Monday, 6 July 2015

Domestic Violence and Terrorism

This Article from The Guardian has the catchy tag-line "Poll reveals 76% think family violence is as big or bigger threat than terrorism and advocates call for it to be funded in proportion to the scale of the problem."

Frankly, I think this is a win for the Abbott government! If 24% of people responding to this poll think that terrorism is a bigger threat than domestic violence, then their nationalist campaigns must be surprisingly effective!

A closer reading shows that number is actually 18%, as 8% said they 'didn't know' whether Family Violence was more of a threat than terrorism to Australians. It also shows that The Guardian can't add up.

So 18% of people think that terrorism is more of a threat to Australians than Family Violence.

White Ribbon, an organisation supporting men to stand up to domestic violence, lists the following worrisome statistics on their website:

  • Over 12 months, on average, one woman is killed every week as a result of intimate partner violence. 
  • A woman is most likely to be killed by her male partner in her home. 
  • Domestic and family violence is the principle cause of homelessness for women and their children.
  • Intimate partner violence is the leading contributor to death, disability and ill-health in Australian women aged 15-44. 
  • One in three women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence perpetrated by someone known to them. 
  • One in four children are exposed to domestic violence, which is a recognised form of child abuse. 
  • The cost of violence against women to the Australian economy is estimated to rise to $15.6 billion per annum. 
  • One in five women experience harassment within the workplace. 
  • One in five women over 18 has been stalked during her lifetime. 
These statistics are terrifying, particularly the fact that intimate partner violence is the leading contributor to death, disability and ill-health for Australian women aged 15-44. 

Even more terrifying is that by 13 April 2015, there had already been 31 women killed by their partners in the 15 weeks of the year, more than double the national average. This statistic does not include children, and it does not include women who were abused, but not murdered. 

By contrast, no Australians have been killed in terrorist incidents in 2015. 

This is not to discount the risks of terrorism. The Bali bombings were a horrendous attack on Australians, and there have been other major incidents. I do not want this piece to seem like an attack on anti-terrorist organisations. 

But there needs to be a balance, and the balance is terribly skewed towards high-profile matters such as terrorism, which engender mass public responses, and away from low-profile, everyday, domestic terrorism. 

If you need help, there are resources that can. 

Never feel scared to call police, or Lifeline on 13 11 14. The SAPOL Domestic Violence Crisis Service is on 1300 782 200, or Crisis Care on 131 611. 

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