While proud of my country for so many achievements over the decades and centuries, there are a number of dark stains on our consciences.
One of these is violence against women.
In an age when women have been into space, are in Parliament and sometimes even in Cabinet, when women CEOs start to become a decent percentage (albeit at still perversely low levels, but better than at any time before) of overall senior corporate positions, there are a very large number of men out there who think violence against women can be justified.
Recent survey work done by VicHealth, found, for instance, that 1 in 5 Australian men think if a woman is raped while intoxicated, it is not entirely the fault of the rapist.
Almost the same number of men – and you’ll need to sit down for this – think that their own drinking or drug-taking can excuse their raping a woman.
And, in one of the saddest results, more women than men now think that a woman who is drunk and raped is somehow more deserving of her rape.
It’s an overall astounding set of results that speaks to why Australia is one of the few developed countries not going anywhere fast on gender equality.
Excuses for violence against women continue to disregard the rights of the victim in favour of an inappropriate claim to possession or access to women by men,
It’s got to stop.
And that starts with men speaking up against perpetrators. If 4 in 5 men are right-thinkling on this, then those 4 need to speak up, speak out, and help stop the problem.
And the all-important role to be played by women must surely be to make sure that as far as possible, women do not fall into the trap of minimising and excusing bad behaviour by men.
Let’s get the word out to the neanderthals in our societies that:
- There is NO excuse for rape.
- There is NO excuse for domestic violence.
- There is NO excuse for violence against women.
For more, I commend this Guardian Australia article by Melissa Davey: http://gu.com/p/4xjen