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I’m probably going out on a limb with this post, but hey, it’s kinda what I do so what the…

Wednesday was White Ribbon Day, a day when people who really don’t give two shits about domestic violence can wear a white ribbon and pretend like they do. It’s not a huge sacrifice for these folk as by the next day they can go back to their regular apathetic ways.

Meanwhile we have the pleasure of listening to celebrities and politicians preaching to us about domestic violence and telling us we must do all we can do to stamp this behaviour out.

“All we can do.”

So what do they do?

I’m sure that there are many of them who do a great deal, however there is an awful lot of behaviour that seems to be quietly swept under the carpet.

Our former PM, Tony Abbott  and his violent intimidation of a female rival by throwing punches into a wall beside her head. Charming behaviour from someone who would one day lead a major political party, and then go on to lead the country. Even more charming is that he is still a White Ribbon Day ambassador, as the White Ribbon Day hierarchy don’t have the backbone to refuse him.

We also have sitting on the front bench in Canberra an Immigration Minister, Peter Dutton, who puts this out on Twitter to show how he cares.

Meanwhile Dutton oversees the wholesale abuse of women and children on Nauru and Manus Island while the international media and United Nations condemn us.

I guess refugee women don’t count for shit in the minds of some.

I wonder if the raped refugee Abyan believes Dutton’s Tweeting credentials?

Speaking of political figures, there is a certain leader of a state branch of political party who has extremely questionable behaviour in regards to women. Do you think anyone in a position to do anything about it will? Not fucking likely…

There are many I know of who could stand up and say something, some from witnessing the behaviour first hand, but alas… Never the less, they all wore a ribbon and shared something on Facebook. Job done eh?

All we can do….

Sarah Ferguson’s Hitting Home investigation certainly made for compelling, important, and disturbing viewing. It was the type of reporting we should see more of in this country and it’s a real shame that the commercial stations would rather focus on reality shows and product placement than something thought-provoking that may make a real difference.

Hitting Home focused heavily on the residents of a refuge home in Sydney’s west, at the time I Tweeted that Sarah Ferguson had been lucky to find a women’s refuge still open in NSW.

The support sector for abused women was utterly decimated by the cuts made by the Coalition and Mike Baird. These shocking cuts forced the closure of many women’s refuges as well as counselling services and other vital support services.

Nowhere to run

Nowhere to run

After the Hitting a Home programme finished a special edition of Q and A aired. At one point a scheme in NSW known as “Staying Home Leaving Violence” was mentioned as method being used in NSW.

The premise of the “Staying Home” is to remove the perpetrator and leave the victim in the house where she is comfortable. Comfortable in the knowledge the perpetrator knows exactly where to find her.

“Staying Home” in theory;

“provides a range of support for victims such as safety planning, improving home security, assistance in managing finances, support for children and helping women throughout the complicated legal process.”

These are great I’m sure, however aren’t immediate or really that paramount when someone violent is looking to beat your brains out and knows exactly where you are.

What they didn’t mention about “Staying Home” is that it was put in place to counteract the closing down of refuge centres.

The Baird governments cuts to this sector were a savage blow to women in desperate need. It was also a clear indication that Mike Baird was a Premier not only happy to sell off the power network, but also happy to sell out every woman in the state suffering at the hands of violent men. Maybe he should be a White Ribbon Ambassador… Oh, turns out he is.

Was any of this mentioned on Q and A? Not on your life, I’m guessing the host, Julia Baird, who is Mike Baird’s sister, didn’t think it was appropriate, despite funding coming up many times on the show.

All we can do…

However there is one media personality whom many claim to know is a woman beater, yet despite persistent rumours nobody will go on record to call him out.

This alleged monster who should be named and shamed reportedly uses intimidation to ensure other people’s silence. Given I’m not someone who has witnessed his violent acts first hand I am not the one who should be doing the naming, however I will go so far as to say he is a regular on our airwaves. This member of the media is alleged to have a long history of violent behaviour towards multiple women.

Another regular of the airwaves is Chris Smith, the right-wing shock jock who got drunk at a 2GB party and thought manhandling a female staff member was a good idea. Due to this attack which many would describe as a sexual assault he was suspended from 2GB. This was not the first time for Smith either, having had issues at a previous employer also related to female co-workers.

2GB's Chris Smith - Let's hope he steers clear of the punch this Xmas Image - Fairfax

2GB’s Chris Smith – Let’s hope he steers clear of the punch this Xmas
Image – Fairfax

A few months later, in a show of respect for the female staff member, Smith was welcomed back to the station with open arms. I bet the victim felt valuable.

Clearly the entertainment industry also has hypocrisy issues on the subject too.

Another White Ribbon Ambassador, former Noiseworks singer Jon Stevens made news a few months back for alleged acts of domestic violence against partner Jodhi Meares.

This matter was swept under the carpet allegedly so careers didn’t get damaged over a trivial thing like allegations of domestic violence.

How many in the industry came out critical of Steven’s? I was blown over by the silence.

All we can do…

Even more surprising is when women support perpetrators.

Australian fashion designer Wayne Cooper whose clothes are worn by many a celebrity and grace the coat hangers in high-end department stores pleaded guilty to common assault in 2008.

This classy Cooper character took to his partner in a violent attack just two weeks after she was released from hospital for surgery on cancer of the gall bladder. What a gentleman. Still, let’s not stop that from making him rich off women’s clothing and let’s continue to range his clothing in women’s fashion stores, after all he has such respect for women.

All we can do…

Starting with a fraction of what we can do would be a good start.

As I write this there is debate going on in a Victorian parliament over an exclusion zone for protesters at abortion clinics.

Female members of the Liberal Party are seeking to not have an exclusion zone enabling for the protesters to get up close and personal when hurling abuse at women going through a traumatic procedure.

But hey, the MP’s in question are wearing a white ribbon, it must be ok?

We need to stop the tokenism of the white ribbon, take this matter seriously and give the problem the funding and the attention that the victims deserve. Not just on White a Ribbon day either, something this important needs attention every day. By that I mean every single fucking day.

That we can do.

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9 thoughts on “Gutless – White Ribbons, Wife Beating & Violence Against Women

  1. You correctly stated you were going out on a limb and any who write on DV subjects face the same thin branch.
    I`m regional WA and have done ambo work which has shown me the horror of DV even when the perps are jailed for serious assaults on partners I`ve seen where newly released prisoners [males] made the trip back to their community just to assault the family of their partner after getting drunk,and be returned the next day for breaking parole whilst the pieces are stitched up,plastered.
    I`ve also seen Caucasian control freaks with families cringing in the corner when called bu police to a DV situation to assess their female victims.

    Women know the services they need-secure safe houses and a fast collection of children from their schools by trustees because those most in danger have to flee quickly once the chance presents itself.

    No two situations are the same even though many parallel each other and so many perps don`t believe they have or are the problem,blame is projected and they have mental health issues themselves,mostly substance abuse of varying or multiple kinds

    AVO`s made out must be accompanied by a Psychological Help proviso-ie: “anger management”-which is conflict resolution intervention for the perp and coupled with either AA or NarcoAnon will work to fix the genuine cases
    But Peter most men who do this shit are thick as bricks and dumb as a box of rocks and the cycle goes on.

  2. Of course you are talking about Ray Hadley in regards to the one who is a known wife beater on the airwaves. His wife tried to take out an AVO against him and dropped it later.

  3. Well said..You have written what many of us feel. The amount of funding and other money expanded on WR events could be better expanded. It has become tokenism on a grand scale. Yes there are some great men who are ambassadors who walk the talk and take up the issue on ending violence against women every day…not just one day a year. However, as you rightly say, for so many it is meaningless. And there seems no review of who becomes an Ambassador….Abbott should never been invited given his track record of treatment of women. Women’s refuges have closed while others are stretched to the limit. Accommodation options are limited. Community legal services and sexual assault services are also stretched and provide such valuable services on limited budgets. Meanwhile there are so few funded men’s behaviour change programs aimed at addressing men’s violence. Every year we see new costly ‘gimmicks’ becoming part of the program…..Airforce fly-overs. Really. Yet on the same day research was released showing appalling attitudes to violence against women by young women. There is no research to show WR is changing community attitudes or reducing violence against women.

  4. I think counting the number of women assaulted each weekend highlights the problem.
    Publicising the statistics that 21% think its OK to beat up a woman, implies that its against social norms
    In the 1950s and 1960s people turned a blind eye to domestic abuse or blamed the shrewish wife, today we publicly say its not OK to beat your wife and so slowly we will change behaviour.

    Thanks for calling out the handwringing hipocrisy of the politicians. I wasn’t aware that Julia Baird was Mike Baird’s sister. Many old Victorian feminists were unaware that NSW refuges are being closed. Like most women I was appalled that Tony Abbott appointed himself Minister for Women

  5. Coming from the same class and boys school for 8 years. It leaves an impression. The girls school was only only across the creek.

  6. Yep, a pink ribbon can mean you’ve donated a shedload to breast cancer in some way, and that you’re aware/affected/involved.
    This is totally different; in fact it could easily be perceived as insulting for any women affected.
    In my eyes, you’re pretty spot on, and given voice to my thoughts as we watched the (temporary?) after-wave of TV news/current affairs airing.
    The Baird funding rug-pull was, unfortunately, just outside the memory/attention span of MSM news generators, and also most ‘news’ consumers. It sure got some publicity at the time. Was it laziness, or embarrassment, that precluded it’s non-airing, other than social media, pretty much?
    And Bighead1883 your anecdotes from the ‘coal face’ are revealing, and depressing.

  7. And while we are on hypocrites, the ALP have written all of the most vicious anti-refugee policies that impact mostly on women and kids. Most of the ALP voted against reporting child abuse on Nauru and sent out the lie that they would vote for it later. Meanwhile the children are still being abused and tortured, some in prison for 912 days now, and Ranjini was certainly jailed with her kids and baby under the ALP.

  8. And all done with a signed agreement with Bob Brown & the opportunists. The Greens

    You forgot that part Marilyn, you always do…

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