YOU only have to attend one sitting of the Korumburra or Wonthaggi magistrates’ court to see that we have a huge problem with domestic violence in this area – predominantly violent men bashing and abusing their female partners or ex-partners.
Not a day goes by in the local courts when there aren’t 10 to a dozen applications for family violence intervention orders to put legal boundaries around behaviours in relationships, usually to stop angry men coming back to the family home to bash their wives or to abuse and intimidate them over the phone.
Often it’s in front of the kids.
Last week, at Korumburra, the court heard how a local man directed every insult imaginable at his wife during a short car ride home before punching her in the head and taking the car keys so she couldn’t leave.
He also allegedly kicked her in the legs 15 times.
The woman was forced to walk to the local police station to make a report where she was observed to have redness on the face and shins.
It’s not an isolated incident.
The courts are littered with domestic assaults, often compounded by drug and alcohol issues.
And it’s not at all surprising, though no less shocking, to hear that 34 women have been killed nationally in Australia so this year by their male partner or ex-partner.
Sadly, the situation we are seeing in the local courts is the same right across Australia.
It’s an absolute disgrace and must stop.
We are told that the two key drivers of domestic violence are gender inequality and holding to traditional or rigid gender stereotypes.
We know from international evidence that these two factors are the core drivers of men’s violence against women.
In societies where gender inequality is less, there are lower levels of violence against women, so there is something that can be done on a local level to reduce the incidence of family violence.
Firstly, the blokes have got to take a good hard look at themselves and consider getting professional help if they can acknowledge they have a problem.
And both the general community and the authorities need to do more to embrace the principles of gender equality at all levels, while also breaking down the gender stereotypes that we see, for example, being reinforced in sports gambling advertising at the moment.
It might be funny to see those female and male stereotypes being reinforced but it’s also getting people hurt and worse, killed.
If you’re in an abusive situation or know someone who is, call 1800 RESPECT. Men can also seek anonymous, confidential counselling through the Men’s Referral Service on 1300 766 491.
Attitudes must change – SENTINEL-TIMES COMMENT