Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Is that what you REALLY meant?

There is a news report online (VicHealth report reveals Australians turning blind eye to rape and violence against women) that makes the claim that "A disturbing number of Australians are prepared to justify the actions of rapists and domestic violence perpetrators and shift the blame on to the victims."

Curiously, the article offers up some interesting statistics about attitudes to rape and domestic violence without offering a link to the report, although it offers "SOURCE: 2013 National Community Attitudes Towards Violence Against Women Survey" as a citation.

Apart from the inherent bias in the assumption that domestic violence is always against women, I was drawn to the following statement attributed to Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Ken Lay,

“Let me put this simply — there is no circumstance where violence against women is understandable or acceptable.”

I am appalled. The Commissioner is obviously making the right political noises - he got to be Police Commissioner after all - but is he really saying that he cannot imagine a scenario where violence against a woman is appropriate? Is he really saying that he could not understand - not condone, just understand - that someone could be so hurt by a woman, physically or emotionally, that violence might be seen as their only option?

I have been married to the same woman for 25 years. In that time I have seen friends' marriages break up, and I have seen both men and women struggling with the viciousness that is often associated with separation and divorce. In some of those circumstances I would have understood if violence had resulted. Hell, in a couple of cases, I expected it, and would have called it justified.

I cite that only to say, as Ned Kelly did - "Such is life.

This is the normal stuff of living and breathing, of striving to make sense of the universe, and to carve out a place for yourself, and your family. Imagination isn't required so much as observation. Look around you, and you'll see men and women doing wonderful things, and other men and women behaving badly.

To say that there is no circumstance where violence against a woman is justified (to paraphrase) is absurd.

 - Imagine being the teenager on the train who is assaulted by a woman because he looked at her
 - Imagine being the young husband facing a spurious molestation allegation from his estranged wife
 - Imagine being an elderly couple watching TV when a gang of young women invade your home

To have a POLICE COMMISSIONER say it is worse. This is supposedly a man who has a better appreciation of the underbelly of society than most, purely by the matter of his job. He says that he can't imagine a circumstance where violence against women is justified, but I bet he doesn't say that about men.

The only consolation is that this isn't a reasoned statement; it's a politically correct pronouncement intended to be nothing more than public opinion theatre.

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