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“Domestic Violence” or “Family Violence” have recently captured the public’s attention as three high-profile cases have emerged due to the tragic loss of life for the victims.
Luke Batty, the daughters of Charles Mihayo and the recent death of Fiona Warzywoda highlight an immediate need for change when it comes to legislating and protecting possible victims of DV.
But who is responsible?
If you ask Palmer United Party candidate Brian Woods, he would state the victim or “woman”.
“Only a wanker thinks men should challenge their mates on this issue”.
Brian Woods was an ALP member for five years and until recently was the President and Chairman of the Katter Australian Party’s Melbourne branch. It seems he has no trouble leaving when things no longer suit his needs, but his reactive comments speak volumes about the societal constructs of the way violence in domestic partnerships is viewed.
The stats provide pretty powerful evidence that this IS a men’s issue too.
“The majority of violence against men is committed by other men. Of men who reported that they had experienced physical violence in the 12 months before the survey, 73.7% said that the perpetrator was a male.”
If this is the case, wouldn’t it make sense for men to have some kind of intelligent discourse surrounding these tragedies? Women are already doing that as they strive to find ways of protecting themselves and/or their children from possible harm or death. I am sure there are many men who also find Woods’ comments insulting to their gender as they are already openly discussing DV.
What is also so disturbing about the comments is the victim blaming. These issues are extremely complex and are not able to be rectified by a simple “leaving of the home”, which is why it makes absolutely no logical sense to blame the victim. Fiona Warzywoda’s case proves beyond a doubt that victims who leave are sometimes in a more volatile and vulnerable position than if they stay. All three tragedies were exacerbated as a result of separation. Is it this issue that we should be focusing on in order to create some kind of solution for this problem? The stigma, heartache and feelings of failure that are entwined with family breakdowns clearly become too much for both genders to cope with.
An analysis of the ABS Women’s Safety Survey revealed that “Women who were separated were more likely to experience violence than married women. These findings reflect the stressful nature of separation itself. It may be the case that violence follows separation, or the decision to separate is due to violence in the relationship…studies indicate that leaving a violent partner may increase the risk of more severe, or even lethal, violence.”
DV is everyone’s business, irrespective of gender. We, as a society, need to stop blaming each other and work through the gender-specific jargon tolook more closely at WHY these incidences occur.
I am not sure how these issues are going to be solved. I don’t know how to protect people from violence, especially when that violence comes from a loved one. Domestic or family violence can affect anyone, regardless of their social or cultural capital. The current legislation and avenues for victims of DV to seek protection are not working. If we are to affect any kind of change to decrease the occurrence of these heinous crimes we NEED men to have some kind of important discussions and challenge the societal constructs that have been pushed down our throats forever, since the first caveman dragged “his” cavewoman by the hair back to their lair.
My advice to men?
So long as there are Brian Woods in the world offering their “sagely” advice, I would say please be “wankers”.