Just Admit You Don’t Care If We Die

Just Admit You Don’t Care If We Die

Written by J.K. Williams


Seriously, Australia! Could our politicians, reporters, magistrates, police officers and the adult male members of the public all take a stand, and in unison, repeat after me – “I DO NOT CARE ABOUT DEAD WOMEN AND CHILDREN!”

What? Does that offend you? Do you immediately scoff and think “Well, that’s awfully judgemental. I’m sure plenty of them care about women and children (and men!!!!) and don’t want them to die!” 

But, do they really care? Do you really care? 

Don’t we just have to look at the recent headlines about the horrific murder of Hannah Clarke and her three children, the recent comments from Queensland Detective Inspector Mark Thompson or to the increasing annual rates of dead women, children and men killed by violent males to see the obvious lack of concern? *

If politicians, police officers, media agencies, magistrates and all men genuinely cared, women and children wouldn’t be dying from male violence as often as we are. Heck, I dare say we wouldn’t be dying from male violence at all. If those people truly cared, our communities and social structures would be very different. They’d look, feel and work opposite to how almost everything works now.

Male violence against women (MVAW) isn’t always about assault, rape or murder….

The ways in which girls and women are objectified, dismissed, neglected, harassed, silenced and abused seem to be endless. Girls and women have always been objectified in books, magazines, advertisements, tv shows and movies, and we have been overlooked and erased from our very own archived history. Black and Indigenous girls and women have suffered and have been erased even more so than white women. 

Our body parts are commodified. Archaic beliefs are held about our natural bodily functions, and unless you are a female, the full extent of the brutal truth about how girls and women are viewed, spoken about and treated has been hidden from you. This steady erosion of our humanness has created a world where, for the most part, we are treated like objects and not like living human beings. (Go figure!?) 

The problem is, it’s all quite natural to us now.

Right here, right now….

I assure you that there are hundreds of thousands of women and children in Western Australia (and hundreds of thousands more across Australia and in other countries) suffering in silence in their homes due to abuse from the adult male in the home, and many times, from older male youth members of the family.

I promise you that hundreds of thousands of women in Western Australia are being neglected, misdiagnosed, lied to and assaulted by the male medical professionals they are in the care of. They’re being silenced by bosses, husbands and strangers.

I guarantee you that hundreds of thousands of girls in WA are being sexually molested, assaulted and raped by their fathers, brothers, cousins, Uncles and the males in their churches, daycares and schools. They’re being objectified and humiliated by their peers.

There are tens of thousands of WA girls and women being objectified, sexualised, raped and trafficked through different forms of “sex work” and pornography.

This is happening all around you. This is happening on the street where you live. This is happening on the street where you work and the street where you worship. This is happening in the restaurants and bars you hang out in. This is happening every day, whether or not it’s being reported to police. Women are quietly congregating all around you to talk, vent, scream and cry, and to console one another and support each other through shared, but individual, traumas. 

This is your community. This is your culture. This is your state. This is your country.

You can get angry about it and puff your chest and dismiss all of this as hogwash or horse shit, but it won’t change our reality

If the people ‘in power’ genuinely cared about all of the women and children being controlled, neglected, assaulted, abused, raped, trafficked and killed, everything we know about how our society works would be different.

Advertisements would be different.

Funding for programs would be different.

Laws would be different.

Judicial processes would be different.

How we interact with one another and how we function on a daily basis as a community would be entirely different.

Our homes and neighbourhoods would be different.

Our educational processes and systems would be different.

“Entertainment” would be different.

Girls and women would be protected, exalted and cherished.

Women would be empowered, not oppressed, and hold power within the homestead and within business and politics. *

True equality and equity could actually exist….

The feminine is supreme….

I do not mean lipstick and dresses, or solely the ability to bare children. The “feminine” I speak of, the “feminine” I know and recognise in other women is nurturing, empathetic, compassionate, fair, powerful, wise, firm, rational and just. The feminine is supreme. Radical feminism recognises this. Radical feminists know what is lacking and what is needed in our communities, schools, workplaces and in our homes. Basically, women know what girls and women need/don’t need.

We know what the problem is….

Set aside what I said about radical feminism. You don’t have to agree with me on that point right now. Regardless of your views on feminism, there are thousands of studies, papers and forums about the ‘issue’ of MVAW, and there are Women’s Health Packages and specific policies and laws meant to prevent and/or address this “issue.” There are also ads, programs and campaigns etc. So it’s a fair call to say that we shouldn’t still be dealing with this problem, right?

Yet, women and girls continue to objectified, silenced, harassed, sexualised, neglected, assaulted, raped and killed. Every time another woman, child or man is hurt or dies due to male violence, people always ask what else can be done to end this horrific problem. We keep having the same conversations and we still use the same old & ineffective policies and tactics. Our politicians continue to serve us word salads instead of radical, transformative and effective laws, policies and protections. Word salads instead of action. 

So, what makes this publication different to some others? 

Well, I have spent some time researching, thinking and writing. I’ve also accumulated over 30 years of first-hand experience with sexism and misogyny along with over 10 years of first-hand experience with male violence in different places, times and scenarios influenced by a range of circumstances and factors.

And….I’ve put a list of demands together. I’ve based this list of demands on valuable, credible information and references as well as my own experiences and conversations, and the collective, historical experiences of other members of the sex class I belong to. I’ve included excellent resources, too.


This list of demands is a direct message to our Federal and State governments, all media agencies and reporters in Australia, all medical professionals, all State and Federal Police Officers and Detectives, all Australian Magistrates and all Family Court staff and every single adult male in Australia.

Our Demands….

#1- (LANGUAGE AND REPORTING)

– This deadly problem shouldn’t be referred to as “domestic violence” anymore. We can’t immediately change the definition and legal categorisation, but we must change how we talk about it and refer to it. Femicide/male violence against women (MVAW)/terrorism of women and children – are all more accurate terms.

– Along with this, the media must be held accountable regarding their duty of care to the public when reporting on matters of MVAW. Publications must be held to the mandatory standards and guidelines of this country.

• Based on the Australian Press Council’s ‘Statements of Principles’, Australian publications are failing to adhere to at least two key principles:*

1. Ensure that factual material in news reports and elsewhere is accurate and not misleading, and is distinguishable from other material such as opinion.

6. Avoid causing or contributing materially to substantial offence, distress or prejudice, or a substantial risk to health or safety, unless doing so is sufficiently in the public interest.

• According to the APC’s Advisory Guideline on Family and Domestic Violence Reporting, they are failing to meet numerous guidelines that must be adhered to:*

“Safety

The safety and well-being of those affected by family violence must be the primary consideration. Publications should not publish information that could cause or contribute to the risk of harm, offence or distress. Survivors of family violence often comment that their pain and suffering was exacerbated by media coverage. In some circumstances, it may not be safe, appropriate or legal to use real names or other identifying information.”

“Responsibility

Reporting of family violence should try not to blame a person affected by the violence or suggest that the person somehow enabled the violence or could have avoided it. Publications should also avoid placing undue emphasis on the characteristics or surroundings of the victim, or implying that such things contributed to the family violence, unless doing so is essential to the narrative and sufficiently in the public interest. Use of the active voice in relation to the perpetrator will help avoid placing undue emphasis on the person affected by family violence. For example: “Police charged a 38-year-old Melbourne man with the murder of a 36-year-old woman”, as opposed to, e.g. “A 36- year-old woman was murdered and a 38-year-old Melbourne man has been charged”.”

“Context and content

The context and complexities of family violence should also be key considerations, such as when an alleged perpetrator may have a mental illness. Publications should note any such factors when it is warranted in a particular case and in the public interest. Care also should be taken to avoid casual stigmatisation, such as by stating or implying that the violence was “caused” by a person’s mental illness or culture.”

“Words matter. Publications should be mindful of the language they use and try to avoid terms that tend to trivialise, demean or inadvertently excuse family violence, such as “a domestic”, “a domestic dispute” or “a troubled marriage”. Where it is lawful to do so, the relationships of the people involved should be described as accurately and precisely as possible.”

“In addition to reporting particular incidents, journalists can play a critical role in deepening readers’ understanding about family violence by referring to resources such as official statistics, peer- reviewed research, and experts, such as domestic violence counsellors and survivors.”

“Publications should also be aware of the potential impact of story layout, headlines and surrounding material (such as advertisements) that may be insensitive or jarring in the circumstances.”

– We demand better from the Australian media.

– We expect the government and police/judicial system to back us up on that.

#2- 

– Mandatory incarceration for violent adult males. Whether it’s a king hit in the city or beating their female partner or their kids, they must be locked up for a minimum of 14 days and a maximum of 30, with/without charges being laid. This is when there is physical evidence of violence being perpetrated. (Witnesses, bruising/bleeding, cctv footage, ongoing police involvement, previous Report(s) to Police, Restraining Order(s) or other Court Order(s) etc.)

This gives the men time to calm down and gives the women (and kids) time to figure out an exit plan, and for most victims of MVAW, this will give them time to de-condition themselves, for lack of a better term, and discover/realise that they don’t want to stay in that relationship.

With this process, there must be initiatives to introduce effective and proven strategies in to our jails and prisons to immediately begin educating and rehabilitating perpetrators of violence to lower the probability of them reoffending. **

Ideally, we would have new and specific clinical facilities to house and rehabilitate these violent offenders. There is reason to believe that rehab programs set in the environment of a correctional facility are not as effective as they need to be. Regardless of where these violent offenders are housed during their required stint in some form of temporary removal from their community, the focus must be on effective rehabilitation to lower the risk of reoffending.

#3- 

– More government funding for men’s and women’s crisis counselling (with the aim of making it entirely free of charge to patients).

– More than 10 bulk billed visits per year to see a mental health professional are needed. We demand at least 24 bulk billed appointments per calendar year for youth and adults on Mental Health Care Plans.

#4- 

– More government funding for women’s refuges, with the aim of there being more facilities and each facility being more efficiently staffed and more well-rounded with the services and support they can give. 

#5-

– New and specific funding for women’s and children’s programs and facilities that can mimic the Women’s Police Stations, and relevant programs& policies, that are having great success aiding in lowering rates of violence against women and children in Argentina.*

#6- (this is for everyone)

– Normalise interference, intervention and involvement in families and households that have a problem with violence or control. Normalise checking in on them and normalise awareness of their situation amongst the community. Normalise direct interference and immediate interruption and intervention of controlling and violent men. Normalise public conversations about the violence you witness in your community and let’s normalise supportive rehabilitation of violent males, whether they are a child, teen or adult.

#7-

– We want our court systems; our magistrates, bailiffs and clerks, to favour women and children in all matters of “family violence.” A core value of any justice system should be to protect the most vulnerable members of our society. More focus needs to be on the facts and statistics of MVAW and “family violence,” and assessments for determining authenticity of the threat of violence for an individual victim need to be based on those facts and statistics. ** This should translate in to efficient and accurate assessments for women and children, in lieu of evidence, so they can receive protection and assistance. **

#8-

– New and specific funding for specially tailored recreational AND sports programs, facilities and events for all males and females aged between 12 and 17.

#9-

– New and specific funding for specially tailored mental health programs and educational-based programs and courses for “at risk” males aged between 12 and 17. These should be available at no cost to families with “at risk” male teenagers in the home.

At risk = (but is not limited to)

– struggling in school (socially and/or academically)

– engaging in verbal harassment or abuse at school or at home

– engaging in violent behaviour of any kind

– police involvement at any level

– if Restraining Orders or other Court Orders are in effect or have previously been in affect

– if there is any history of controlling behaviour, verbal, physical or sexual abuse for either parent, whether biological (and not living in the home) and/or step-parents/guardians living in the home with the male youth.

#10- 

– New and specific funding for specially tailored mental health programs and educational-based programs and courses for “at risk” females aged between 12 and 17. These should be available at no cost to families with female teenagers in the home that are “at risk” of becoming a victim to male violence. 

At risk = (but is not limited to) 

– struggling in school (socially and/or academically)

– withdrawing from friends, school, social activities, sports etc. 

– engaging in self-destructive/harmful behaviour of any kind 

– police involvement at any level

– if Restraining Orders or other Court Orders are in effect or have previously been in affect

– if there is any history of controlling behaviour, verbal, physical or sexual abuse for either parent, whether biological (and living/not living in the home) and/or step-parents/guardians living in the home with the female youth.

Our demands are reasonable and achievable. 


Now, if you’re still reading – great! There is a lot to ‘digest’ so I will wrap this up, but before I do….

I am inclined to acknowledge the role that industrialisation/capitalism plays in all of this. I could write for hours about the reasons why capitalism is a part of a lot of problems, but I want readers to really reflect on what I’ve put together here. I don’t want to overwhelm you. So, for now, I’ll just say that, in my opinion, the most obvious way that capitalism fuels stress ➡️ poor mental health ➡️ aggression ➡️ violence (a cycle of violence) is through the absolute and oppressive necessity to work, in order to live. That correlation may catch some readers off-guard, and that’s ok.

Working for an income is the only way we know to live, to survive. I find that heartbreakingly sad and infuriating. This earth was meant to be enjoyed, cherished and appreciated, but we have very little time for that. We have so little time for ourselves. The overwhelming majority of us have jobs and that removes us from so much and creates so much stress, pressure and uncertainty. Not to mention that we are becoming increasingly aware of how destructive our existence on this earth has been, which, personally, adds to my anger and poor mental health regarding the inability to live as I wish that I, and my family, could live. The way I wish we all could live. 

Do you ever sit back and imagine what life could be like if we didn’t have such a dependence on the cycle of money in our society? Do you ever imagine a world without corporate greed and destruction? One without rampant inequalities and preventable horrors? It might be really difficult to imagine, because that’s how far we have moved away from that kind of existence and from that kind of connection with our world, our surroundings and with each other. This underlying current that runs through each of us as individuals, and through our society as a whole, may often be the fuel for already existing micro-aggressions. 

In closing….

I know. It’s complex. It seems so massive and, to some, impossible to change all of the engrained beliefs, traditions, behaviours and policies in our society and within our homes, schools and courts etc., but we must. Politicians, reporters & journalists, Magistrates & Police Officers and the men in our communities must pay attention. Listen (and read). We are literally spelling it out for you. Starting with changing the way we view, speak about and treat the majority of the world’s population (which are girls and women) is not only a necessity, it’s a good start at healing our entire society as a whole. It can be done. It will be done. 


Written by J.K. Williams 

February 24, 2020

This work is licensed under the Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license. Copyright © 2020

References and resources –

*Recent headlines and comments regarding the tragic murders of Hannah Clarke and her three children, and rates of male violence in Australia: 

https://www.news.com.au/national/queensland/news/is-it-an-instance-of-a-husband-being-driven-too-far-anger-over-comment-from-police-in-brisbane/news-story/84c497606511b13dee815e2d354960d5

https://7news.com.au/politics/pauline-hanson-says-these-things-happen-in-the-wake-of-hannah-clarke-and-her-childrens-murder-c-713429

https://junkee.com/medai-domestic-violence-hannah-baxter/242982

https://www.ourwatch.org.au/Understanding-Violence/Facts-and-figures

* Women would hold power within the homestead and within business and politics: Believe it or not, there are examples of tribes, communities and cultures that function just like that. They cherish and exalt female members of society. The women hold the power of decision making amongst their tribe/community. (there are also examples of what happens when women are severely oppressed) 

History of feminist-based civil disobedience and direct action (starting at page 109)

Gulabi Gang: https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2014/02/gulabi-gang-indias-women-warrriors-201422610320612382.html

https://www.vox.com/2018/11/5/18037688/womens-day-gender-equality-poverty-human-rights

Equality for Women = Prosperity for All: https://books.google.com.au/books/about/Equality_for_Women_Prosperity_for_All.html?id=zmtuDwAAQBAJ&source=kp_book_description&redir_esc=y

Akashinga: [Empowering Female Fighters] – https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-28/akashinga-the-female-fighters-protecting-wildlife-in-zimbabwe/10418542

* APC Advisory Guidelines: https://www.presscouncil.org.au/advisory-guidelines/

* APC Advisory Guideline on Family and Domestic Violence Reporting: https://www.presscouncil.org.au/uploads/52321/ufiles/Guidelines/Advisory_Guideline_on_Family_and_Domestic_Violence_Reporting.pdf

** Strategies for the education and rehabilitation of male perpetrators of violence. Examples: 

 https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/401889/barbershop-movement-urges-abusive-men-to-tackle-traumatic-pasts

– Change the Story: A shared framework for the primary prevention of violence against women and their children in Australia – https://www.ourwatch.org.au/getmedia/0aa0109b-6b03-43f2-85fe-a9f5ec92ae4e/Change-the-story-framework-prevent-violence-women-children-AA-new.pdf.aspx

– Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men: https://books.google.com.au/books/about/Why_Does_He_Do_That.html?id=azvHexd1g1YC&source=kp_book_description&redir_esc=y

– Coercive Control, Laura Richards:

https://www.laurarichards.co.uk/coercive-control/

https://www.laurarichards.co.uk/deep-diving-coercive-control/

* Women’s Police Stations in Argentina: https://eprints.qut.edu.au/127088/

Other relevant information and resources 

If you do care, take action now: https://fair-agenda.good.do/asaferfuture/email/

https://www.mediastatements.wa.gov.au/Pages/McGowan/2019/11/New-laws-to-tackle-family-and-domestic-violence-in-WA.aspx

https://www.communications.gov.au/what-we-do/television/media/updating-australias-media-laws

https://www.supremecourt.wa.gov.au/_files/Guidelines%2

Prison-based correctional rehabilitation: An overview of intensive interventions for moderate to high-risk offenders [in Australia]: https://aic.gov.au/publications/tandi/tandi412

VIOLENT OFFENDER TREATMENT EFFECTIVENESS: WHAT WE KNOW AND WHERE TO FROM HERE: https://www.div12.org/violent-offender-treatment-effectiveness-what-we-know-and-where-to-from-here/

Reclaim the Night/Take Back the Night – https://domesticviolenceservice.org.au/a-history-of-reclaim-the-night/

Thank you to the radical feminists that helped me with some of the references and resources. 

This work is licensed under the Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license. Copyright © 2020

If you need help, please contact one of the resources below, and/or reach out to trusted family and/or friends. 

WOMEN’S DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HELPLINE

The Women’s Domestic Violence Helpline is a state wide 24 hour service. This service provides support and counselling for women experiencing family and domestic violence. This includes phone counselling, information and advice, referral to local advocacy and support services, liaison with police if necessary and support in escaping situations of family and domestic violence. The service can refer women to safe accommodation if required. A telephone based interpreting service is available if required. 

Telephone (08) 9223 1188

Free call 1800 007 339

In an emergency – if someone is in immediate danger – call the police on 000 now.

Here is a link to a thorough list of a range of numbers, services, hotlines and websites. 

https://www.breakingthesilence.com.au/albany/womens-domestic-violence-hotllines/

Brisbane Rally against Male Violence Against Women July 2015

Glosswitch wrote a piece in January called ‘Choosing between misogyny and feminism: A practical guide, where she says;

“Here are some things which will not happen if you speak out on behalf of women as a class: you will not get loads of people listening to your carefully worded, nuanced thoughts and saying “hmm, interesting, let me think about this some more”; you will not get people who disagree with you saying “sure, I think that’s one angle, but perhaps we could discuss it a little more?”; you will not get hordes of women eager to express their support and gratitude in public; you will not find people making connections between the problems you’ve highlighted and the surface-level examples of sexism they’ve noticed elsewhere.

If you expected any of these things to happen, then really you shouldn’t have spoken out in the first place. This is because such things would only happen if the class-based discrimination you are describing didn’t actually exist. If you have failed to consider this rather obvious point, assuming instead that since we’re all “basically in support of equality” it would therefore be fine for you to broadcast your important and valuable thoughts with impunity, then you still don’t get what “being oppressed as a class” actually means.

People don’t want to hear about how women think and feel. They don’t want to picture women as people whom others might actually have to negotiate with. They want “equality” insofar as they want the erasure of all measurable signs of women’s oppression (because let’s face it, these get a bit embarrassing). They do not, however, want this to come at the expense of being allowed to see women as whatever they want them to be at any given moment. We just don’t have space to accommodate the humanity of women as well as that of men.” Posted on her blog.

Our current paradigm of a masculinized culture and rigid gender roles that are imposed on us by sex, are so deeply ingrained along with male violence and male sexual entitlement, that even the media often fail to name male violence when reporting fatal male violence against a woman. We hear ‘domestic incident’ or ‘domestic dispute’ a lot, minimizing this male violence, the same male violence that if perpetrated against another man on the street wouldn’t be reported so lightly.

Responsible reporting of male violence against women by the police and media helps to show the pattern. 47 women have allegedly been murdered by known or suspected male violence in the first 7 months of this year in Australia. 1 woman every 4 and 1/2 days. 2/3 of these women were allegedly murdered by their current or former partner, we need to end the myth that domestic violence is a “gender neutral” phenomenon, This is male pattern violence, it needs to be called what it is so the pattern is clear and we know where to start for implementing solutions. Words have power.

We also have the right to name what has been done to us, at the very least, and not have to pretend, as an Australian writer noted, that these rapes, abuses and murders must have been committed by elves, for fear of saying male violence.

WE hear Not All Men, A lot, it’s a silencing tool, we know not all men. We also know that men kill other men at a higher rate than they kill women, we know. We know 90% of all murderers are male, whether they are killing women, children, or other men. This current paradigm of social “norms”, this masculinized culture,  is toxic, and it’s affecting everyone. But when a vulnerable class of humans, half the population, women as a class, are repeated victims of fatal male pattern violence, this is femicide.

names of women

As Women’s Aid UK state;

“Gender is fundamental and the relationship between gender roles and violent behaviour is obvious in the data. Unless we accept that this is a fact, and that it’s a fact we no longer want to tolerate, we will get nowhere.”

We are females in a world where the default human is male, and male privilege, male sexual  entitlement to our bodies and male violence in general is the norm, just turn on the news daily, just talk to a woman. There’s not really anything I can say that hasn’t already been said by many great women, hence my quoting some of them, and I don’t have more statistics and numbers that we don’t already know.

Soraya Chemaly noted;

“More than 40 years ago, anthropologist Peggy Reeves Sanday, professor of anthropology an extensive cross-cultural study of rape involving more than 150 human societies around the word. She found that 47% of societies she studied had no rape, 36% had some incidence of rape, and 17%, of which we are one, were definitively rape prone. What marked cultures where rape was missing were that women had authority in the community that was not related to reproduction — they were political or religious leaders and made valued economic contributions to society; feminine qualities were valued by communities; the relation- ships between men and women was not defined as hierarchical; boys were taught to respect girls and women (something altogether different from learning to protect them); these societies were stable and peaceful, making reliance on brute male physical dominance less likely; divinities were not uniquely male; and, lastly, these cultures had great respect for their environments and did not destructively exploit them.’

It’s not inevitable, it’s not just the way things are.

We need to Name the problem, that is, male violence. We need institutional education for police and front line services, proper enforcement of DVO’s and the absolute connection of women with the appropriate support services when they need them. We need funding for these support services for women. No more slaps on the wrists for perpetrators of male violence, along with proper rehabilitation services to change these men’s attitudes at the root. And we need to get rid of gender stereotypes and ideals of femininity and masculinity as innate, they aren’t. We need to be aware of the language being used in a default male culture. And we need to challenge the representation of women, everywhere! Ask, ‘how is that woman being represented compared to that man?’ We also need funding for a new form of sexual education for children in schools to help them navigate through a culture that constantly sexualizes, therefore dehumanizes, women while enabling male sexual entitlement and male privilege.

Aswas Photography

Aswas Photography

Glosswitch also addressed this recently, writing;

“I am a mother of sons and the thought of them growing up within a culture of rampant male sexual entitlement terrifies me. Right now they are six and seven – still innocent, still able to see their female peers as fellow humans – but as adolescence approaches, I fear that a deluge of misogyny will engulf them as they encounter the adult world and so-called “normal” attitudes to sex. I am very much in favour of them being granted access to as much accurate, open-minded sex education as possible. Nonetheless, I doubt such teaching will ever be effective as long as we are in denial about the real problem: the widespread, culturally sanctioned dehumanisation of women as the price for male sexual gratification.

There is no point in explaining consent to boys, as though it is some peculiarly complex social exchange. It isn’t. What confuses them is the fact that our pornified, misogynist culture treats female bodies as soulless objects. They witness this everywhere: on TV, in the news, online, on the streets, in the words of their peers and elders. They can sit in a classroom and be informed about the rights and wrongs of it. They can be en- couraged to think, in abstract terms, about the Woman as Person. But that is not how they encounter her in the media, nor in the minds of fellow men. Deep down, they know that their “right” to access hardcore pornography and purchase female flesh is inviolable. The Woman as Person narrative is subordinate to the one telling them that the ultimate human right is a “real” man’s right to fuck.” Published in the Newstatesman July 2015

By Kirsten Lovejoy for Brisbane Central

By Kirsten Lovejoy for Brisbane Central

Today we also need to acknowledge the harms of the sex industry. We need to adopt the Nordic model of prostitution in this country and recognize that the sex industry is built on male sexual entitlement, male privilege and male violence, built on the very foundations of gender inequality. As Sheila Jeffreys stated;

“in Norway, Iceland and in Sweden, where brothel prostitution is banned in a violence against women sense, because it’s recognised to be for the degradation of women and affects the status of all women. Iceland interestingly has this year not only banned brothel prostitution and penalised the male clients, because all of these countries penalise the men who can potentially end up in prison as a result. But in Iceland they have banned strip clubs too on the same grounds that it’s about vio- lence against women and degrades women and degrades the equality of women. I think that in Australia this is hard to understand, it’s a very masculinist culture, and I think that prostitution and the sex industry generally and the privileges men have to abuse women in this way is so accepted that people are outraged to think that they’re actually might be other values, but believe me there are, and in fact Australia is quite low, very low in the index of oeCD nations on gender equality, and it’s because there’s a very masculinised culture.” a transcript from an interview on ABC radio Australia.

And we need to let women speak, and really hear what women are saying, Our voices do matter, and our inclusion is fundamental for women’s liberation. We need an equal part of the platform, an equal part in decision making, from business to government. And not just the voices of women who have come from a place of privilege in this hierarchy who have had to conform to the boys club, from the rest of us.

It’s exhausting, and lonely, and it does feel hopeless a lot. But just like the women before us, from the suffragettes, through to all of us who are working towards women’s liberation today, we won’t be silenced, we won’t be shut down, we will keep taking a stand, even in the weariness of ‘are we still really protesting this crap’. And we will place the onus on men in general, men in power and the government, They know how they benefit from this culture. There’s no more playing innocent or holding up your hands and saying not me and going home to watch the latest Hollywood degradation and sexual objectification and vilification of women. As Betty Taylor said yesterday at the Wicked Pickets rally, it’s time to stick your necks out.

Aswas Photography

Aswas Photography

It’s been ten years since Andrea Dworkin died, and her work is as vital as ever. On addressing a men’s conference and asking them to work against rape, she said;

“I don’t believe rape is inevitable or natural. If I did, I would have no reason to be here. If I did, my political practice would be different than it is. Have you ever wondered why we [women] are not just in armed combat against you? It’s not because theres a shortage of kitchen knives in this country. It is because we believe in your humanity, against all the evidence.”

Robert Jenson wrote that;

“Dworkin wanted to help men claim our humanity, not just for our sake but because she wanted to stop men’s violence against women… she challenged men to take that responsibility:

Dworkins continued in the same speech, saying;

“[Women] do not want to do the work of helping you to believe in your humanity. We cannot do it anymore. We have always tried. We have been repaid with systematic exploitation and systematic abuse. You are going to have to do this yourselves from now on and you know it.”

There are no safe spaces for women from male violence and sexual entitlement in this country; not at home, not at work, not in parks, not walking our dog along a street path. There are no safe spaces for women even when we are not alone, If men want to attack, rape or kill women – being chaperoned doesn’t protect us. There are no safe spaces for women anywhere when media is everywhere, as Julie Bindel states;

“Women walk around seeing images that tell them they are lesser than men on a regular basis. What is a safe-space for women? Our own bedroom with the door locked?” 

Men it is up to you. All of you. All of your everyday actions and words. All of your everyday entertainment.

Andrea Dworkin also asked this of men.

“What’s involved in doing something about all of this? The men’s movement seems to stay stuck on two points. The first is that men don’t really feel very good about themselves. How could you? The second is that men come to me or to other feminists and say: “What you’re saying about men isn’t true. It isn’t true of me. I don’t feel that way. I’m opposed to all of this.”  And I say: don’t tell me. Tell the pornographers. Tell the pimps. Tell the warmakers. Tell the rape apologists and the rape celebrationists and the pro-rape ideologues. Tell the novelists who think that rape is wonderful. Tell Larry Flynt. Tell Hugh Hefner. There’s no point in telling me. I’m only a woman. There’s nothing I can do about it. These men presume to speak for you.They are in the public arena saying that they represent you. If they don’t, then you had better let them know.

Then there is the private world of misogyny: what you know about each other; what you say in private life; the exploitation that you see in the private sphere; the relationships called love, based on exploitation. It’s not enough to find some traveling feminist on the road and go up to her and say: “Gee, I hate it.” Say it to your friends who are doing it. And there are streets out there on which you can say these things loud and dear, so as to affect the actual institutions that maintain these abuses. You don’t like pornography? I wish I could believe it’s true. I will believe it when I see you on the streets. I will believe it when I see an organized political opposition. I will believe it when pimps go out of business because there are no more male consumers. You want to organize men. You don’t have to search for issues. The issues are part of the fabric of your everyday lives.”

So I guess the question right now is this, who do you want to be as a man in this world?  Where do you want to stand? What do you want to stand for? And who do you want to stand with? – The everyday men of our culture who justify the exploitation of women as “just the way things are” and “just a bit of fun”, or “mother nature”. Are you going to stand with the men who say “hey not me” while partaking in a culture that exploits and degrades women. Are you that man?

Where do you stand? Who are you in regards to the mass exploitation and degradation, rape, assault and murder of women? what does your masculinity look like? What kind of a man do you want to be for the women in your life and the women, the female human beings of our world?

I know the men I would want to stand with if I were a man in this world, I would proudly and publicly be standing with the Robert Jensons, Jimmy Carters and Tom Meahers.

murdered women Australia

Many thanks to the Brisbane organizers and speakers:

Australia Against Male Violence Against Women Brisbane

Reclaim the Night Brisbane

Fight Like A Girl Brisbane

REAL for women – Lily Munroe

Questions For Us – Paula Orbea

Queensland Greens – Kirsten Lovejoy

Prostitution Survivor – Kat Pinder

Aswas Photography

Male pattern violence is the problem: CountingDeadWomen

In our records of #CountingDeadWomen in Australia this year, we have listed 31 women suspected to have been murdered by alleged, probable or likely male violence in less than 4 months.  Another 3 women are missing, and 3 more women have been murdered by other women.

male female ratio

We started CountingDeadWomen this year in Australia along with Destroy The Joint (DTJ), who began counting All women murdered last year. Our focus is specifically on Male Violence Against Women (MVAW), following on from the original UK campaign of #countingdeadwomen, in order to get a clear picture of fatal male pattern violence against women in Australia. On this basis our records and numbers and those of DTJ will differ, but we do feel both records are important for these differing reasons. We are also keeping record of missing women, we now know a couple of these missing women are suspected to have been murdered. Continue reading

What’s New in Individual Empowerment: how to make women and men cry

Earlier a feminist ally put out a call for support, in what has become a popular and publicized hashtag on twitter called #FacesOfProstitution, he said it:

“has been taken over by pro-pimp activists talking about how fun and empowering it” (‘sex work’) “is. I thought a good response would be to commemorate the women murdered in the sex trade under the hashtag, so if people see it, they’ll see the brutality men do to women and not just the “fun and happy” side. I have a (tragically long) list of murdered women in the sex trade; if anyone wants it to grab names from and find pictures for, let me know.”

I then saw the following statuses from him spanning over a 14 hours period:

“A revolving door of pro-prostitution assholes have been harassing me for the last ten hours since I put those photos up. These people have no shame.”, “The things they’re saying to me are bringing me to tears. These people are fucking vicious. They are literally harassing me for posting photographs of women murdered in the sex trade. Calling me a sociopath, a misogynist, a fascist, a loser, ugly, fat – all for commemorating murdered women.”, “I’d really appreciate more people posting in the #FacesOfProstitution”

So I went in, and within 5 minutes i’d started to cry too.

It was not the faces of the women murdered by johns that made me cry this time. For each woman after each woman I just felt love and sadness. I doubt they felt much love during their time in prostitution, leading up to and during their murders. I’ve cried a lot for prostituted women over the years. I’ve cried and raged reading the reviews johns leave about the women they have just paid to treat with so much contempt and abuse while they orgasm.

But today it was the words of the johns justifying their right to have women available for purchase as sexual goods, ya know, awkward-money-erection=rights, and male supporters of this female “empowerment” that made me cry. These men making themselves look like ‘good men’, the ‘good punter’, using this opportunity to earn cookies by coming out as proud pro-feminist men who support women’s rights, yeah man! Cool. Continue reading

While men decide what they stand for – We women must become Warriors

It is ten years since Andrea Dworkin left us, and ten years since feminist ally Robert Jenson reminded all men who stood against her, who this warrior for humanity really was – far from a man-hater:

“I am a man who has read all of Dworkin’s books, and here is how it looks to me: I don’t think she hated men. I think she loved us. I think Andrea Dworkin loved men because she loved people, and men are people — men are human beings — no matter how hard we sometimes seem to want to prove otherwise by our behavior.

Here is what Dworkin said when she addressed a men’s conference and asked them to work against rape:

“I don’t believe rape is inevitable or natural. If I did, I would have no reason to be here. If I did, my political practice would be different than it is. Have you ever wondered why we [women] are not just in armed combat against you? It’s not because theres a shortage of kitchen knives in this country. It is because we believe in your humanity, against all the evidence.”

Dworkin wanted to help men claim our humanity, not just for our sake but because she wanted to stop men’s violence against women. She wanted an end to the harassment, rape, battery, child sexual assault. And she knew that required men to change, to save ourselves. In that same speech, she challenged men to take that responsibility:

“[Women] do not want to do the work of helping you to believe in your humanity. We cannot do it anymore. We have always tried. We have been repaid with systematic exploitation and systematic abuse. You are going to have to do this yourselves from now on and you know it.”

These words are as true today as ever. Our current paradigm of masculinity is hurting everyone. The rates of male violence/sexual violence and fatal male violence against women in this country is and should be visceral and sickening, especially to men. We need a new masculinity, and men, it is up to you. Continue reading

It’s A Guy Thing: sorry gals, suck it up and be cool

I’ve been #countingdeadwomen for 3 months now, and missing women, and women and girls assaulted and raped by men, with the help of REAL for women colleague Kate Drury. And I have to commend the UK founder of #countingdeadwomen Karen Ingala Smith, not only for her ongoing work remembering women murdered by male violence, but also for her valuable role in the newly launched UK national femicide census – When we collectively know what is being done to us as women, by men, then we can collectively organise to change the ‘way things are’.

What about men? Karen Ingala Smith has already gone into great detail about male victims of violence below:

Male Violence

What about the men? Part 1: This thing about male victims

What about the men? Part 2: Let’s look at the men

What about the men? Part 3: Can you give me a link to ‘Counting Dead Men? 

What about the men? Part 4: Talking about male violence (it seems like I’ve been here before)

What about the men? Part 5: Sex differences and ‘domestic violence murders’

What about Australia?

According to Victoria Police crime statistics on offenders processed for the 2013/14 reporting year:

  • 87% of homicides were committed by men.
    98% of sexual assaults were committed by men.
    83% of non-sexual assaults were committed by men.
    90% of robberies were committed by men.
    92% of abductions were committed by men.

That’s a pretty stark picture; there’s not a lot of grey areas there (data supplied by Victoria Police. As explained above, it is not publicly available). Jane Gilmore

As women, and survivors of male violence, the records we are keeping here are, and will be, focused on male violence against women and children.  

Rape and domestic violence are highly gendered and highly under-reported crimes.

We have recorded the last 3 months, and continue to count, reported (only) alleged and convicted male violence and male sexual violence against women and girls in our country – We ask you to look, and reflect, on the entitlement the men of our country think they have to women and our bodies. We ask you to look at how little everyday men think of women. Continue reading

When murder doesn’t matter

More so, where murder doesn’t matter when you are a woman murdered by a man.

In a so called free, first world, first rate country, is this really good enough?

22 women have been murdered by known or suspected male violence in the first 2 and a 1/2 months of 2015 in Australia. There is no more time for outdated views, justifications and pedestrian attitudes.

This is Australia where the very environment and culture in which these murders “happen” to women, is not only excused or ignored, but participated in by the sex class of our murderers. By men who are the dominant sex class, men who are running our governments, running our businesses and our religions. Men who also own our freedom of speech, one of the many perks of being the lawmakers in this monopolisation of our media, wealth and property.

Women in Australia live in a world with this ruling sex class – our murderers, our rapists, our abusers and our exploiters. We live in a world where everyday and influential men participate in, benefit from, and perpetuate a culture that subordinates, objectifies and degrades women on a daily basis, calling it “normal” or saying “it’s just the way things are” (it certainly works out well for men). Continue reading