Gender bias and wasted opportunities at the 2017 National Family Violence Summit

Today was the second and final day of the National Family Violence Summit. The Summit was facilitated by the Tara Costigan Foundation and sponsored by BaptistCare. An extract from today’s program is shown below:

And no, in case you were wondering, there was no corresponding session to discuss what women could do to help reduce family violence.

How would this aspect of the program be interpreted by the average Joe or Josephine in-the-street? They would probably see it as implying that men were responsible for family violence, and that therefore it’s men’s duty to eradicate it.

This is the equivalent of having every man in Australia stand at the front of the classroom with a dunce’s hat on. Except the domestic violence lobby is not saying men are stupid, but that they are evil.

This is an affront to men everywhere, and it is difficult to imagine a situation where women are now smeared and disregarded in such a manner.

And this despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of men never commit acts of violence, and that male victims of domestic violence are rarely acknowledged.

Look, I understand that the basis for establishing the Tara Costigan Foundation was the tragic death of a young woman at the hands of a bestial man. That man is now in jail and sadly we cannot undo what happened to Tara. But the Summit is, or at least should be, about addressing domestic violence in its totality.

The ‘big picture’ of domestic violence comprises substantial numbers of abusive men and women, and of both male and female victims of that abuse.  There is also a considerable (yet rarely acknowledged) element of bi-directional violence, where both partners perpetuate abuse.

And what of women’s role in addressing domestic violence, not only as empowered and autonomous individuals, but also in recognition of the fact that many women are also abusive. Not only is there a long-running problem with child abuse by women, but there is also a growing problem with female violence generally. These issues are alternately either excused away (“women are only ever violent in self-defence“), minimised or ignored altogether.

The agencies that deal with domestic violence are heavily imbued with feminist doctrine. They continue to falsely portray domestic violence as heterosexual male on female violence, despite this constituting just one slice of the pizza (albeit probably the largest one). Feminist agencies address domestic violence in the context of a theoretical approach known as the Duluth Model. The validity of the Duluth Model is hotly debated, and its success is questionable.

There have been so many talk-fests and inquiries in relation to domestic violence. Almost without exception their value has been severely compromised by a failure to open the floor to all ideas, especially those contrary to feminist dogma. That appears to have also been the case with the Summit, given that none of the speakers represented a men’s rights group, a father’s group, or an advocacy group for male victims of domestic violence such as One-in-Three.

Why is this allowed to continue particularly considering the amount of public funds being expended, and the miserable progress being made?

The situation in the U.K is similar to Australia in this regard, but some progress is being made via vigorous lobbying by groups and individuals such as GenderFreeDV and Philip Davies MP.

Here is Australia we have balanced views on DV being expressed by a small but dedicated number of journalists such as Bettina Arndt, Miranda Devine, and Corrine Barraclough. As far as sitting politicians go however, there is little cause for optimism just at the moment. One outcome of this situation is that there is almost no funding provided at all for male victims of domestic violence – or indeed for addressing men’s/boys issues generally.

Please can someone finally take some real leadership on this issue?

I did not attend the Summit and await the report that is to be prepared for submission to the government. I will re-visit this post at that time and make any necessary adjustments. In the interim I stand ready to be corrected by an organiser or an attendee if what I have stated is in error. Should such a person wish to detail their experience at this event please submit a comment below.

Here are some links to related news coverage:

Rosie Batty joins 7.30 to discuss the summit on family violence (28 February 2017)

Former army chief David Morrison calls for national day for domestic violence victims (28 February 2017)

The good thing to come out of horror of Tara Costigan’s murder (1 March 2017)

 

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