I find it extraordinary how a few isolated cases of male violence on the streets take priority over millions of women who experience violence behind closed doors – criminal assault in the home.
The facts show that 1 in 3 women in Australia will experience physical violence in their lifetime; and the number of victims is increasing.
How is it possible that governments turn a blind eye to 1.3 million women who have been victims of sexual assault?
The new one-punch law, recently introduced in NSW has led to a hardening of court sentences. Now, an eight-year jail sentence is mandatory for assaults involving alcohol and can be extended up to a maximum of 25 years. Although this may be a way of getting these young men to modify their behaviour in public, it angers me that the 780,500 women who experienced the same thing behind closed doors are routinely ignored, no new laws in sight!
According to a report by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) the average term of imprisonment for a domestic violence offender convicted of common assault is less than 5 months. By contrast, the average term of imprisonment for a domestic violence offender convicted of recklessly causing grievous bodily harm is 12 months.
"What has been happening on Sydney's CBD streets demands strong action,” stated the former Premier of NSW Barry O’Farrell - no mention of the women losing their security, dignity, stability, homes or lives.
A study conducted by Monash University found there were 90 fatal one-punch attacks in Australia, mainly men against men, between January 2000 and December 2012; that is approximately seven each year. These numbers, although unacceptable, are minor compared to the number of female deaths from male attacks.
"Intimate partner violence is the leading cause of death, illness and disability for Australian women aged 15 to 44. It (violence) causes more illness and premature death than any other preventable cause,” said Lesley Pruitt, from the University of Melbourne.
The number of women who will experience physical violence in their lifetime in Australia doubled over the past six years; the majority, however, go unreported owing to fear of worse to come. Some believe the number of women experiencing violence is 1 in every 2 women.
More than 54,900 adult women were the victims of at least one sexual assault every year, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistic (ABS). So why haven’t we seen governments address this issue which has been endemic in our society since colonization? Why aren’t these atrocities seen on the news daily? Why is women’s suffering at the hands of men ignored?
Taking into account the immense number of reports and data available, it is reasonable to assume that governments are aware of the magnitude of the problem. Why are governments not using their power to take the same action as New South Wales in relation to ‘King hits’? It is extremely difficult to justify this unbalanced intervention and the men in power need to put women on their priority list now!
Although women make up 51 percent of the population in our lucky country, we continue to be the victims of discrimination at all levels. We are still underpaid for doing the same job as men, we still have little support from our governments, we have little representation on boards, at the head of the tables where decisions are made and female entrepreneurs are still ignored although Australia is open for business, according to Prime Minister Abbott.
Although Mr Abbott has a woman assisting him on women’s issues, the self-proclaimed ‘non-feminist’ needs to realise women deserve a fair go and equality both behind closed doors and in business.