Today, I am angry.
I am angry because instead of celebrating a wedding Stephanie Scott’s family and friends are lost in grief and planning memorials. I am angry that a newspaper felt it was acceptable to make a joke out of a Stephanie’s disappearance. I am angry that her family and friends, whilst going through the most terrifying experience of their lives, were treated with disrespect. I am angry that I am hanging my wedding dress on my front door in the hope that it will show support for Stephanie’s family and raise awareness. I am angry that violence against women is something that requires awareness. I am aware that women will participate in #PutYourDressOut and their motives will be questioned. I did it because I think we need to show solidarity. I think we need to say “Enough”. I think we need to get angry.
I am angry that violence against women remains so prevalent. And that it is ignored. I am angry that when a man is king-hit and dies, action is immediately taken to prevent it occurring again. When a woman is murdered by a man she knows nothing seems to be done. I am angry that one woman a week dies in Australia at the hands of her male partner. (Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC), 2003) I am angry that we teach our children to be afraid of strangers but statistics tell us that the greatest risk to our young girls are the men closest to them. I am angry that my boys will be exposed to a culture of violence against women.
I am angry that when a woman is assaulted or murdered she is held partly culpable. Don’t walk alone in the evening. Don’t slow down. Don’t wear anything revealing. Don’t put yourself in danger. The onus is on you to keep yourself safe.
I am angry that partner violence is the leading contributor to ill-health and premature death in women under 45. (Department of Social Services (DSS), 2009) I am angry that our government pays lip service to preventing family violence whilst slashing funds to essential services.
I am angry. And I want to channel that anger into change.
Who is with me?
There is some excellent information about family violence and violence against women to be found at Our Watch