Currently, the country (and the world) is talking constantly and loudly about the Olympics. That’s fine. Sport can be a great leveller, it can bring cultures together, it celebrates people who are some of the most committed and hard-working in our society. All good.
But you know what else is happening right now? Women are being killed by their partners. Every week in Australia, there is at least one domestic homicide. That’s an odd euphemism, isn’t it? Let us call it for what it is- death. Murder. The fact is that women in Victoria aged between 15-44 are more likely to die and be permanently disabled because of family violence than any other health indicator.
Four Corners in a long running current affairs program, and I applaud them for talking about an issue that doesn’t often get air time. But as I sit here, shaking with rage and sadness and frustration, I wonder what will happen next. Will there be the same outrage that exploded over the live-export story? Media exposure has power, or at least it did for livestock. I want Australian women (and all women) to be valued and kept alive. Supported, able to live in safety and peace. Able to know that if they report violence, police will respond promptly and properly.
And I’m angry that these things are STILL not a reality. I’m angry when I have almost-daily conversations with people- men, women, young, old- who say, ‘isn’t feminism over now?’. When, in a professional capacity, I advocate to get a client into refuge but know that such services are at 100% capacity nearly 100% of the time, and I have to tell her this. In short, I am telling her, ‘There are not enough refuges because the government values gold medals over your safety, over funding workers and resources to adequately respond to this national epidemic’.
How can we change this mentality? When will Australia get its fucking priorities straight? Any of the women who die this week at the hands of their partners could make wonderful contributions to society- yeah, including sport- if they were able to stay alive, and to live their lives without fear of violence.
I’m into sport. I get teary when the Olympics are on and the TV networks show those montages of great athletic feats. I like yelling and screaming at the screen as though that will make swimmers go faster. So don’t go calling me a killjoy. I just wonder what might happen if we as a country could put even one tenth of the passion, energy and money spent on elite sport into the elimination of domestic violence. I wonder and I write blogs, and I cry. And then I pick myself up and try to bloody DO SOMETHING to create change because fuck it, crying just makes your face look funny.
Got cash? This organisation could use it: Women’s Domestic Violence Crisis Service
Got a mouth? Talk about it.