TOKENISM: Australian Opposition Leader Bill Shorten (right) and then Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull arrive at a White Ribbon Day Parliamentary Breakfast at Parliament House in Canberra last year. There will be white ribbons all over politicians this week but to what avail?
TOKENISM: Australian Opposition Leader Bill Shorten (right) and then Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull arrive at a White Ribbon Day Parliamentary Breakfast at Parliament House in Canberra last year. There will be white ribbons all over politicians this week but to what avail? LUKAS COCH

Ignoring our dead women walking


IT'S White Ribbon Day in Australia this Friday which seems farcical after the slaughterfest of women that went down last month. We're now up to counting 62 dead females courtesy of male violence so far this year.

So how many ribbons is it going to take to stop this gender-specific bludgeoning? One, five, 20,000. It's not like male violence against women is a new concept. It's been happening forever but we claim to be a more civilised society now.

Unfortunately it's still a patriarchal society. Meaning men ultimately remain in charge, and despite some advances in equality, the world continues to operate under the premise of them staying there.

So why wouldn't John think he can belt Jan? She provoked him by saying no to sex or burning his dinner and he's in charge because society says so to blockheads like that.

There's a lot of expectation on men to be top dog and chief controller, and occasionally they have to offload that pressure on the recipient of this largesse. Whether it's through a clean punch to the nose, imprisonment through financial constraints, or just calling them 'useless' several times a day.

Anyhow whatever the home story is, domestic violence is in maximum overdrive since the #metoo movement started to publicly highlight male atrocities and insidious behaviour towards women and because some of them don't like that, it makes them even angrier (catch 22 anyone?).

This is why some women don't like it either. Because it upsets 'her man' and she knows what that means. Or it's because they love men and any woman who calls them out on the epidemic level of violent, sexist or dismissive behaviour this country exudes - is obviously a man-hater.

So shut-up loudmouth feminists you're just causing more problems for everyone.

But back to those lovely little white ribbons.

It's original intention of representing men surrendering, seems to be lost.

The AIDS campaign had Red Ribbon Day but that epidemic is under control compared to domestic violence in this country. Red is a colour much more apt for a cause that has women being brutally murdered by their partners at its core. Somehow pure, virginal white just doesn't cut it in the midst of the bloody frontline we are being confronted by now.

So what next after you pin that ribbon on this week?

Maybe spare a thought for Rosie Batty who got run of of town by the purveyors of patriarchy for getting somewhere in highlighting the epidemic of DV in this country.

Then perhaps think about the tone of the conversation currently doing the rounds here.

You know the one that sees the Prime Minister reducing a high profile female back to her famous swimwear role despite the conversation bearing no resemblance to that, while highlighting how many of his mates would like to help her out in the most loaded, locker-room kind of way. Snigger snigger, onya ScoMo, leader of the blokiest country on earth.

While this message means women can either take it or leave it, when it comes to terrorists our PM doesn't mince his words when it comes to violence. He wants an extensive watch list on terrorists but unfortunately this list doesn't include John the wife-beater from up the road. It's only for extremists who hurt or kill innocent people on the street rather than the family home (I'm sure there's a crossover in some cases but the government is only interested in one of those).

In fact he was so concerned he called upon Islamic leaders to take responsibility for the violence being dished out by a few in their community in an attempt to address this abhorrent behaviour. Too bad he can't apply that same approach to men when it comes to ending their violence against women. I guess it's a lot harder when the terrorists in question look a lot like you.

The problem with these messages is that it sets the tone in this country, much like the lauded trickle-down effect, this attitude is passed down to the people. We're too busy reminding women that they are foremost vacuous, sexual objects whenever the opportunity arises or blaming Muslims and refugees for providing the fear factor in this country. We don't have time to deal with garden variety abusive men. You know the 'good bloke' that occasionally slips up because he's having a bad day.

Instead, because of the lack of leadership in this, we are having to tackle it from a grassroots level. Literally from the ground up, female victim by bloody female victim, a moment of outrage and then it's back to the locker-room jokes and feminist-hating. Women are being left to sort it out and call it out, over and over again.

It's the equivalent of asking the families of extremist attack victims to take responsibility for stopping them. It would never happen, but women virtually have to do this everyday, to find their own solutions about male violence and the spectrum of vile and belittling behaviour levelled at them daily. There are no prime-time conversations about this epidemic or the entrenched bro-code here that enables this shitty behaviour and ongoing bloodshed. Don't hold your breath waiting for a Royal Commission into Domestic Violence in this country.

It's 62 women so far this year, and going on previous trends, there will be more to come before Christmas, a particularly volatile time according to the bean counters of violence.

So by all means join in the 'slacktivism' this Friday, buy a white ribbon, maybe spare a passing thought for the women and girls in your life and pat yourself on the back for not being one of those guys, but don't for a minute kid yourself that by resuming normal position the next day everything's going to be all right.

Hard conversations followed by spectacular change in attitudes is what's required. Rather than ribbons it's white flags men should be sporting.

Admit what is happening in front of your eyes instead of cherry-picking the brand of violence that easiest to digest or sell. Gutlessness doesn't come close to describing what's going on here. But to what level? We'll just have to wait and see on November 23.


1. NSW Domestic Violence Line: 1800 656 463

2. 1800RESPECT national hotline: 1800 656 463


1. DVConnect Womensline: 1800 811 811

2. DVConnect Mensline: 1800 600 636

3. 1800RESPECT national hotline: 1800 656 463

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