

    terrorism and dv
    Catherine MacKinnonAs Catherine MacKinnon writes:

    “Acts of violence against women are regarded not as exceptional but inevitable, even banal, in an unexceptional context, hence beyond no pale.”
    “If women in everyday life are not formally considered combatants, with combatants’ rights, neither do they effectively receive the benefits the law of war confers on civilians during combat,” writes MacKinnon, adding that: “most men who commit violence against women are legally considered neither soldiers nor criminals, yet often receive the effective impunity that is the benefit of both.”

    stop ignoring dead women

    Karen Ingala Smith