This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

I read an unbelievably depressing article yesterday.  I’m sure some of you saw it, but in case you didn’t, basically a significant proportion of the Australian population believe that there is an excuse for domestic violence and/or rape in certain cases, usually where there is stress or alcohol involved.  There is so much victim blaming I don’t even know how to express my outrage!  Some of these stats may seem small, but if 19% of the population believe that it’s excusable to rape, no wonder we have so many sex crimes.  19% is a huge number of people!  To think that we can so easily excuse such appalling behaviour disgusts me.  The fact that we even need to have this conversation still says a lot for our need for feminism!  At the end of the article it also talks about the gender pay gap (and attitudes towards it) too, which is very interesting!  Here is the article, complete with graphics of surveys.

The article is from the SBS website here.

Drunk women to blame for rape according to 1 in 5 Australians, survey finds

One in five Australians believe a woman is partly responsible for rape if she’s drunk, while more than one in five believe that domestic violence can be excused if people get so angry they lose control.

However, the national survey of 17,500 people found that the majority of Australians believed that domestic violence was a criminal offence and could not be excused if the offender was stressed or drunk.

Results of the survey conducted by VicHealth showed that on the whole, Australians’ understanding and attitudes remained stable between 2009 and 2013.

However, there was a deterioration of attitudes in numerous areas of violence towards women, including decreases in the number of people who believed that stalking, fiscal control and forced sex were forms of violence within a relationship.

Less than one in 10 Australians believed that a woman could be raped by someone she is in a sexual relationship with, while 12 per cent believed that domestic violence could be excused if the violent person was abused as a child.

VicHealth chief officer Jerril Rechter said partner violence contributed to eight per cent to the total mental illness burden among Victorian women aged 15 to 44 years.

“VicHealth’s emphasis has always been on primary prevention: stopping this violence from occurring in the first place,” she said.

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Senator Larissa Waters labelled the survey results as “shameful”.

In a statement, the Greens Senator – whose party initiated the ongoing inquiry into domestic violence – said the results must be acted on.

“It’s shocking and revolting that one in five people beleive that if a woman is drunk or drug affected that she is partially responsible if she is raped,” she said.

“It’s simple – nobody deserves in any way to be raped or attacked. The blame lies with the attackers and the rapists.”

‘Nobody deserves to be raped or attacked. The blame lies with the attackers and the rapists’

Senator Waters also urged the Abbott Government to increase funding for prevention services.

Chair of the Foundation to Prevent Violence against Women and their Children Natasha Stott Despoja said violence against women had serious impacts on children and the economy.

“This survey tells us that we have been able to challenge a culture that allows violence against women to occur,” Ms Stott Despoja said.

“We know that further change is possible. But the findings are also a stark reminder that vigilance will be required to maintain the momentum of change seeded in the efforts of the women’s movement in the 1970s and kept alive by governments and the community in the decades since.”

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The survey also gauged attitudes to gender equality, gender roles and relationships, as “people with weak support for gender equality tend to be more likely to hold violence-supportive attitudes”.

It found that one in four people believed that men made better political leaders and that one in 10 believe that men have more rights to work than women – both an increase on 2009 results.

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The survey did find that most Australians acknowledge that women still experienced inequality in the workplace, at 87 per cent.

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4 Replies to “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things”

  1. I have been in the work force for 45 years and in all that time women have been paid exactly the same as their male counterparts under the same award. Mark Twain said “there are lies, damned lies and statistics.” So if you feel discriminated against, join the profession that is at least 45 years ahead of the rest of the pack – if the statistics are to be trusted.

    1. You shouldn’t have to pick your profession based on pay awards. There might be some areas of society with equal pay, but not all have it. The overwhelming statistics are not wrong. It’s also a lot more complicated than just equal pay rates, there is a strong history of patriarchy that infects so many areas of working life. Look at that article and the way women are criticised in the work place for ‘behaving like men’. Women are socialised to behave differently and when they are assertive and behave as men have traditionally in the work place they are judged for it, limiting employment opportunities and promotion options. There are so many complicating factors here, it’s not a simple issue with a simple solution.

  2. I was really hoping the sample size was quite low, but 17500 is quite high. I think it appalling too. Not sure what it has to do with not having nice things….

    I may have a different understanding about what feminism means, but I think we need more education on what it means to be masculine. I also wonder how much of an influence pornography has on these people surveyed…I’d guess a fair bit…

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