Hello fellow sixty somethings. Today while watching the morning news there was an item on Sunrise about a domestic violence boot camp, which takes place in Western Australia. As we all know, domestic violence and indeed violence against women is rife in this country. I believe there are already at least 11 deaths this year from violence of some sort against women.
Boot camp for men to learn how NOT to commit these offences is not a bad thing, so please don’t get me wrong, but I’d like to know if the incidents have dropped since this boot camp was started and if so, why wasn’t one opened up in every state by now?
Now I know domestic violence isn’t something that only happens to women, but on the whole, women are the main victims. I am not trying to make light of men being abused but I am writing this from an abused woman’s point of view. Over 30 years ago I was abused. The disgusting animal passing himself off as a man was particularly brutal. He was in the army at the time and used all his army training to his advantage on how to control me with force. I tried so often to leave but was always dragged back and back then the police were reluctant to “interfere” in a domestic argument. For those of you who have not suffered at the hands of this sort of abuse, you need to understand that it is not easy to just leave. These days, it is not much easier, contrary to popular belief. Yes, the police do get involved and make arrests etc, but the law sucks. Laws on this are not nearly harsh enough. Penalties need to be more severe and education needs to start from the day a child understands right from wrong. Otherwise, boot camps etc will never be of use.
I had someone recently tell me this was all bullsh*t. That women in this situation just need to walk out. In most cases this is not possible and when it happens it can cause dire consequences for some. With laws that keep these men in jail for small amounts of time, most women are scared of what will happen when they get out of jail. I also had a man say to me that I was only giving one side of the story. That there must be a reason that men beat up on women. I say bullsh*t! What reason is there to punch a woman, often at least half the size of the perpetrator and with no way to defend herself? What reason is there to kick a woman in the face, punch her, slam her head up against a wall, break her limbs etc.? This is not always what happens you say. Sometimes it’s just a shove or one punch. That would make it a shove or one punch too many I say.
Violence against women is still growing, despite all efforts from women to protect themselves. In November 2014, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that violence against women was rife in universities in the form of sexual assault and rape. Although it was recommended that statistics were collected many universities were reluctant to release their findings, keeping it “in house” so to speak. How will this help? Won’t this give men a sense of power in never being brought to justice? Do universities have the right to hide what is happening? Will these men think that this behaviour is acceptable in a marriage or partnership? Recently a documentary written and produced in America was shown here in Australian universities. It is called ‘Hunting Ground Australian Project’ for the purpose of Australia. Will it help educate young men? Will it help Australian women who just want to live, to learn, in safety? Will it stop our universities from hiding our shame?
Violence of any kind is unacceptable. When we here of violence against women and domestic violence we are so often guilty of not wanting to talk about it, of blaming a Oman for the way she dresses, because she travels alone, because she provokes her husband. We are too fond of sweeping incidents under the carpet. Is it any surprise older women are afraid – afraid to leave, afraid to speak up. We all need to speak up. We all need to band together to protect our victims. We all need to give these victims the strength they need to carry on. 30 years ago I was a victim and it changed my life. Today I am no longer afraid, but I still have nightmares and occasionally look over my shoulder. This should not have to happen to anyone.