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My friend LISA

Who truly gives a bugger about how women who do not attract national attention are treated?

Sure, we have academic female feminists who sprout erudite thoughts on how things could improve. Believe me, there is nothing wrong with their thoughts. Their thoughts are good. Thoughts and wonderful peer-reviewed papers are all well and good. Abusive men don’t read them.

Supportive men, and there are many, say all the right things. But when the DV shit hits the fan … whoops … where are the men when you really need them?

My friend Lisa needed those feminists and those supportive men. To say the least, both cohorts were totally thin on the ground when she was abused and discarded and raped and abused.

Lisa is a wonderful woman who has had to live a life blighted by the stroke she experienced in her mid thirties. Since then she has been used and abused by her partners and her tenants. She has had her arm broken. She has had her face punched and mutilated. She has been raped and physically traumatised. She appealed to the police. Her appeals fell on deaf ears.

The ongoing treatment of women in Australia is appalling. The treatment of my friend has been appalling. OK … I am a tall 70-ish streak of an old man … but no matter what … I will support my friend Lisa.

My question to you is this … whether you be male or female … are you prepared to dive into the hard shit and be supportive of your female friend? Are you prepared to put your own physical safety on the line to protect your friend … I have done so and sometimes I had to close my eyes and hope for the best. I hope your answer is yes. Your stance may be the beginning of real change.

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  1. Keitha Granville

    until DV is rebranded as common assault, grievous bodily harm, attempted murder, it will be ever thus.

    Every time, the first slap, the first insult, the first time – report, tell everyone.
    Teach our children. Teach them to tell.

  2. Josephus

    Did you tell her to take the man or men to court? What happened if so?

  3. Anne Byam

    Yes, Keith – there are answers.

    And I agree with Keitha Granville … to the extent that he has provided very good answers.

    Re-branding ( and making into law ) domestic violence to something far more grave in courts, than anything that approaches it at this time.

    The act of violence towards anyone, is indeed ‘grave’ – and must be dealt with very severely.

    I sincerely hope your friend Lisa has found some peace and comfort after the unutterable traumas she has been through, and that she is receiving help to that end.

  4. Terence Mills

    Frequently these assaults are not reported to the police because of the possible consequences by way of violent reprisals . In the same way it is simplistic to say that the victim should just leave.

    Even so, we do have a justice system and any assault be it in a domestic context or otherwise must be reported to the police.

    Sorry, there are no simple remedies.

  5. GL

    Sadly the following adage still remains unpleasantly true: “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

  6. leefe


    Frequently they are not reported because too many women know that too many police officers are just not interested or, worse, will actively side with the abusers.

    There has to be systemic change, from the top down, in all our institutions.

  7. New England Cocky

    @ Keitha Granville: Until the local constabulary are instructed to take DV seriously, get off their fattening backsides and leave their lattes in the warm confines of the station, there will be domestic violence deaths. But the judiciary are equally inept and uncaring, allowing offenders to roam the streets without effective limits; DVO have proven to be ineffective on too many occasions and accountability appears negligible.

    I cannot endorse the street scene from The Godfather where a remedy for DV is meted out as a private action. However, compared to the present continuing failing of the existing judicial system, it would be easy to support such moves.

  8. Cris

    Violence as a ‘solution’ is endemic. The slap by actor Will Smith at the Oscars was a prime example of a frustrated male’s loss of control, an emotional physical outburst meant to silence, in this case, the smart mouth of another male. The outburst at the Oscars had the same underlying volcanic driver as the more common DV male on female thuggery – a lack of self-control combined with a twisted sense of justice. The way Smith swaggered off stage after the assault was a giveaway. The fact that it took the Awards almost a week to sanction Smith’s cowardly assault says much.

    The problem of ‘violence as solution’ is endemic, and while almost everyone wants a more peaceful environment where gratuitous or apparently random violence are non-existent, it is easy to see our complicit hypocrisy at every turn. Sports based violence is celebrated (listen to a match description), much of the junk that comes out of Hollywood and is violence-based (eg revenge is the gold standard for justice – ask Smith how that is working out for him), and the media rarely misses a chance to promote violence as solution – Falklands, Iraq, Syria, Ukraine. While man on woman assaults are one of the most cowardly forms of violence, they are part of wider problem. The solution will take a whole of society approach – actions follow words, words follow thoughts, thoughts follow programming. Dysfunction programming of an individual is the root of the problem. Start there.

  9. Kaye Lee

    I agree we must start with the societal causes. Making punishment worse is more a reaction than an answer.

    No matter what someone does wrong, no matter how angry or frustrated or aggrieved someone might feel, taking that first step to react with physical violence will never help a situation.

    But we have a very long way to go to fix that, as Cris described so well (^^^), so we must also provide better protection.

    Vulnerable people need advocates. They need support to navigate the help available. We need more emergency housing.

    Our police should have more training with specialists in family violence response.

    Our schools must foster respectful relationships.

    Our public figures must act as role models.

    All idealistic words that do nothing to help Lisa……

    I note St John’s College at Sydney Uni just unveiled a portrait of former resident Tony Abbott.


  10. Michael Taylor

    Lisa is at least blessed to have you as a friend, Keith. Knowing you as I do, she’d be hard-pressed to find a better one.

  11. wam

    historically men were allowed a little violence to get conjugals. Today you can hardly miss the tv/film violence. If frustrated, smash something or someone? Check out road rage, cage fighting, the reports of the ‘nice man’ whose wife and children have been murdered. Or the religions whose god forgives or even reward murderers. In that context what’s a backhander to a woman? The police cultures is likely to search for an excuse to justify a smack. When I rang the question was ‘is she Aboriginal’? It is hard to address the culture ‘problem’ but AVOs could help if they are given a status treated seriously?
    love it kaye the picture is awful and he is clutching his rosary beads.

  12. Albos Elbow

    The budget commits no new funding towards addressing the national emergency that is domestic and family violence in Australia, also disproportionately affecting women.

    This omission is significant, and will set Australia back in its efforts to better respond to and prevent all forms of family and domestic violence.The failure to devote national funding to women’s and children’s safety is particularly alarming in the context of COVID-19. The pandemic has given new prominence to the social and economic impacts of family violence. The heightened risk of family violence for women and children across Australia have been well-documented, as have the additional barriers to seeking help.

    The annual cost of violence against women and their children in Australia is estimated at $26 billion (at a minimum). Victims and survivors bear more than half of this cost.

    In 2015-16, it was approximated that 10% ($2.1 billion) of the estimated costs of family violence to the Australian economy are attributable to a loss in productivity, and another 20% ($4.4 billion) to long-term financial insecurity or hardship of victim-survivors.

    The financial impact of violence against women and their children during COVID-19 is not accounted for in the budget. We know that the financial and social costs have risen exponentially – and that is a cost that women bear.

    This is another example in a budget that fails women and children, and signals that securing their safety from family violence is not a government priority.

    Family violence affects one in six Australian women and children; its impacts and effects are intensified for First Nations women, women with disability, and those from refugee and migrant backgrounds by existing barriers to accessing support.

    The omission of all of these areas from budget cannot continue to go unacknowledged.

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