Well I knew the day would come when I would need to call on that wonderful card that all women possess.The Gender Card. Mind you the instructions that came with mine say “only to be used in emergencies or you will be considered a shrill, a femi-nazi or worse a member of the handbag hit squad” Maybe that is why so few women never actually use theirs.
But an emergency has arisen and I am angry enough to chance the risks of saying a few things about the reality of women’s lives.
I want to talk about ” sex appeal” and grubby politics but first I need to talk about my day. I attended the Brisbane Supreme Court to support 2 women who were called as witnesses in a murder trial. The murder victim was a young mother who had endured horrendous domestic violence before her death. She was found stuffed in the boot of her burnt out car. I witnessed the terrible grief of family & friends who couldn’t save her & counsellors who tried their hardest to protect her. Her only crime..loving the wrong man. This sadly is the reality for many women. Domestic homicide is at the end of the continuum of the abuse & hatred of women.
So mentally & emotionally drained, I headed back down to the Gold Coast only to be confronted by boys from a local high school harassing a female student on the train. A few sharp comments from my self & they retreated snickering into another carriage. The young woman gave me a shy thank you with a shrug of her shoulders as if to say ” not the first time”. As the carriage regained a semblance of peace I returned to my iPad & Twitter to see this disgusting promo from The Project.
I had just heard first hand in the Supreme Court where “Stand By Your Man” gets you. Stuffed in the boot of a burnt out car. I don’t need to watch The Project to understand this reality. Abuse & degradation of women should not be seen to have “entertainment value”.
Are ‘good wives” those who endure, forgive and remain subservient to their despicable partners? Are “bad wives” those who say Enough and leave? What sort of message is this sending to the community?
Which brings me to what has really been gnawing away at me. The current total disrespect for women in political discourse. When Tony Abbott described Liberal candidate Fiona Scott as having “sex appeal” I couldn’t believe it. Who in this day and age speaks like that? Certainly not the men amongst my family & friends. The matter was made worse when Abbots daughter fronted the media to say he was having “a daggie dad moment” Really! Someone needs to tell her that her “daggie dad” is seeking the highest office in the land, not auditioning for Father of the Year. Since then Ms Scott has said that it was a “charming” compliment. No Ms Scott it wasn’t. For an aspiring politician, a compliment would have highlighted your qualities suited to that political role you are seeking not whether you are seen as sexually desirable to Tony Abbott. The comment breached all known definition of workplace sexual harassment. The comment caused a few titters in the media. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd rightly condemned the “sex appeal” comments while former Prime Minister John Howard advised that those who criticized the comments should “get a life”. Little was said to highlight that the end result of the sexual objectification of women is domestic violence & rape. Some women unfortunately don’t get to have a life, thousands others have their own stories and experiences of #everdaysexism. It is what we endure as women. My most recent experience was last night on twitter when I jumped to the defense of another woman who was being harassed. Ugly comments not worth repeating here.
Which brings us to to-days sexist servings by Kevin Baker Liberal candidate for Charlton whose web page contained hundred of jokes on incest, domestic violence, child abuse and racism. The page was referred to as “tit banter”. Kevin Baker has now resigned from the Liberal Party but not before Tony Abbott said “to his credit Baker shut down the site”. Is that supposed to earn him brownie points. Not in my world it doesn’t. And now we are all expected to move on!
Well not good enough! We need to know where our political candidates stand on child abuse, domestic violence, sexual assault and racism. If we are ever to clean up the mess into which our public and political discourse had descended, it is up to us the voter, to ask the hard questions and ensure our vote will assist in resetting the moral compass to ensure women have safety within all aspects of their lives. Misogyny is alive and well and we can all take a stand in saying No More.