Jesus the headline!!!! ? This was the headline of a recent SMH article about the recent murder of a woman and her three children in Queensland by her estranged partner who then killed himself.
In the wake of this latest shocking incidence of family violence in Australia, the chief executive of the Australian National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety, proposed:
“that during the period of separation, every man must be put on a program with mental health checks and scrutinised for signs of violence to ensure he is making the transition safely and not a risk to women, children or themselves. ‘We must target individual men.'”(Sydney Morning Herald)
This is a dangerous precedent – it’s dangerous to even be talking about it! As much as an horrific event such as this wants us to rush to “fix” things, screening ALL men is abuse in itself!
As a survivor of domestic violence myself, I don’t advocate for screening all men – it’s not all men. It’s some men. It’s insulting to say just because they’re men they’re potential killers – and it’s also a dangerous attitude to have. It also ignores the many women capable of violence (yes overwhelmingly men are the perpetrators but we can’t ignore the flip side because it’s inconvenient). It also ignores the fact that not all relationships end in violence once the relationship ends because they end for a multitude of reasons.
Yes it is the most dangerous time when you leave IF you are with a violent person or one with the propensity to violence – the leaving is what led to my broken nose and eventual AVO – after I dripped blood all over my boss’s office floor.
I think governments have done a huge amount in terms of resources and education (certainly in the period from when I was a victim back in the ’80s when no one wanted to know about it); but it’s now up to us to change SOCIETY’S attitude towards it – and drop the “don’t ask don’t know” mentality.
SOMEONE had to have known what was happening in this case but said nothing, to him or anyone else. I remember the father of my abuser saying to me in the early days of the relationship “If he ever hits you tell me” …. I was flabbergasted but clearly he knew something of the character of his son I was yet to find out.
We have to encourage men and women to speak out when they see friends or work colleagues behaving aggressively, speaking disparagingly etc and to take a zero tolerance approach to aggression. Men AND women. Adults AND children. Between siblings. On the sports field. In sport on TV.
It’s a multipronged approach and we need a zero tolerance position in society to violence everywhere or we are enabling the attitude that it’s okay in any situation and therefore by extension, every situation.