The inquiry that I am introducing in this post follows hard on the heels of another federal Senate inquiry into domestic violence. My submission to that earlier inquiry can be accessed in this blog post. There have also been several recent inquiries conducted by state governments.
The current federal inquiry is known as the Inquiry into Domestic Violence and Gender Inequality. It is being considered by a Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Public Administration known as the ‘References Committee’, the membership of which is listed here.
The proposed terms of reference of the inquiry are to examine:
Domestic violence and gender inequality, with particular reference to:
- The role of gender inequality in all spheres of life in contributing to the prevalence of domestic violence;
- The role of gender stereotypes in contributing to cultural conditions which support domestic violence, including, but not limited to, messages conveyed to children and young people in:
- the marketing of toys and other products,
- education, and
- The role of government initiatives at every level in addressing the underlying causes of domestic violence, including the commitments under, or related to, the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children; and
- Any other related matters.
As can be seen, these terms of reference were tailored for a feminist audience, and perfectly embrace the feminist narrative on DV. That is, in summary, that DV = men beating on women because patriarchy.
In fact each of these earlier inquiries demonstrated a pronounced pro-feminist bias, and this has greatly curtailed the breadth of issues and potential solutions discussed. Thus whilst some useful ideas were generated, these all fell well within the comfortable confines of what feminists consider to be appropriate policy responses.
As can be seen from its title, this inquiry hones in on one particular issue in the domestic violence debate that is absolutely central to the feminist perspective. The theoretical cornerstone of this is the ‘Duluth Model’ discussed in this email exchange, this academic paper, and in various other posts in my blog.
It is my belief, and one which is shared by many others, that applying this position to most (let alone all) incidents of DV is simply wrong. Focussing on gender inequality is diverting the domestic violence debate around 180 degrees in the wrong direction.
Thus all things considered, this inquiry will likely be an utter waste of time and money. So why then bother preparing a submission?
My answer? If people who hold alternative views don’t continue to publicly reject the feminist narrative, then the only voices on the public record will be those of the feminist fright-bats that populate organisations such as these. Not on my watch.
Not if we want effective solutions addressing the whole problem, rather than just more of the same costly inequitable and divisive policy failures.
The closing date for public submissions was 31 March 2016. The reporting date was nominated as being 24 August 2016, but don’t hold your breath for the last federal inquiry ran about a year overtime.
Here is a link to the submission prepared by the ‘One in Three’ organisation