After White Ribbon Day: put your money where your oath is.

28 Nov
Elsie. Australia's first women's refuge.

Elsie. Australia’s first women’s refuge.

 

November 25th is the International Day of Elimination of Violence against Women, known as White Ribbon Day after the organisation that works to prevent male violence against women, an organisation led by men with the aim of supporting women, and calling violent men on their behaviours as well as assisting them with change. Men are required to take an oath that they will protest violence against women, and the wearing of a white ribbon signifies that they’ve taken that oath.

FACT: Destroy the Joint’s Counting Dead Women Project keeps a record of the names, lives and circumstances of all women in Australia who have died in incidents of violence against women in 2015. The total so far: seventy-eight.

FACT: Every three hours, somewhere in Australia, a woman is hospitalised because of injuries inflicted on her by her intimate partner. These partners are overwhelmingly male.

FACT: Every week, three women injured by an intimate partner in Australia suffer a debilitating brain injury.

FACT: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced a $101.1 million Women’s Safety Package designed to prevent and eliminate violence against women. This went some small way to replacing the $300 million in cuts inflicted on the frontline domestic violence service sector by the previously Abbott-led government.

This sector provides refuges, support and trauma counselling for women and children fleeing violence, and community legal centres where woman can obtain assistance with intervention orders, and the legal processes involved in obtaining protection from violent partners. Then Minister for Women Tony Abbott’s cuts seriously crippled the ability of these already overstretched services to cope with the increasing numbers of women and children attempting to escape violent domestic situations.

Less than 5% of Turnbull’s $100 million “restoration” of that Abbott- withdrawn funding will go towards the provision of those frontline crisis services

In spite of the White Ribbon Day hoo haa (which included, bafflingly, a fighter jet fly past over Canberra because nothing says let’s end violence like fighter jets) the Turnbull government has done practically nothing to restore frontline crisis services that will help save women’s lives, and help prevent injuries to women and children by actually giving them somewhere to go when a violent man violently erupts in their homes, and they have no choice but to flee.

While education, the raising of awareness, the provision of special phones, alarms and all the other measures the $101.1 million will fund are absolutely necessary, there is nothing, absolutely nothing as urgently vital as actually giving women and children somewhere to go in that terrible moment when they have to get out of their home. Yet this life-threatening urgency appears to be beyond the imaginative comprehension of politicians, both federal and state.

FACT: In NSW there used to be seventy-eight women’s refuges. Since the reforms of the LNP Baird government, some of which were necessitated by the federal funding cuts to states, there are now only fourteen specialist women’s refuges, the rest having been converted to “generalist” refuges under the umbrella of “homelessness.” This means women and children fleeing domestic violence can find themselves sharing a refuge with homeless men. It means that previously women-only refuges now must agree to accept homeless men in order to keep their funding.

FACT: Since the Baird reforms only half of the refuges in NSW have 24/7 contact and accessibility facilities, so make sure you get bashed between nine and five. If you go to the police in a crisis outside of these hours, there is nowhere for the police to take you.This does not help the police, apart from anything else.

After tweeting relentlessly on White Ribbon Day about the destructive “reform” of categorising those fleeing domestic violence as “homeless” (they aren’t: they have a home, they just can’t stay in it because of a violent co-habitant) I was contacted by Brad Hazzard, NSW Minister for Family and Community Services and Social Housing, who referred me to his media release on the topic.

This release tells me nothing I don’t already know about the Baird “reforms.” These “reforms” have led to many highly experienced refuge workers finding themselves ousted by faith-based organisation such as the Salvation Army, who, when the tendering process for DV funding was changed to the provision of “homelessness” services, were experienced in that field as specialist DV and trauma workers are not, and so neatly fitted the tendering criteria.

In case you don’t know and I didn’t, there are criteria for tendering so apparently it’s necessary to tender for the right to tender.

A study commissioned by the World Bank and published in the American Political Science Review — conducted over four decades and in 70 countries — details the context of violence against women. Its core finding: the mobilization of local grassroots feminist movements is more important for positive change than the wealth of nations, left-wing political parties, or the number of women politicians. 

Local grassroots feminist movements first introduced women’s refugees in this country. Local grassroots feminist movements developed a model for the assistance and protection of women and children escaping violent men with whom they shared their homes. Decades of training, experience and specialist knowledge informed the provision of frontline specialist crisis services by feminists and others who followed the feminist model. The model has its faults, as do all models. But it unfailingly prioritised the needs and rights of women and children fleeing violence.

There was never enough funding. There were never enough refuges. There were never enough adequately funded community legal centres.

After White Ribbon Day 2015, the situation for women and children fleeing domestic violence is more parlous and tenuous than it has been for decades. At the same time, there are more and more women attempting to flee violent situations, only to find fewer and fewer services able to assist them.

To Prime Minister Turnbull, to NSW Premier Mike Baird, to the White Ribbon organisation and all it supporters: look at the facts, and put your money where your oath is. Because as long as you wear that white ribbon AND refuse us the crisis services we so desperately need to save us from injury and death, you have no credibility at all.

What will it take for politicians to grasp the urgency of the situation? Turnbull and many others have articulated what it will take: a cultural change.

That cultural change begins with acknowledging that all women and all children share equal rights to a safe environment, and when that is not our own home due to male violence against us in that home, it is a government’s absolute responsibility to provide an option, until such time as we  are enabled to provide our own.

If the law can be changed overnight  when a handful of men are king hit on a public street, yet women’s crisis services are not available and adequately funded, despite the appalling statistics that tell us of the intolerable violence visited upon us, this tells me everything about this culture and how it does not equally value me, and it does not equally value everyone else of my sex. It tells me that there is not the political will to change the culture, and therefore it is unlikely to be changed.

Change the culture: Put your money where your oath is. Then you can wear your white ribbon, knowing that every night and every tomorrow, somewhere in Australia a woman will escape injury and death, and a child will escape injury and death because they have somewhere to go, and all the assistance they need to begin a new life in which they can be safe. Then you will send the signal to all men that violence against women will not be tolerated.

If you can’t do that you will not even begin to achieve cultural change, and your shiny white ribbon will be forever stained with our spilled blood.

It’s not complicated.

 

 

 

 

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35 Responses to “After White Ribbon Day: put your money where your oath is.”

  1. Forrest Gumpp (@ForrestGumpp) November 28, 2015 at 2:52 pm #

    Not really addressing the main thrust of your post, I know, but with respect to the changing of the law overnight in the cases of men being king hit, I would suggest it was not done out of any real concern as to the mainly male victims or public order, but as an indignation-channeling backdrop supporting the imposition of selective inner city bar curfews. From which cui bono? The Barangaroo development area?

    So it may simply be not so much a matter of community political will being lacking in addressing the core issues of DV, but of a capture of the political process by organisational/commercial interests that exclude it from the agenda. In which circumstances the exposure of such inside track interests, and the mechanisms by which they have captured the political process, may be the way forward.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. russell November 28, 2015 at 7:00 pm #

    I had become do disgusted I have put the name or proper title of it out of my memory.

    When in NSW the refuge cuts were starting to take effect, I became aware of a policy, unsure if it’s a Bairdy only or a federal program for requiring abused assaulted women and children to go back from whence they came, yep, back to the violent home they had presumably recently fled. Apparently even after only a few days of ‘refuge’.

    It may fit as some nice program template of how neat things ought to be but being required to return to a glowering threatening ‘man of the household’ is certainly not a solution. Guaranteed to raise fear levels in all. Is it a covert design to make women more compliant with and inured of male violence? I shudder to think.

    It dawned then how thick our political lawmakers had become and just how separate from church they were not. New understandings and definitions for hypocrisy sprang to mind.

    I knew from 30 years ago this was a backward step. An antithesis of care and refuge.

    Change that policy of ‘bureaucratic forcing’ of women back into a violent circumstance. It is a disgrace on the politician and a disgrace on the church.

    It is a beacon for all to see of the moral bankruptcy of pollies who thought this up and the churches who charge themselves with collusive administration of it. It may save the government some money but it will result in more injury and death.

    You are disgraced before your claimed God and before the people. Fix it.

    (Thank you NPFS for recalling that minus $300m plus $100m (sort of) equals $200m in the very red minus.)

    Is the Salvos? bloke still in charge out at Broken Hill refuge I wonder? What were they thinking? Women’s refuge work must be conducted by women who have experienced and know more than any man ever could. Even such men as Turnbull, Baird or Pell. How many men are in charge of women’s refuges currently?

    Women’s refuges are not homeless peoples homes, they are a refuge for women and their dependent children. Who would allow even a mildly intoxicated male stranger into a home full of fragile children and apprehensive women? A budgetry ghoul that’s who.

    All the churches need to fix their kiddie fiddler capers before they start trying to take care of demoralized and battered women and children.

    The women seeking refuge have already been at considerable risk and actual injury from hard nosed bastards at least once. They don’t need it from a refuge turned bureaucracy.

    Change that one policy to lessen misery and save some women’s and children’s lives.

    If not it is clear for all to see, you practice rank spiritual, moral and political hypocrisy, regardless of how pious you may wish to be seen by us the public. Or indeed how you do see and would like to see, yourself. Fix it please Mr Baird, Mr Turnbull! Just fix it.

    Above all, please cease being tempted to use battered women and children as some sort of religious, political or budgetry cannon fodder. Just fix it. Provide refuge above all.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Forrest Gumpp (@ForrestGumpp) November 29, 2015 at 6:47 am #

      “It dawned then how thick our political lawmakers had become and just how separate from church they were not.”

      That is a superb encapsulation, Russell. It helps put a focus upon the main organisational beneficiaries of what is slowly coming to be recognised as a capture of the political process. Not a side effect thereof, but a principal objective, might be a productive way to regard it.

      With the Abbott government having represented the seeming apogee of a covert capture of the political process in Australia, and a similar process of ongoing capture and diversion being evident in US politics and executive government, is an explanation to hand for the apparent refusal in some quarters to accept the propriety of Abbott’s removal?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Forrest Gumpp (@ForrestGumpp) November 29, 2015 at 7:10 am #

        See what I mean?

        I’m not commenting as to the content of the article (as yet unread), but as to the fact of its publication, and where.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Jennifer Wilson November 29, 2015 at 7:46 am #

          Yes, I just read that Forrest. Very interesting, I had no idea about Turnbull’s religiosity. Thanks for linking.

          Like

        • doug quixote November 30, 2015 at 8:02 am #

          The Roman Catholic Church again.

          Abbott did plenty of spruiking about Daesh being a death cult; Abbott should know, the RC Church is itself a death cult. Maybe no worse than any other Christian cult, but a death cult without doubt.

          And Turnbull ought to have known better. I wonder sometimes at the gullibility of the human psyche, the evident need for many (most?) to have some sort of spiritual crutch with which to face the world.

          Hitchens on the christian death cult:

          Liked by 1 person

          • hudsongodfrey November 30, 2015 at 12:58 pm #

            I agree with most of what Hitchen’s says in any other context, Just don’t quite see how genital mutilation found its way into this discussion?

            Like

          • doug quixote November 30, 2015 at 3:52 pm #

            Wrong video!

            Like

          • Jennifer Wilson November 30, 2015 at 4:24 pm #

            If only they’d keep it to themselves instead of demanding everyone else validated their nuttiness…

            Like

        • hudsongodfrey November 30, 2015 at 1:31 pm #

          Forrest,

          One thing that did occur to me reading this, relates to what we’ve learned from recent unrelated events in Paris and Beirut. It’s not perfectly straightforward to tie the two ideas together, but I’ll give it a bash.

          Turnbull despite his faults and some people’s worst suspicions is not just notionally better than Abbott, he’s on the record as supporting a number of polices Abbott vehemently opposed. Republicanism, Climate Change and Same Sex Marriage being the three most prominent of ones that come to mind. He is in that sense a more moderate Christian than Abbott in the same sense that many of the left have been at odds with the right of late over their attitudes towards moderate Muslims.

          If we believe that our principles or indeed our way of life is more under attack from abandonment of those enlightenment values of tolerance and pluralism which recommend discourse rather than force to resolve our differences, then that is also consistent with one of the better ways we might reduce domestic violence.

          I think we’ll agree that even with a brand new pope and anglicans ordaining women and gays that neither christians nor any of the other Abrahamic religions would readily qualify as feminists. So the point that they’re lagging on those ways of dealing with domestic breakdowns that involve empowering women is well made. They’re still hopelessly in denial about the whole business of sexuality let alone relationship breakdown and divorce.

          Yet if we can keep the moderates respecting the secular space then we know from past experience that moves public policy in the direction we want it to take. Which is why knowing as I did beforehand what Turnbull’s religious disposition was I’d still rather have him to work with than Abbott.

          By the way when you get time, look up Shorten and Albanese in Wikipedia……It states their religion.

          Liked by 1 person

      • Jennifer Wilson November 29, 2015 at 7:38 am #

        The capture being by the middling to extreme RW religious nut jobs who loathe above all else not having control over women and our bodies. See Colorado Springs terrorist attack on an abortion clinic as an example.

        Like

        • Forrest Gumpp (@ForrestGumpp) November 29, 2015 at 9:41 am #

          At face value that’s probably a reasonable ascription of blame. I view the capture of process as being the mechanism whereby such blinkered ‘visioneries’ have seemingly routinely become ensconsed within political parties, and ultimately within the legislatures and executive government of the nation.

          The ultimate standard for the measurement of political success is the official result from the ballot box. If that can in some way be routinely covertly influenced, over time it can be an immensely powerful means of delivering a false message to all of the non-ballotbox dependent parts of the political process, like pre-selections, the MSM, the propensity to join (or leave) political parties, and so on.

          Needless to say, such a mechanism for distorting erstwhile true outcomes is unlikely to be lying around in plain view. Your mission, should you accept it, is to keep asking the right questions (and you can take that whatever way you like) in order that it may eventually be revealed. That may mean a lot of work, and the challenging of much received wisdom, but as we know, ‘work makes you free’.

          Like

        • Marilyn November 29, 2015 at 5:53 pm #

          More like we can’t provide refuges because we are squandering $4 billion a year jailing, trading, trafficking and abusing a few thousand refugees.

          Liked by 2 people

    • Jennifer Wilson November 29, 2015 at 7:32 am #

      Well said, Russell.
      There is indeed a program underway in NSW (don’t know about other states) that is supposed to enable women to stay in the home and the perpetrator to leave. I can see it might work in some circumstances, but it’s actually counter-intuitive as controlling men (and DV is all about control) aren’t likely to meekly give up their home and their control over it.
      It’s cheaper, of course, than providing refuges etc, and is an economic solution and nothing else.
      Women end up living in a home that is a fortress: surveillance cameras,safe rooms, and no guarantee of anything ever changing for them.
      I can’t imagine how dreadful it must feel to go to a refuge and find men living there as well: at that point of crisis, women and children can be terrified of being in close proximity to men, especially total strangers with lots of issues of their own.
      It’s an appalling situation, you’re right.

      Like

    • zerograv1 December 30, 2015 at 9:00 am #

      I dont buy the poor me victim role a lot of these women claim to be, sorry but I have seen far too many be the initiators of the fight and count a percentage of the female so called victims as instead initiators and agressors that simply lost the fight having ignored the advice to choose their battles carefully. The battled wounded if you like. Hell the cougar sites are full of women like this! It was once a tenet of feminism to invade tradional male occupations and show the boys up since women know everything and men apparently nothing (Anyting you can do I can do better and similar thinking). This offensive seems to have failed fairly miserably (hence the futility of quota’s, CEO-ism, political number rigging etc etc – lack of candidates and not “what women truly want” being the main causes of failure on these types of programs)- the glass ceiling is now only the goal of to break of the socially ambitious and driven chip on the shoulder types – the rest of us would rather just shrug off our grievances and enjoy life. Even aging feminists like Greer and Summers seem to be playing to increasigly diminishng crowds. So in the end we didnt get enough women who decided to become architects, builders, engineers even when we built female only collectives in other parts of the western workld – women still expect men to be breadwinners, providers of the home, the cash register, the big daddy despite the instant resentment women have been trained to react with to this character. – we now have a very traditional reversion to gender roles but just co-opted by other interest groups. The White Ribbon mob has bugger all to do with feminism and a lot more to do with retreating behind the safe skirts of conservative and traditional gender roles. Women are a long way from building and saving for their own housing (I hope someone at least made an attempt somewhere to get this going) – its a narrow battleground in any case since it still assumes that men are responsible to sugar daddy women and if they dont then the gloves come off and these poor little victims suddenly turn into violent angry foot stompers that adopt tactics like divorce, deny access to kids, emotional blackmail, property sabotage, have revenge affairs etc etc – hardly the actions of victims, just very angry females still beleving in santa claus and the notion of romantic marriage they have clung tightly too since childhood, and how things “Should be” (see the implied fantasy in that assumption?) – a lot of people still beleive this mainstream fantasy including the courts, media, and womens groups – disneyland was a staged production folks!! So my take on all this is that men are heartily sick of being demonised, a lot have no time at all for angry little princesses and tend to walk off the farm (which is all part of the housing acquisition scheme to engineer through accusations, nagging and badgering) and men then move overseas and try to find a less hateful companion…..now whether or not society takes responsibility for housing the wounded warrors of female spite is another matter – personally I dont think tis the taxpayers responsibility and these women perhaps should try to convince dear old dad or mum (if she controls the finances) to pony up for the house deposit and stop expecting men to fund it simply because they possess a penis.Im no liberal supporter but maybe Hockey was right for once and the expectations have been raised again to unrealistic levels on how life is supposed to be for a sector that seems to have been doted on, funded and spolit and get extremely savage if you take away their favorite addiction. You will even see this in the welfare area with bogan mums becoming baby factories for cash – their problems are suddenly everyone elses problems – go fund me!! Want to pay for my baby production? Fortunately some people of both sexes are more down to earth and practical, see the task at hand,roll up there sleeves and get on with it – they dont rely on welfare poison – which is really what White Ribbon is aiming to be – a moving of the chairs and rebranding since the single mothers pension was cut – still it might socially engineer more marriages (not that Im any fan of that particular human construct) when women get sick of living off the handout I guess. If and when White ribbon transforms itself into a peace seeking organisation I’ll be a lot more for it but for now its appears just to be a begging group that wont hesitate to inflame the debate if it doesnt get its own way.

      Like

  3. hudsongodfrey November 28, 2015 at 9:25 pm #

    No it isn’t complicated and there’s nothing I could disagree with that you’ve said. The refuges are the most necessary part of dealing with the problem and for reasons we really ought to try to understand they’re also the most neglected aspect of State and Federal policy in a year where this issue has received what’s sure to be the most attention it’ll ever get. That’s a shame.

    If I were to suggest anything we could think about more the likes of destroy the joint listing what I presume to be all murders of women under the heading of domestic violence might also be a distraction on a couple of fronts.

    When I read the news and see cases of male partners beating children to death, or even more disconcertingly women who turn on a child, then how is that not grabbing the focus that it ought to. Whether they’re suffering from a stressor such as post natal depression, or living under a roof with a partner who’s violent towards the children, these are powerful reasons why women need somewhere to go.

    When we concentrate on the deaths of women and do so without necessarily making the distinction between a calculated bid to commit murder that will be the first and last violent thing her partner does then perhaps we start by looking in the wrong places. I good deal of abuse is serial and insidious, it never escalates to fatalities, but its precisely because the victims are able to recover and put on a brave face that it endures. If we’re talking about a proportion of the women who lose their lives in domestic circumstances in a way that seeks to warn then the conversation ought to centre on hitting, not killing. It’s almost too obvious to say that by the time it occurs to anyone that a situation might be life threatening the chances are high that it might already be too late. All the more reason to focus on the need for women to have more and better options to the point where staying is a choice because going is always a readily available possibility.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson November 29, 2015 at 7:36 am #

      Yes, HG, exactly, in a year where there has been more focus on DV than I can ever remember, governments reduce funding to the services that provide assistance and refuge.
      Inevitably more women feel empowered to come forward about their abuse when the topic is so powerfully in the public domain, yet male politicians choose this time to reduce their options.
      Forrest would see this as deliberate, a conspiracy. I’m tempted to wonder about that too.

      Like

      • hudsongodfrey November 29, 2015 at 10:50 am #

        I think it’s deliberate avoidance, conspiracy if you like but not with the grand nefarious agenda assigned to conspiracy theories as we know them. More of any adversity to spending money on social programs when unfortunately focusing on law enforcement seems more popular.

        Sure if we’re to give one part of that scenario it’s due a working AVO system would get abusers out of the home and keep them away, but there’s nothing to be liked about the time that takes and the disempowerment of the women caught up in that system.

        Liked by 1 person

        • doug quixote November 30, 2015 at 4:10 pm #

          That post is a mess, HG.

          Addressing the substance of the argument, AVOs can never stop a person determined to kill and who cares nothing for the consequences; it is the mentality of the suicide bomber.

          All that we can do is get the (potential) victims away to a secure location, and hope that time will eventually mellow the perpetrator. I’m not sure that gaoling the perpetrators is an answer, unless it is for many years; they have too much time in which to smoulder and plan revenge.

          Like

          • hudsongodfrey November 30, 2015 at 5:43 pm #

            Did you read the earlier post and put this in context?

            I am in fact simply trying to say that it seems fairer that he be asked to leave than she and the kids, but getting AVO’s to work under the current system is pie-in-the-sky, and part of the reason why we need more refuges.

            In response to your second paragraph, the way that mobile devices work these days I see no reason why it would be technically impossible to track those who’re subject to AVO’s if we really wanted to.

            Liked by 1 person

    • zerograv1 December 30, 2015 at 9:41 am #

      While I agree with a lot of your post, I think the narrow limiting of causes eg “Whether they’re suffering from a stressor such as post natal depression, or living under a roof with a partner who’s violent towards the children, these are powerful reasons why women need somewhere to go.” misses some of it – Remember feminism encourages women to throw off the shackles of domestic passivity and become she men – ala Rhonda Rousey, the Lara Croft fantasy, even the new heroine in Star Wars – whats her name and women love this stuff! Women in AFL and Rugby are other examples – there is many modern exmaples of the ongoing push to through off the gender stereotype, Therefore what fantasised and illusory assumptions we fall for if we assume that women arent just as capable of being arseholes, violent , bullies (especially if they have a passive husband) of men – how limiting and frankly unrealistic to see them only as nice girls trembling fearfully in a corner – sometimes they light the fuse and then look for the closest male to pin the blame on too dont forget….I have to supervie some of these superheroines in my workplace, generally they wont try that shit on when picked up on the behaviour (very bully like instant coward back down reaction if you challenge them to put their job on the line)

      Like

  4. doug quixote November 30, 2015 at 7:39 am #

    The Baird government has a lot to answer for after the tendering out of women’s refuges as set out in the article referred to in FACT [5] of your article above:

    http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/mar/09/no-place-to-hide-how-women-are-being-locked-out-of-domestic-violence-refuges

    It may be that many of the deaths and violent attacks in the last year have been enabled by the Baird government’s policies.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. russell November 30, 2015 at 5:49 pm #

    Thanks doug quixote for reference. Yes that’s the one where my mind just baulked at what was being done by the lawmakers.

    I did read all the comments this time and admit to still feeling crook. Although also somewhat encouraged so many people see the wrong for what it is and describe it such.

    I would like a template of what influence was bought to bear by ‘the influencers’ at those policy development meetings. I would like to be able to put titles to the positions they held. If senior church personnel were there, who were they and what did they present for consideration? Who did what and how did policy effect the law to come about?

    The idea of an abhorrent aberrant Abbrorter thingy smirking at budgetary brilliance whilst incorporating their ‘higher altruistic’ religious? motives into perceived outcomes of public policy on desperate people’s lives, sickens me. I don’t sicken easily.

    They should now be made to morally own the repercussions their decisions have contributed to. Out of 78 deaths there would be some who were turned away from potential refuge who are now dead as a direct result. Coroners reports might not tell us that sort of detail. ‘Hannah” from the Guardian article could surely be considered as one.

    Am also in agreement with Forrest, this did not happen by mistake or some unfortunate aberration of ghoulish budget keepers. It has the stink of the then Minister for Women all over it. And so it appears unfortunately NSW Premier Baird is tainted. It is a deliberate designed policy with aforethought, imv.

    If it is now government policy to blame victims including with structural effect as per the Broken Hill refuge Salvos bloke and his budget, imv it is certainly good enough to describe pious christian hypocrisy in high places from within the church and without.

    I declare my non acceptance of this political, spiritual and moral corruption dressed up as social or community care. It is no more than politically violent grand vandalism of people.

    As an older single bloke with no kids the program will not touch my personal physical well being but the depths of my soul revolt at the injustice of all this filthy christian politicking at a horrendous cost to people and community safety and well being.

    In recent years i have been able to assist two blokes, one out of a 14 year defacto and the other a 10 year marriage, to separate with no physical violence inflicted by the men. The two children from the defacto are also ok. I am (by phone) occasionally assisting one of the women (new relationship) living 35ks out of town by herself with an avo against the new bloke being required to come no closer to her house than 30 meters. 30 fucking meters, I can’t believe it. So he can park 40m up the hill and is ok in the law.

    My best mates sister with 2 small children had an urgent need for refuge from violence earlier this year in west Sydney. Started searching for a refuge before realizing the extent of dismantling of women’s refuges across the State. I relate this to show i am not entirely out of touch with the issues even as i say as a single bloke. I started to again understand feelings of helpless powerlessness in new and frightening ways that perhaps only a battered women and/or her helpers would recognize instantly. How women deal with this helpless powerlessness is beyond my comprehension or understanding at this time.

    I see no excuse for the Abbott brand of so called Christian practice in governance but Mr Baird should know better. This lawful aberration needs to be adjusted Mr Baird, urgently.

    I have never been able to understand a christian incorporating a blatant hypocrisy as part of a chosen lifestyle. The one is antagonistic to the other, surely for all ‘true’ Christians.

    disclaimer, I am not a member of any congregation of any faith.

    More is the pity or I could ask those practicing Christian Liberal women what their views are. Where are they? Or the matter doesn’t relate? Or they haven’t thought to think of a view? What do all the Liberal pollies wives think? And the Labor wives? Where are they?
    Where is the ‘suffragette solidarity’ from all those women for all those women?

    It ain’t Christianity as i once understood it was supposed to be practiced. Or is it too painfully abhorrent for a Christian woman to even allow herself to think about, the invocation of good Samaritans not withstanding?

    To me it is more a pathetic piss weak powerful man’s way to use their influence in high places to practice their own form of culture wars on the least powerful and at risk in the community, being displaced women and children. Chauvinism is an illiberal ideal and practice. It has no place in democratic governance. It is a corruption against society.
    Sorry sorry I’ll stop now.

    Thanks NPFS for allowance. If comment unacceptable in any way please fell free to take it all down.

    Liked by 3 people

    • hudsongodfrey November 30, 2015 at 8:21 pm #

      Not unacceptable at all.

      Some of the best comments we can make are personal testimonies that offer a bit of insight.

      Most of the regular posters here, like myself are more or less atheists. I say more or less because labels have a way of offending. Some people are more antagonistic towards what is probably their former faith than others. I doubt I’ll ever stop wondering about the conundrum that is religion, but I’ve done a heck of a lot of thinking about it and though I wouldn’t say I’m wise I would say I found it in me to get over it.

      When it comes to politics and religion a couple of things still worry me. One is the way religions can be inclined to play the persecution card when challenged. The other the fact that on my presumption that there is no god the reason that people are arseholes must be simply built into their nature. There would still be either a left and right wing or some other equally divisive, and probably gendered, set of biases even without the hallucinogenic opioid of superstitious claptrap.

      Another way to look at it that in political code “christian” is really a bullshit term, adopted in the latter twentieth century for political effect in the US by the so called Pro-Life movement.

      Just think of how the Irish protestants and catholics killed one another for 600 years, As Doug’s favourite, and occasionally mine, Christopher Hitchens once put it, “This is what you get when you found a political system on the family values of Henry VIII.” If you’d told and IRA member and an Ulster Orangeman that they were both christians they’ve both shot you at the same time.

      Look also at the way Muslim sectarianism is working out for the Syrians and Iraqis at the minute. The whole Middle East is plagued by religious strife, even unto the Jews descended in mythology from the same Abraham as the Arabs through his two sons Isaac and Ishmael. God as it turns out is a lousy real estate agent. But if you nuked the whole joint the survivors would squabble for squatting rights to worship at the rim of the crater. You’re not going to deny that lot their enmity just by obliterating their totems.

      If they’d fight between gods and about which version of the same god is best the game of “my god has a bigger dick than your god” wouldn’t stop for lack of an invisible friend. For all I know it’d be Trekkies and Star Wars nuts at dawn with Bat’leths and Light Sabres….But it’d be something along similarly tribal and cultural lines.

      Nice alliteration in abhorrent aberrant Abbrorter, BTW

      Like

      • russell December 1, 2015 at 12:45 pm #

        Thanks hg, yep I mark no religion on the census papers.

        And agreed the term ‘christian’ is so generic as is ‘muslim’ in some contexts so as to render the term meaningless. I am neither pro or agin or even fervently atheist. Mostly it is not an issue for me except when purveyors of governance use religious piety as a part basis for inflicting demonstrable community harm by law. I guess it is no different than ‘broken promises’ which now seems the accepted standard from which to assess political commitment. After the fact.

        Apart for witnessing to the carnage i have no interest in man made wars in Ireland or middle east apart from noting the at least christian instruction ‘thou shalt not kill’. How religious men interpret that and still go to war is for them to answer. Noting always that apart from ‘truth’ women are always amongst the first casualties of war. It has ever been thus. ‘God’ does not instruct for war, only mere mortal males do that. War is not a god thing it is a man thing. God is not offended, the male ego is. God is used as an excuse. Not that I ‘know’ these things to be ‘truth’ hg but to surmise.

        Yes the way ‘christian’ is interpreted and practiced in the US I find scary. Some seem to interpret it as a licence to kill. Weird. Again women and reproductive ‘rights’ are amongst the first issues to be attacked by ‘born again evangelists’, aka christians. Not satisfied to live their own ‘piety’ they must inflict their values on us all.

        Yes the male ego and power tripping causes mayhem all over.

        ‘Put your money where your oath is’ Mr Baird

        Liked by 1 person

    • doug quixote December 1, 2015 at 12:37 am #

      From the heart is always the best, Russell.

      The monotheistic religions are death cults. They await and expect the end of days when the true believers will all be rewarded, and devil take the rest – literally.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jennifer Wilson December 1, 2015 at 8:18 am #

        They also have the most primitively disgusting attitudes to women and sexuality.

        Liked by 1 person

        • hudsongodfrey December 1, 2015 at 8:35 pm #

          I think we’ve all long been in agreement that religion is both sexually repressive and ant-feminist, but what about taking it further.

          Somebody please riddle me whether the most theocratic countries become the most patriarchal because of religion itself or because men seeing religion as indivisible from politics intuitively pursue personal control in the way they know works best.

          I presume none of us is going to say god is responsible for patriarchy, seeing that at best she’s the non-interventionist kind and for all other intents and supernatural purposes non-existent. So I can but suppose it was men who interpreted the great unknown in their own image and made it ever so slightly self serving.

          One may come back around at the question via the reverse route saying religion informs patriarchy, and in some cases you’d be right, but since I doubt anyone’s going to explain religion without human beings or patriarchy with out self-interested male ones an absence of religion might only be a partial answer. The most successful secular societies have either made strides towards feminist goals or reasserted the patriarchal agenda via other mechanisms.

          I suspect in fact that the basic impetus for patriarchy ties in with domestic violence at the point where anyone is prepared to believe force is the best way to assert yourself. If only we could loose hold of that little gem of human nature we’d quite probably be so much better off that we wouldn’t need an invisible friend much less a reason to deride the superstitious for inventing her.

          Like

          • doug quixote December 2, 2015 at 9:07 am #

            Man created God in his own image.

            The ancients had many gods, even female ones, unsurprisingly mirroring their own societies.

            But then along came the “There is only one God and I am his Prophet!” monotheists with the promise of eternal life for the true believers. You didn’t have to be a Hero (Nordic) or even be born to the right parents; just truly believe and do what you are told by the Leaders/Bishops/Rabbis/Imams.

            I’d like to see an end to all religion, but even Don Quixote had his rational moments. The promise is irresistible.

            (DQ sighs)

            Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson December 1, 2015 at 8:17 am #

      Russell, I think one of the insurmountable obstacles in all this is the debt owed by many politicians to their particular religious organisation, or to the factions in their parties who adhere to religious principles and bye whose grace they stay in powerful positions.
      And while we ostensibly have a secular state, in practice political attitudes to women and marriage are overwhelmingly religious and conservative: they are reluctant to implement anything that really helps a woman leave a partner, no matter how violent he is.
      Whitlam (I think it was him) was a shining exception when his government introduced no fault divorce & single parent’s financial support, enabling women to leave bad situations.

      Liked by 1 person

      • russell December 1, 2015 at 1:41 pm #

        Well the PM assures there are no factions in the Liberal family.
        And I assume because of that, he would have us believe, no beholding to anyone or thing. He mostly kept a straight face!

        Having worked some 15 years in trade unions I do see the truth of what you say more so from a Labor perspective.
        (disclaimer; I have never been a member of any political party)

        Even after all that time i remained astonished for example that a union like the shoppies (sdaea) with a majority of female members can run the line of anti abortion catholic rhetoric.

        As though all the members have been consulted and agreed this to be union policy? It is grossly dishonest. And dismays many.

        The officials seem to me to be running the (male) church line as further interpreted by men to corral and purportedly represent the vast aspiration of their women membership. That union is not alone.

        You are correct, structurally it appears intractable and insurmountable. It tears labor apart and provides for the divisive status quo to prevail.

        How is a personal or private understanding or debt to a church hierarchy more powerful than a responsive auspice required to be provided for the current needs of members?

        And that debt is used for the numbers to influence policy formulation and eventual law. I don’t know what they think may fit into the pockets of their funeral shrouds for the ever after. What rot.
        I don’t reckon it is anything to do with riches hereafter but more to do with the greasing of palms in the present context of here and now.

        The lip service to a secular state becomes null and void every time they start proceedings with a morning (christian) prayer. Hypocrisy has been with us for so long so close to our noses we don’t even notice the smell of it anymore.

        Yes Whitlam did heaps for community equality.

        Like

        • zerograv1 December 31, 2015 at 2:24 am #

          You make the incorrect assumption that all women are pro-abortion, for many its not an option and its got nothing to do with political lines but simply whether or not they want kids, Abortion is a choice not easily made and often agonising for a woman to make if she doesnt think her partnership or she alone can fairly provide the child with what it needs ….true some women arent into having kids and being mothers, some later regret the decision, but some just werent cut out for motherhood, just like some men arent cut out to be dads ….but even that doesnt automatically mean abortion is the only alterntive, its a lot less black and white than that… some decide they have what it takes even without support around them and go ahead and give birth…..its a little alarming that so many forget that feminism advocates for choice but so many interpret that to mean oh yeah pro abortion….its an option not an automatic thing

          Liked by 1 person

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