My 8 year old gets it.
March 18, 2015
This morning, on my way to school with my 12 year old, I was talking to her about how frustrated I was that over the last two weeks or so, there has been constant reporting on how one man followed another man back to his place and stabbed him to death. Every night, another report about the case. I commented to my daughter that there should be more reports about the 24 women who have been murdered so far, this year (11 weeks) – two murders per week here in Australia.
As we were having dinner tonight The Project DID do a story (we both shot a look at each other), discussing that although the numbers of murders have come down in general of the years, it is a different and alarming story when looking at the increasing statistics of violence against women – with murder obviously being the worst outcome but that a very high percentage of women (87%) experience abuse at least once in their lives; whether it be verbal, physical, at home or out in the streets. The discussion also mentioned how the conversation has to be turned away from victim blaming – although nothing was said about the fact that it predominantly occurs at the hands of a male.
As a society we seem to tip-toe around that glaring fact. Why? I don’t know. Maybe it’s because the discussion generally gets sidetracked with the #NotAllMen arguments and what we should really be dissecting slips away again.
After the story wrapped up, the panelists had a discussion and one of the females said that it angers her that when she goes out into the carpark, she doesn’t feel safe. I can relate to that. Another panelist brought up victim blaming again, saying how we shouldn’t be discussing this issue with statements such as, ‘She shouldn’t have been out getting a taxi at 2am’.
At this moment, my eight year old daughter – who just caught that last sentence – said something along the lines of, ‘But she should be alright because the taxi driver is with her.’
I responded, “These sort of things can happen anywhere and by anyone. What happens if it’s the taxi driver that hurts her?”
She said, “Well then it wouldn’t matter if she got the taxi at night or in the day because that person is a bad person and would do it anyway. So people shouldn’t say that about what time it was.”
Exactly. My eight year old makes a simple deduction – bad people will do bad things regardless, so it’s not the victim’s fault. I was chuffed with her simple logic.
I started to think about what she said in terms of ‘bad people’. If, statistically, violence against women – all violence, actually – is predominantly done by men (in the United States 90% of murders are committed by males) – how are we to curb this? I’d say that making ‘jokes’ about it, is not the solution; in fact it’s incredibly damaging.
After dinner, I opened up my laptop and lo and behold, one of the most disgusting and dangerous slogans Wicked Campers have (which I thought they had removed) is still being used (Seen in Darwin on Feb 25 2015):
When violence against women is used as a joke, it only does two things:
1. Creates a sense of permission to feel that women are lesser beings to be violated and hurt – and for the wrong person (like my daughter mentioned) – enact on those sentiments;
2. It creates a sense of dread and fear for women to navigate through this world.
Question #226: Can we please acknowledge that none of this is a joke?
Simply, we are fearful. Our daughters are in danger because society keeps claiming Freedom of Speech, over their – our – safety.
Just last year, a Townsville woman (irrelevant) posed for this image that was for her step-mother’s car – again claiming it was a joke:
How is it funny to depict a woman tied up with a shovel to bury her? How can we have no compassion for the way this image may trigger women who have endured being tied up – terrorised – trapped – powerless?
I’ll leave you with a post showcasing advice for lads – that includes the following image; amongst other ‘hilarious’ sentiments towards women.
Whilst these types of expression are continually given oxygen to forge perspectives and attitudes, I’m afraid the future is looking bleak for females. One only need look at what’s happening right now – two women a week are being murdered by men.
Question #227: Can a moral line be drawn?
Or is it just business as usual?