Violence Against Women, Australia Says Sometimes!

I’ve always had a slight problem with the “Violence Against Women, Australia Says No” for the obvious reason that it seems to imply that violence against men is just fine. Shouldn’t the message be that using violence to solve one’s problems is just wrong full stop? By just making it violence against women, there’s some echo of “you should never hit a woman” because it’s ungentlemanly.

But I understand that the campaigne was targetting a particular aspect of violence, and that it was trying to influence community attitudes so that, when a man uses violence against a woman, there is no justification. Arguing that she somehow “deserved it” is no defence.

So I guess it does concern me when I read comments like this about the recent incident in Victoria where a fifteen year old girl was body slammed into the concrete by ticket inspectors:

“I cant see anything wrong?
he was doing his job, tell you kids to pay and then ride the train, simple.

Thanks”

Or

“I say, GOOD ON YOU PSO’s, show these little spoilt brats that spitting and carrying on like 2 year olds will not be tolerated, I’m sick of this nanny state carrying on about absolute rubbish…the girls were being totally disrespectful and deserved every thing they got. If it was in the USA they would’ve been tasered as well…Good job PSO, good to see youre doing your job and teaching these brain dead youth a thing or 2.”

And

“If it was me being spat in the face that female cheat would have lost her face trust me.”    Ken

It was her fault apparently according to many. She was “asking for it” and she deserved what she got.

Well, I suppose that we have to qualify “Violence against Women, Australia says No (apart form when they are being arrested)”, but there’s two points I’d like to make.

The first is that I find it hard to work out exactly what’s happening from the footage. Was the fare evader walking through the gate when grabbed by a person unknown to her? If that was the case, why was it necessary to grab her rather than simply ask her to stop? Or they had previously been trying to fine her and she’d walked off. Whatever, the details of the actual incident, the body slam seems to me an excessive use of force. Imagine, for example, if this occured at a school and this was a group of teachers body slamming a student for trying to leave without a pass – would people still be saying that she deserved what she got?

But it’s the comments that concern me just as much, which can be found on 3AW’s site. Yeah, yeah, freedom of speech and all that! However, I can’t see how we can run campaign’s trying to discourage violence against women and allow such pathetic comments as “she would have lost her face trust me”.

Surely, allowing these comments to stand condones them. Or is violence against women another one of these awareness campaigns where governments can say look at what we’re doing, and the media can applaud them. Then we all go back to everyday life where none of it’s real and what matters is whether or not the person was “justified”.

Violence against women, Australia says no. Unless it’s her fault. Then, it’s ok. Although doesn’t the person committing the violent act always that the victim deserves it?

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14 replies

  1. I don’t think there’s a gender issue here. The issue is these officials have been given far too much power and their over-the-top actions are being sanctioned by authorities.

    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/melbourne-tram-inspectors-caught-restraining-fare-evader/story-fni0fit3-1226754450363

  2. As for the ratbag bogan’s commenting, well, there’s a certain type of person that gets some vicarious pleasure from seeing officials assault people. Such people have an innate violent streak but are usually too cowardly to enact it themselves, which is probably just as well. The problem is that they will condone gratuitous violence from those in power. It’s the same mentality that experiences power vicariously via rhetorical thugs like Jones, Hadley et al.

  3. <

    Those "Comments" are by the same people who voted "Slick" Abbott in.

    Fortunately they are a minority and it is only a minority of votes that got "Slick' Abbott in.

  4. For those who said well done, that’ll teach ‘em!, I’m just wondering exactly what lesson they think the girl learned. To hate police and security guards? To use violence when confronted? To react with anger?

    Teenagers are sometimes angry and confused young people. They sometimes make poor choices. They struggle to show how independent they are before they have the skills to understand the responsibilities of independence. I thought we were supposed to teach them the right way to cope a situation rather than reacting with anger and violence.

    One of the greatest skills a person can have is the ability to diffuse a situation, to minimise conflict, to be able to continue to behave reasonably and treat people with respect even when provoked.

  5. Thanks for your thoughtful article, Ross.

    I don’t see how anyone male, female or calathumpian deserves to be body slammed for alleged fare evasion.

    Would this inspector have body slammed someone their own size – doubt it.

    As a victim of abuse when married I have very sensitive feelings (and rightly so) on the topic of domestic violence.

    We need to look at why some people (male and female) are violent. More men are harmed by violence than women (outside the home) and the majority of the perpetrators are male. While violence is not solely a problem of gender, fact is more males use violence, therefore, we need to look at the reasons why.

    Women tend to more often use psychological methods of bullying – which can be just as soul-destroying, I often wonder if women had the same physiology as men whether they would be just as violent – I suspect they would. However, that is not the case with humans, generally men are more physically powerful and we still have a society which applaud male physical prowess via sport and by our preference towards more male leaders across the spectrum of business, government and socially. Hence, some men believe they have a righteous position in dishing out punishment – as evidenced by such as the 3AW listeners quoted by Ross.

    Daring to complain about male violence is not male bashing – we do need to discuss this issue for the sake of everyone.

    Not even men maintain their strength when they reach old age – they too may be victimised by the self-entitled bullies which the Zeitgeist appears to promote.

  6. Ugh, those comments! People can be such hateful pricks – taser them!!! And these people vote…

  7. The assault of this girl is one among many. It is not a gender issue; but of that fine Aussie tradition of licensed thuggery. It is to where the bullies of the playground graduate Violent psychopaths gravitate to organisations within which they are almost totally immune from accountability..It’s a matey culture; with a pride in cruelty and practical fascism. I know from insider experience of one such organisation.
    They would assault boys, girls, men and women, pensioners. They assault anyone they can. I know because I have investigated such cases; and worked for accountable process.
    Just imagine what happens away from any video.
    It is indeed strange to be dealing with elected members of Parliament who want to know nothing about battery of their constituents, and will make any excuse for these brutal and gutless individuals. .

    Do not give them anything remotely like an excuse; and always travel with a witness.

    You have chosen the wrong example – although the video of these heroes is definitely repugnant Australia at large, and not unassociated with the bashing of women by men they know.

  8. Reblogged this on wiseexpressions and commented:
    I SUPPORT THIS PROJECT BUT IT IS NOT JUST VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN IT IS VIOLENCE AGAINST ANYONE. Violence is endemic in our society in passive and active ways and it is very important that we present a new narrative to children and adults alike .

  9. I hope there will be one day a campaign throughout the country to teach people to be kinder, tolerant and respectfull. The aggressive and intolerant manner of so many is the worst part about Australia. It just needs a bit of education in that area.

  10. I was interested in reading this article to see what new or other way could we as a society approach violence (against women). For some reason I could not get past this phrase;
    ” By just making it violence against women, there’s some echo of “you should never hit a woman” because it’s ungentlemanly.”

    (I will not watch the video because something I see cannot be unseen. The word descriptions are bad enough.)

    So when I read that sentence it kept blinding me to the rest of the article.

    What is wrong with ‘just making it violence against women’? For women are most likely to die, be mauled, be hospitalised, be psychologically affected, be scarred by violence. If we make it anti ‘violence against women’ then we can address all violence against people.

    What is wrong with ‘you should never hit a woman because it is ungentlemanly’?
    Is it because there are no gentlemen left? Or we don’t aspire our young boys to grow up to be ‘gentlemen’?

    Believe me, when you meet a gentleman you really know it. It is so so very rare that when you are standing in front of one it is like seeing a sunset, or a new born baby, or a depiction of the universe. It is stunning, moving, life affirming and reassuring.

    I am glad I married a gentleman. At least I know what one looks like and behaves like. Not like the commentators on that incident, nor the male who perpetrated the ‘slam’, nor the men in the ranks of our Government at present.

  11. I don’t care if the victim was male or female. I don’t care whether she was old or young. I don’t care if she was dodging her fare or carrying on like a spoilt brat. You DO NOT use violence. Ever.

    I don’t think this is a gender issue, it’s a respect for all people issue.

  12. This is Australia – not taliban land.

  13. Only a low underdeveloped lowlife with sociological disorder would strike or intimidate a woman,and if one does it in front of children I see it as gross child abuse at the same time.I can see no reason to ever justify
    this behaviour and thank goodness time has changed so no woman need to put up with this shit.

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