I’m done being nice. I’m done being tactful. I’m done with people who don’t give a damn. I’m done with complacency. I’m done with “it doesn’t affect me”. I’m done with people closing their eyes so they can’t see what’s happening. I’m done with Australia’s attitude to domestic violence. No… let’s take the domestic part out of it.. I’m done with violence – full stop! And if you’re reading this and you don’t think this issue is important… I’m done with you!
I’m so angry right now and I can’t shut up any longer. I’ve stayed fairly quiet lately. This year has been so distressing when it comes to the plight of women, not just in our country but all over the world. By November 21st this year, 78 women in Australia had been murdered. In 11 months, we’ve lost 78 mothers, grandmothers, granddaughters, daughters, sisters, aunties, nieces, friends, teachers, florists, PEOPLE. Most of these were killed by partners or someone known to them. We’ve lost 78 precious lives. Are people jumping up and down and screaming about this? No, not really.
Women are being beaten, raped and murdered at an alarming rate and people are still turning their heads the other way. The people who always speak out are still speaking out, thank God. The larger part of our society says stupid, idiotic things like: “Why don’t they just leave if it’s that bad”… “It only happens in poorer households”… “Oh a little shove isn’t domestic violence”… “Look at how she was dressed”… “What was she doing out at that time of night anyway?”… “It doesn’t affect me!!!!!”
Well I have the answers for these poorly thought out questions.. “They don’t leave because they are so beaten down emotionally and physically, they don’t have money to escape, the police still see it as a “tit for tat” situation and so don’t help and idiots that ask this question, berate them for what has happened to them, so they don’t feel they have anyone to turn to”…. “It happens in every socio-economic part of our society, Poor, Middle Class and Wealthy – check the statistics”…. “The definition of domestic violence covers emotional, verbal, social, economic, psychological, spiritual, physical and sexual abuse. Yes a shove IS domestic violence”… “I don’t care if she was dancing naked down Burke Street, she didn’t ask to be raped or murdered. “… “She was possibly coming home for a night out with friends, or from work, or from helping a sick relative, or seeing her grandmother – Who gives a damn what she was doing out late at night? She has a right to be safe!”…. “It DOES affect you. Regardless of whether you are directly affected, you WILL know someone who is right now suffering as a result of domestic violence. They may not have confided in you, especially if you are one of the people spouting these moronic theories. Why would they? You’ll only blame them anyway. But through your taxes you are paying for the police to attend, the hospital to fix the injuries or the coroner to prepare the body, legal aid to make a case to present to court, the court system to slap the perpetrator on the wrist and say “That wasn’t very nice…. and by the way woman, what did you do to provoke it?”
Our court system is a joke. I’m not going to mention my own experience here, although what happened in my case proves that we do not have a justice system, as the word justice means: 1. just behaviour or treatment. “a concern for justice, peace, and genuine respect for people”. We have a legal system that looks after the person who did the wrong thing.
Any of you who regularly read my blog will know that I’m usually fairly even tempered in what I write. I try to write with a clear and calm mind and to see both sides of an argument. So what has made my blood boil today? Well, this week in Australia, a man called Gerard Baden-Clay has had his murder charge reduced to manslaughter. I won’t go into the whole case here as if you haven’t heard of the case, there is heaps on the internet about it. But here’s a brief overview:
Allison Baden-Clay went missing from her home. Her husband reported her as missing. He claimed the red scratches on his face were from shaving. Her body was found where it had been dumped in a creek 14 km from her home. He was applying for her life insurance policies before her body had been identified. He was eventually charged with her murder. Throughout the whole case he plead his innocence. He had nothing to do with it. He was a victim. He did however, get convicted of her murder and sent to jail. He subsequently appealed and admitted that he did kill her but he didn’t mean to. That was good enough for the court who reduced his conviction to manslaughter.
This man has murdered his wife, lied, perjured himself, caused abject misery and untold grief to Allison’s family and friends. He has left his own children devoid of their loving mother. Yet he may be out of jail in as few as five years. Where is the justice for Allison? Where is the justice for her family and friends? WHERE IS JUSTICE?
On top of all this, there is a petition going around on change.org to demand the QLD acting Attorney General Cameron Dick to “Appeal the decision reducing Gerard Baden-Clay’s murder conviction to manslaughter”. All it takes is a click of the computer mouse. Yet people are avoiding it. They don’t want to know about it. Out of a population of nearly 24 million people, less than 70,000 have taken the time for one click of the mouse to say her life mattered.
On facebook everyday, I wade through a plethora of lost or abused dog photos (more often than not the exact same photo but with a different name and story), I see ridiculous claims that Bill Gates is going to give $5 for every person that says Amen on a child’s photo (and I’m sure that child never gave permission for their photo to be used), I see inspirational quotes by the millions and I even share them occasionally…. I see people clicking like, I see them sharing these posts, I see them saying Amen even though they know it’s a scam. Yet for something as important as making our so-called Justice System accountable for it’s bad decisions where women’s lives are concerned, they don’t want to know, share, click or even say a quick amen.
I despair of a society that says human lives don’t matter. I despair of a society that turns it’s head when a fellow human being is suffering. I despair of a society that feels it’s not up to itself to make a change. Roughly every week in Australia, another 2 women are killed by partners, husbands, boyfriends etc. With these statistics, there are four more women who won’t celebrate Christmas with their family and friends this year. This has to change. Before you turn your head and say it doesn’t affect me, think how you would feel if it was YOUR mother, YOUR sister, YOUR friend, YOUR niece, YOUR aunty or in my case YOUR daughter. It affects every one of us. We can no longer be complacent. Please don’t avert your eyes because it makes you feel uncomfortable. Please don’t pretend you can’t see the bruises. Please don’t think it doesn’t affect you. Please sign the petition! Our lives depend on it.
Yours in despair