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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?

Image from heraldsun.com.au

Image from heraldsun.com.au

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