James James Morrison Morrison, Wetherby George Dupree,
Took good care of his mother, though he was only Three.
James, James, said to his mother, “Mother” he said said he,
You must never go down to the end of the town if you don’t go down with me.

A.A. Milne

Not even a token effort from the Minister for Women?
Not even a token effort from the Minister for Women?

There seems to be a failure for the current Minister for Women to address the issue of over 60,000 women experiencing violence from partners or former partners. Notably some months back, he showed his lack of support by not wearing the white ribbon his own Liberal colleagues were wearing in support of Women’s issues in parliament! Everyone seemed to have noticed at the time. It gave rise to pondering that he could perhaps address the issue by reversing the closing down of women’s shelters his government had been doing till that point in time. Perhaps he believed that providing no safe haven for abused women is his way of ensuring these dysfunctional couples stay together. Perhaps we need to educate Men, not to be such emotionally unstable, temperamental control freaks like perhaps the Liberal government are? Concerned about divorce rates? How about concerning yourself about one of the major causes? Violence! And who predominately is the cause of it? Men!

Outcome for women?

These are the old Stats, we have increased our rates of killing Women to 2 a week
These are the old Stats, we have increased our rates of killing Women to 2 a week

Within only the first six months of 2015 there had been 48 deaths by women via violence maintaining a close to 2/wk average. There were 89 women were killed by their current or former partner between 2008-10 reaching 84 deaths of women last year (2014). At the current rate we do worse than previous years. With that outcome a distinct possibility what are our government’s response? Still women’s shelters have continued to be de-funded in this country. Even the announcement for $4M for a Domestic Violence hotline is a small amount compared to what would be needed to run shelters (which undoubtedly the LNP has made huge economic savings on by stripping away finances). So this is essentially tokenism on the part of the government designed for maximising publicity and deflecting bad public relations at a relatively low cost. It is an illusion to garner the public’s gratitude that they are doing something for this cause, in the hope that no one notices that the total sum of effort has still been a withdrawal of support for the victims of domestic violence! It seems an oddly cynical and manipulative gesture. But this is the output, generated on behalf of women, by their minister. The one that forgot his white ribbon.

Victim Blaming

So much focus on advising Women how to avoid violence, evading rape by wearing concealing clothes (except if it a burqa because that is apparently hiding too much), not being targeted by walking thru the “wrong” parts of town, but little on telling Men to just stop! In fact men’s behaviour change programs in Victoria were cut completely by the government. Blaming women for men’s violence has been entrenched in society for a long time. Changing the way they dress, not leaving home without a chaperone – especially after dark and “down to the end of town“, even the extraordinary level of criticism should a woman express an opinion. You’d be forgiven for thinking I was discussing a Taliban style regime rather than Australia. Whereas, credit is attributed to Men for providing “good advise” on issues of women’s safety as “James James” does in Mr Milne’s little poem. Verdict:- Men: good and wise but occasionally mislead. Women: foolish and enticing the violence or allure. Our judges and society and media propagate this view and who would present an alternative if it wasn’t for these lefty, angry, social misfits from the likes of “Destroy the Joint” and other “feminist” ramblings. While this sort of view (as expressed by the last sentence) continues to permeate male thinking we will never be closer to having Men accept responsibility for their actions and change how they relate to women. Certainly, Abbott’s leadership example nor his shutting down of women’s shelters and legal protections are going to move men further in their attitudes to learn to curb their violence and learn responsibility and courtesy to women.  The reality is that most men couldn’t recognise misogyny in others, much less themselves.