Well, I’m giving this ‘blogging’ business another go. I certainly read enough blogs, but finding the time to write has resulted in many previous failed attempts.
I do think it’s nice to start afresh, with a new feminist blog on International Women’s Day.
I will begin by not writing anything myself, but instead linking to an opinion piece by Anne Summers
International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate the achievements of women, to honour the struggles of those who fought to get us where we are today, and to remind ourselves of what we still need to do if we are to achieve equality.
There is still so much unfinished business. Women still do not participate in the workforce in the same proportions as men, and we get paid less for doing the same work and with sexism and misogyny rampant, we are not accorded the respect we deserve.
But of the many issues that clamour for our attention, I think on this Women’s Day we should be focusing on one that destroys or ruins the lives of so many women around the world: violence against women.
I remember attending a conference where Karen Struthers, then Queensland Minister for Women, spoke about violence against women. While I can’t recall her exact words, my recollection is that she was saying that other forms of equality such as in the workplace, or in education, or political representation, will fall down if women can’t live lives free from violence.
Against all good sense I read the comments under Summers’ article and of course I found the usual objections to mention of violence against women: Isn’t all violence bad? What about violence against men? Don’t blame men for violence in society. Men are more likely to be victims of assault than women.
In answer to these I want to put forward my own view.
Yes violence is bad. Yes violence is bad no matter who the victim is. Yes men are far more likely to be victims of assault (and yet are never warned not to go out alone at night!). These are all serious issues and of course there is no excuse for violence.
But can we blame men for violence? Well why not? Men may be the majority of victims of assault, but they are also by far the majority of perpetrators of violence as well. Of course not *all* men are violent, only the violent ones. Surely people can see the difference between “all men are violent” and “the majority of violent crimes are committed by men”? Just like no one sensible would say “no women are violent” but rather “a small percentage of violent crimes are committed by women“. To ignore this as a gendered issue and pretend that it’s just some sort of weird coincidence is not only to ignore the facts, but also to ignore the possible solutions to this as a social issue.