Just a quick reminder to Antipodean hoydenizens (Australian Division) to get behind Amnesty International’s campaign to urge the Federal Government to properly fund a National Plan of Action to Address Violence against Women. The National Council to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children that was to develop the plan has yet to deliver its report to the Federal Government and with the budget just around the corner, this may mean the plan misses out on crucial funding. Amnesty reports they have been receiving “mixed messages” from Labor MP’s about the importance of this issue.
It is disheartening, though not at all unexpected, that in the face of the wealth of evidence about the extent of domestic violence, of sexual assault, of harassment and abuse of women in the workplace, that there are still MP’s who would wave away the issue of violence against women as secondary. I don’t know about you but I get tired of digging up statistics to make a case only to have my interlocutor glaze over or react with frank or ill-concealed disbelief. Violence is, as Moira Carmody pointed out in relation to sexual assault, so embedded in our culture that people don’t or won’t see it, or no longer consider it to be violence.
This shameful avoidance is itself a violation, it puts women and children in the position of having to state, restate and continually produce evidence for something that everybody already knows. That is the kind of tactic the skilled proponent of emotional manipulation uses to keep their victims perpetually on the back foot. No wonder it sometimes feel as if progress is glacial. Each morning we have to get up and prove the existence of the sun, moon, and stars from first principles, by the time we get around to discussing what can be done about violence against women, the sun has gone down and it is not the right time to begin. In the patriarchy it is always the wrong time for stopping violence against women.
We already know that violence against women is an enormous problem, what we have is the shameful and widespread resistance to doing anything about it.
Case in Point: Benny Elias has issued a statement concerning Brett Stewart, who has been charged with sexual assault and banned from playing by the NRL for breaching the code of conduct. This statement is an object lesson in wounded entitlement:
“The players can not comprehend that Stewart has been found guilty of a breach under the code of conduct when many players [and officials] have previously been ignored for perceived breaches.”
O Noes! No longer can we engage in drunken offensive behaviour because the NRL might enforce a pre-existing code that bans that behaviour – a code we already know about and agreed to abide by when we signed our contracts. Oh WOE!
Props to the NRL and Mal Meninga who provide some slight cause to hope.