Nice to know there are plenty of people who have not been hoodwinked by the biased campaign presenting women as the only victims of domestic violence. Since my recent article, Silent Victims, was published in the Weekend Australian I have been flooded with emails from people who know this is far from the truth. I have heard from many men and women who grew up in homes with violent mothers and many males who suffered appalling physical and emotional abuse from their partners.
The lack of resources for male victims is just extraordinary. I was particularly struck by news that $100,000 was awarded to support pets of female victims in Victoria but not a cent for men suffering abuse.
It’s heartening to hear from so many people who are keen to help in some way to try to change the debate around this issue in Australia. I have an idea which might get this moving and hope you might find time in the next few days to get involved. Timing is crucial!
Every year I grind my teeth on White Ribbon Day listening to listening to their spokespeople misrepresent this issue, fudging the statistics and totally denying any responsibility for women in family violence. Next week across the country many hundreds of people are running White Ribbon events, over 500 people are now Ambassadors, pushing the party line. See this White Ribbon link
Many of the sportsmen and other eminent people who are involved in this are well-meaning, assuming they are simply helping our society overcome a critical social problem. It is very likely they have never been presented with the facts included in my article, the 40 years of research showing most family violence involves both men and women and mothers are the major abusers of children.
I feel we need to respectfully approach these people and inform them that we are not denying the importance of the work they are doing in addressing the issue of violent men but unfortunately they are also being drawn into a divisive campaign which distorts the truth about family violence and denies many victims the chance to be heard and supported.
So for anyone who would like to turn this issue around, I suggest you urgently investigate the White Ribbon events in your local area, find out who are the local ambassadors and contact them, presenting the true facts in a calm, polite way. If you need help in putting together emails to send them, send a blank email to firstname.lastname@example.org and you will automatically receive in response another email containing information you can use in your letters.
We should also send emails to members of the White Ribbon Board. Many of these are respected members of the business community who will have no desire to be caught up in ideological campaigns. They may not be aware that the organization is now attracting such critical examination.
The media will also be giving White Ribbon representatives a huge run next week so be alert to when these interviews are playing and participate where possible in talk-backs, or write comments following online articles. Use social media to draw attention to wrong statistics and other misrepresentations. The One in Three Website has a huge data set of proper statistics you can use to correct misinformation. Contact producers of the relevant programmes and ask for more balanced reporting of the issue. Report unbalanced reporting on the ABC to their complaints department and CEO, Mark Scott.
For instance there’s Sarah Ferguson’s TV special: http://in-films.com/no-excuses-with-sarah-ferguson/. to be shown on Tuesday November 24th and Wednesday the 25th. This is clearly aimed at perpetuating the distorted debate on this issue. You can already make complaints based on the promotion for this programme.
Virginia Trioli is holding a Q&A on Wednesday November 25 following Ferguson’s show. She’s one of the worst offenders when it comes to dismissing women’s violence against men. Do try to get involved in this programme. See here for information: http://tv.press.abc.net.au/qa-hitting-home-special-episode-hosted-by-virginia-trioli#attachment37455. Perhaps you can think of questions you can put to the Q&A panel which would highlight the issues. Make them short and lively or you won’t get on. Also clever tweets would be worth trying.
It will really help if we can encourage more women to be involved in this way. It’s just a little harder for the campaigners to ignore our arguments if they come from women, particularly those with direct experience with this issue.
If you have any other ideas which can help, please post comments below.We’d like to hear about any response you get from people associated with White Ribbon. Please email Bettina if you get any interesting feedback.
The domestic violence lobby groups have got away with their distorted campaign for far too long because they have silenced their critics. I am shocked by how many people have written to me saying I was ‘brave’ or ‘courageous’ to speak out on this issue. Come on! We live in a free, democratic society and none of us should be nervous about being heard on this important issue. But nothing will change unless we all start making sure we get our message across.