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V-Day Melbourne Legal “The Vagina Monologues” 2013

Join some brave, bold & inspirational women from Melbourne’s Legal community on Tuesday 30 April 2013 in a performance of the award-winning play by Eve Ensler, “The Vagina Monologues”, and help raise money to end violence against women and girls.

vagina

 

All ticket proceeds will be donated as follows:

  • 90% will benefit CASA House (department of the Royal Women’s Hospital) to be used for its Sexual Assault Prevention Program for Secondary Schools; and
  • 10% will benefit this year’s V-Day Spotlight Campaign. In 2013, the Spotlight is ONE BILLION RISING which draws global attention to the U.N. statistic that one in three women on the planet will be raped, beaten, or mutilated in her lifetime.

To book just visit https://vdaymelblegal2013.eventbrite.com and support this vital cause!

Brian McFadden and Domestic Violence

Just after lunch today for reasons only known to himself, a celebrity  shared his views on Domestic Violence.

Brian's contribution to the discussion of Domestic Violence

Brian’s contribution to the discussion of Domestic Violence

According to Boy Band Singer and not very smart person Brian McFadden, women who are the victims of domestic violence are “Just as Bad” as the “Men who hit” them and apparently both are “pathetic”. Since starting this blog Domestic Violence and in particular the need for men to no longer accept, tolerate or stay silent on the matter has been a theme of a number of articles I have written. While you could go back and read them now I will boil it down very simply particularly for the likes of B. McFadden. Domestic Violence is NEVER ok, it has huge impacts on the victim, the family & children and as a society and as men more broadly we have a long way to go to make acceptable in roads into this most horrible of crimes.

Let me outline a few simple facts, 1 in 4 Australian women have experienced DV, of those 20% experienced it for the first time while they were pregnant,  Ninety percent of children present in violent homes have witnessed the 
violence perpetrated against their mother and Domestic Violence is responsible for more ill health and premature death in Victorian women under the age of 45 than any other of the well known risk factors including high blood pressure, obesity and smoking.

And yet Brian would have you believe that the fault is shared equally among the perpetrator and the victim. Does that include the dead victims Brian? Are you saying a quarter of Australian women are “just as bad” as those men who beat them? And in your moment of genius contribution please tell me you didn’t deliberately lay equal blame on the victim of violent assault while pregnant? And the Pathetic bit, how are any of these women pathetic Brian?

There is a broader problem here, while many of us who work with victims of Domestic Violence (most far more experienced than I) do our best in a variety of ways; I work largely with those victims whom have found themselves in the prison system (A small contribution), my mother works 2 jobs in the DV field and is the president of an organisation that supplies 6 different services to women and their families (a huge contribution): we often only get to help victims once the violence has taken place. Brian and his fellow celebrities intent on spreading their wisdom have access through social media and other platforms to spread a view before, during and after DV to tens of thousands of impressionable young men and women, boys and girls. Some of whom may now think, thanks to their music hero, that as men only half the responsibility is on their shoulders and as women and girls that the blame is equally theirs, they are “just as bad” and “pathetic”.

Is it any wonder the figures are so shocking? Is it any wonder why so many victims cannot in fact leave, cannot tell anyone and are unable to seek nor find justice.

Is it any wonder then Brian that I at least find your comments to be disgusting, your views completely wrong and I can only hope you either take the time to be educated by those who know better or kindly shut the fuck up! And tell fellow singer Chris Brown to do the same!

If you are the victim of Domestic Violence you are a victim of crime, please take the time to contact http://www.dvcs.org.au/

http://www.lifeline.org.au/

or 000 in an emergency.

Domestic Violence – A conversation and a book to win.

Domestic Violence – A Matter of Life & Death

On Monday night’s ABC 4 Corners program presented a truly disturbing report on Domestic Violence – How authorities are failing to protect women and children in mortal danger, and failing to prevent their partners’ homicidal rage.

For those who have not seen the program it is simply compulsory viewing (View HERE )  and perhaps a step, the first of many, we all must take to make sure that in 10 years time a similar program cannot be made again because the crimes have been prevented. In many conversations around Domestic Violence often comes a hint that there is an acceptance that this is a crime that will continue forever. Imagine if we had held the same view about lynching and public execution. Neither the crime nor its inevitability are in any way acceptable and a conversation must take place across our entire community on this issue.

For decades a small section of our community have dedicated their lives to ending Domestic Violence and supporting those who have been its victims. Largely they are women working in under resourced offices, for disgracefully low pay and in sometimes very dangerous conditions. Many survive on shoe string budgets that must be begged for on a yearly basis as budget time rolls around and state governments find easy ways to slash their own costs. Despite the very real impact, life long, to both the victims and society Domestic Violence never rates a mention as a priority come election time. This is despite nearly 1 in 3 women being victims of Domestic Violence at some point in their life and each year over 130 Australians, mostly women, being murdered by the people closest to them. The impact on children is immeasurable and often unspeakable. But we must speak!

Can we possibly imagine another issue that destroys the lives of so many being treated with such neglectful silence?

It is the silence, the lack of conversation in society, the limited space in our community where those who work so hard are confined and the loneliness and isolation of the victims that must be addressed. There are many famous quotes about silence and the lack of conversation being an injustice and allowing bad things to happen. But in this context I do not look for inspiration, but reality.

Silence, Something about silence makes me sick ‘Cause silence can be violent Sorta like a slit wrist!

When it comes to Domestic Violence silence is literally deadly and the cloak of the conversation must be spread to cover our entire society, so that it provides comfort to those who live as its victims & survivors and know that they are not alone, so that it impacts the hearts and minds of politicians, sends a call to action to law enforcement and the criminal justice system and reminds those who battle away each day against this issue that we appreciate their work and seek to support them in any way we can.

The startling reality of Monday night for me was that the conversation I observed in social media was largely being had by women. This of course is of no real surprise but it must change, the conversation must shift also to include ALL men. The women’s movement, the civil rights movement etc of course all had an organic rise amongst the oppressed, but it was not until the oppressor was shown both the error of his ways and the real need for change that a societal shift could take place.

So this is simply a call to action, action in the shape of a conversation on the issue of Domestic Violence. In the vast ocean that is this issue many great organisations and workers have thrown large boulders. This is simply my attempt to throw a small stone and hope that its ripples unite with yours and together we may build a tidal wave that reaches all corners of our society.

And to further that cause I am offering as a prize a signed copy of a new book, Crazy Bitch: A Portrait of Domestic Violence? by Domestic Violence support worker Danielle Neves.

This book is not for the faint hearted, the language fits the perpetrators of this kind of crime. The words used in this book are what you would expect from violent men who abuse women. Once you get over the shock you see just how clever this book is in its description of men who commit domestic violence. This is a story that must be told, it could save women from suffering at the hands of an abuser.

To win a signed copy please reply to this post or share it to Facebook or Twitter and a winner will be chosen on Tuesday 7th August.

The challenge is simple, just as we are and have discussed throughout our society the issues of War, Climate Change, Asylum Seekers and the Olympics so must we have a far-reaching conversation on Domestic Violence. Please speak up, the ripple of your words may gently lap at the feet of a victim…, in the hope that one day they are safe, alive… a survivor!

For assistance – http://www.1800respect.org.au/

Married girl hanged to death in Ghor, Afghanistan

…the victim had long been subjected to domestic violence by her in-laws and she was finally hanged. 

By Muhammad Hassan Hakimi & Ramin

A young woman was allegedly hanged to death by her father-in-law in western Ghor province, officials said on Sunday.

The 22-year-old was found dead on the outskirts of Chaghcharan late on Saturday, deputy police chief, Col. Abdul Rashid Bashir, told Pajhwok Afghan News.

He said the girl’s four in-laws had been arrested in connection with the murder. Her spouse was out of the province at the time of the killing, he said.

An area resident, who wished not to be named, said the victim had long been subjected to domestic violence by her in-laws and she was finally hanged.

Provincial Human Rights Commission Director Dr. Aqala Sharaf condemned the incident, saying efforts were being made to determine the cause.

Since the beginning of the year, she said, 24 cases of violence against women had been registered with the commission. The cases included domestic violence and forced marriages, she concluded.

Read more: http://www.rawa.org/temp/runews/2011/10/23/married-girl-hanged-to-death-in-ghor.html#ixzz1bgBVIaLk

To Violence against Women & Children, does Australia say No?

In recent years there have been increased campaigns and awareness of the issues of Domestic violence and child abuse, yet the horror stories continue.

If you were able to sit through the entire episode of the recent 4 Corners on the abuse of disabled children you would have seen one of the most pressing issues we must tackle. But flipping open the papers the following day it was clear that Australia does not take seriously enough the issue of abuse and violence against the vulnerable. The ABC show chronicled the  shocking story of sexual abuse of intellectually disabled children attending a Catholic school in Adelaide and the way it was covered up.

Domestic Violence and the sexual abuse of women and children is not a new issue to anyone, but perhaps this exposure of the horrific assaults on disabled children highlights more than ever the need to tackle this issue. People much wiser than I have written about the issue for decades, campaigns have been waged, community workers battled and some funding allocated. But the inroads into the issue are simply not good enough for what is an epidemic size problem. Of the figures on child abuse that all Australians should find the most alarming. It is widely believed that before they are 18 years old 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused. Think about those figures for a moment…

To understand them more easily imagine a typical Australian classroom of ten year olds in year 4. In that classroom of between 20 and 25 children, 3 of the girls and 2 of the boys will be sexually abused by the time they are 18; if they haven’t already. We would not tolerate a situation where we look at a classroom of kids and accept that 5 of them will die of cancer before 18, or 5 of them will be killed in motor vehicle accidents or 5 of them would die from a preventable disease such as Malaria. We have tackled these problems either wiping them out in the case of preventable diseases, increasing survival rates for cancer and educating about driver safety. We did all of these things when as horrible as they are none of those problems ever reached the level that child abuse is at.

This is a National disgrace, a failure of leadership and an all to eager approach of sweeping things under the carpet and failing the victims and the support workers and organisations. Victims of child sexual abuse are NEVER responsible for the suffering they endure. But if we are to accept, and we do, that these figures are accurate then more alarming is the number of abusers that exist in our community. We have been quick to point the finger at Indigenous Australian’s and took the bizarre step of sending the Army into the Northern Territory. We have often marginalised minority groups as oppressing their women or having a culture where it is inherent. But there is a truth we must admit as all Australian’s, we have a national crisis in child protection and we have failed past and present generations. If we do not act decisively now then we will be failing the future generations whose protection we hold right now in our own hands.

Faced with figures of 1/4 of all Australian girls and 1/6 of boys I will not accept that the War in Iraq, the childish approach to the asylum seeker debate or even the economy are more important issues than the protection of children. Yet those issues are front page on a daily basis, they attract billions of dollars in funding and are part of every election campaign. When has a politician ever gone to an election with child protection and well being even in their top five policies? It just doesn’t happen. If children were voting do you believe this would be the case?

But children can’t vote, so we must take the responsibility as adults, as parents and citizens of our National community to speak out and act on their behalf. Figures show that of the female children abused under the age of 18, 92% of the perpetrators will be men. The figure is only moderately lower for boys and generally when a female is involved they are accompanied by a male perpetrator as well. Meanwhile the support industry and community sector that help run women’s shelters, domestic violence support, family support and other key services are dominated by female workers.

It is NOT a generalisation to say the problem is not women and children, its men! The figures clearly back it up and it is time we, the men of modern Australia take a stand on this most important of issues. We are the first to beat our chest and say we’d deal with a child abuser, we write letters to editors about how we’d love just five minutes in a dark alley with a paedophile and we tend to think pretty dimly of those who raise their hand to their partner. But what are we actually doing about it? The problem isn’t getting better and it wont on its own.

It is time for a national dialogue on domestic and sexual violence, particularly among men. It is unacceptable that we continue to allow the children, in particularly of our society be victims to such abuse and stand idly by and do nothing. This is not about being a vigilante and confronting with bare knuckles the first man you suspect of being an abuser. This is about opening the door so the conversations can take place, so the support can be provided and so we get this issue on the political map.

Our first step must be the ability to speak openly and honestly within our circle of friends that abuse of any kind is unacceptable, criminal and should be reported to the police and community services. We need to create a culture of fathers, uncles, older friends, sports coaches and others speaking together and with children that they don’t have to suffer this crime. We need to drop the attitude that any woman or child ever “deserves it”. Nobody deserves to be abused, no court in the land would accept such a view and it is morally reprehensible.

The toll of abuse on our community is immeasurable, many victims suffer a life time of mental anguish and illness, drug dependency, such low levels of self-esteem that the abuse continues into adulthood or sadly become abusers themselves. This is a vicious cycle, a snow ball gathering pace and with it the number of victims. It is time to push back and we must begin the conversation now, man to man about what WE are going to do about this issue.

Men my challenge to you is this, speak about this issue not just with your female friends but with your male friends. Make it a priority that you become a facilitator to addressing this issue and not a silent witness. As you read this piece a child, many children and women are being abused in our country. The question is, are you going to speak about it so that tomorrow can be a better day for us all? You are not less of a man to think and speak out against abuse, it isn’t a “female” issue to be left to women’s groups. This is about men pulling their weight and understanding they have a vital role in protecting our society, not with violence, but by opposing it!

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