We need the men.


Photo by Jane Flynn.

Walking home from childcare today in my moonboot, a construction worker asks what I did to my foot. I told him it was broken; “Ha! Bloody boyfriends ay! He knock you down? Hahahahaha!”

Because domestic violence is hilarious, apparently.

I wanted to follow this with a hard hitting fact about how many women have been murdered by a partner/ex-partner this year. Turns out it is difficult to get an exact up to date figure, since on average two woman are killed every week. On the 12th of May, it was 23 women.  On the 14th of May, Olga Neubert was shot point blank, sitting in her car. Her estranged partner was charged with murder. Women are being murdered so regularly, it’s difficult to keep count. Think about that. Hilarious, yes?

Imagine if instead of my ‘boyfriend’ injuring me, he had of made a joke about a stranger.

“Ha! Bloody muggers ay! He knock you down and rob you at the train station? Hahahahaha!”

“Ha! Bloody rapists ay! He attack and rape you in a dark alley? Hahahahaha!”

Why is domestic violence treated so differently to violence inflicted by a stranger? Why is domestic violence so often skimmed over in news reports? “Woman found dead, a man known to the woman has been charged.” End of story. Blink and you’ll miss it. There are no photos of their beautiful smiling faces splashed all over the media, no hashtags, no yellow balloons or pink profile pictures.

‘Mistrust’ by Hernán Piñera (CC BY 2.0)

Their lives are snuffed out in an instant, by a man they once loved, they once trusted. By a man that more often than not has been torturing them for years.
They are daughters, mothers, sisters, friends. Dead. Just another statistic. Even the term ‘domestic violence’ diminishes their circumstances. These women were not ‘killed by domestic violence,’ they were murdered. They were murdered by men who think they have ownership over a woman’s life. They think they have the right to control a woman, to beat a woman, to abuse a woman, to murder a woman. Hahahahaha! Domestic violence is so funny, right?!

I could have said all this today in response to this mans ‘joke’. I didn’t though, of course. Because the kind of man that thinks domestic violence is funny, is most likely the kind of man that couldn’t give a shit what a woman thinks. I’m just another bitch who has no sense of humour.

And that is why women alone cannot tackle the epidemic of domestic violence in this country. Because the men that hurt women sure as hell don’t care what we have to say. When it comes to violence against women there is no equality. So we need the men. We need the men to say enough is enough. 

‘Smoking Break’ by Giuseppe Milo (CC BY 2.0)

To stand up and start defending their gender. To say “I’m a man, and this is not OK.” To pull up their mates when they make sexist and derogative jokes, to tell them not to refer to their partners as bitches or sluts. To speak loud and clear about the fact that two women every week are murdered by their partner/ex and they are horrified. To say to their work buddy, when he jokes about domestic violence to a woman just walking by, “Pull your head in mate. That’s not fucking funny.”

We need the men who own our media outlets to publish the name and photo of every woman who is murdered. To call out every single instance of ‘domestic violence’ and say THIS IS NOT OK. We need the men who run our country to stop with the token gestures and start making real changes that benefit the victims, putting money in to programs, legal aid and safe houses. To send out a clear statement that THIS IS NOT OK. We need a legal system that severely punishes men who are violent against women. We need laws that reflect that THIS IS NOT OK.

Violence against women is rampant in this country. It is not a joke, it is not funny. It is terrifying. We need the men to stand with us, to make our voices stronger and louder and clearer. This is not OK and it has to stop.



If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au In an emergency, call 000.

14 comments on “We need the men.

  • David , Direct link to comment

    You have not only hit the nail on the head but hammered it 2 inches below the surface for good measure. You are correct that it is the men who must stand up to the perpetrators of this violence as sadly it seems that other men & those in positions of power & influence will not listen to the woman around them.

    The willingness of people to inflict violence upon another, but especially in a ‘domestic’ situation (regardless of sex or sexual identity) is anathema to me and I find it repugnant that others will accept that behaviour towards another from those around them. All must stand together and say no more, to the individual & to our society.

  • Hugzilla , Direct link to comment

    Yes. To all of this. Men need to start policing the casual sexism and douchebaggery within their own gender if we are going to make any headway in all of this. Great post, Jane.

  • Elephant's Child , Direct link to comment

    I loathe and detest family violence and the term domestic violence. You are right. It is a sanitised belittling term.
    And we need as a community to address it. It is beyond scary. Obscene. And for every death, there are many more damaged. Wives, partners, girlfriend and the children who see far to much.

  • Amy @ Handbagmafia , Direct link to comment

    The fact that a stranger felt it acceptable to joke about it with you is testament to how bad it is. What would he have done had you turned around and said “yes, my boyfriend broke my foot because I forgot to fetch the mail” Would he have laughed then? Domestic violence- I dont like the term either but I use it because it’s recognisable. Intimate partner violence is a better descriptor, I think.

  • JENNI from Styling Curvy , Direct link to comment

    What an appalling comment! Unfortunately alcohol, drugs and the good ole Aussie “she’ll be right mate’ attitude have a lot to answer for when it comes to domestic violence. NO violence should ever be tolerated and as a mother of sons I’ve raised them to speak up, step in and be respectful to everyone. Men need to train and support men but mothers also need to raise sons to respect women…and that starts with women respecting themselves too.

  • Michelle @ An Organised Life , Direct link to comment

    Wow. It shocks me that people still think this way and it saddens me that it is still a topic that is somewhat taboo.
    Violence is NEVER ok. Violence by someone who is meant to love and cherish you breaks every inch of trust.
    Thank you for speaking up. We all need to.

  • Malinda @mybrownpaperpackages , Direct link to comment

    I agree, men need to step up more and say no. But I think women need to stop appeasing them. When they make remarks like this we need to not laugh them off and confront them about it.

  • Zoe | A Quirky Bird , Direct link to comment

    That comment is soooooo not ok. I think it all starts with how we raise our boys. Let them know it’s ok to cry, let them know hitting hurts, let them know a “no” means no.

    In society women are still treated as unequals with lowers pay rates on average then men still. With a minority in parliament.

    It’s the stupid comments that a girl is “asking for it” if she wears minimal clothing.

    Zoe xx

  • Maxabella , Direct link to comment

    Aye, sister, we need men to stand up and start policing their gender. Most men cannot be proud of what being a ‘man’ is today. They just cannot. I want us all to stand together and say ‘enough’. x

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