Last year, I used the medium of International Women’s Day to discuss equality and feminism within our society, both issues that are of great importance not only to women but to everyone.
This year I’d like to continue to use my privilege, as a writer and a young woman in the first world, to address another pressing issue that is facing the women of today.
Every week in Australia, one woman is murdered in an incident of domestic violence.
I know I am not alone when I express how I am simultaneously grieved, horrified and disgusted by this statistic.
Too often when we look at facts like this, we allow ourselves to turn a blind eye and pretend it isn’t happening. Too often we hear a statistic like this one, and within a few hours, our impassioned rage at these atrocities becomes lost amongst the trials and tribulations of our own lives.
The tables turn abruptly when these statistics are presented within your own personal context.
Imagine if every week, just like clockwork, one of your cousins, aunties, sisters, mothers, grandmothers or friends was killed in a domestic incident. Imagine watching someone you love being buried every week. Imagine the grief and disgust and anger you would feel; and now realise that every week, there is someone new who has been left behind.
As awful as this scenario is, it serves to convey to us the reality of living under the shadow of domestic abuse.
This abomination does not end with physical violence – abuse maintains its monstrous aggressiveness as it snakes into the emotional, the mental, the spiritual and the environmental wellbeing of a person. Abusing someone’s soul is as damaging as that which is more visible, and is worsened by the devastatingly consistent denial that it happens at all.
All forms of domestic abuse are destructive and unacceptable. All forms of domestic abuse need to be stopped.
Somewhere in our ancestry, it has been internalised that oppression and intimidation of women is acceptable. Somewhere in history people were taught that to make someone feel inferior was an assertion of power and strength. And today, I’m done.
I’m done with being afraid for my future, and the futures of my friends. I’m done with hearing stories on the news of yet another domestic murder. I’m done with the realisation that 64% of domestic violence incidents aren’t reported at all.
I’m done with being a young woman in a society where a large proportion of people think I am an object to be abused and intimidated.
This fight that will save lives, this fight that we cannot afford to lose, can’t be solely an act of personal revenge. Women aren’t the only ones who should care about this.
Sons, fight for your mothers, brothers for your sisters, fathers for your daughters. Stand up for the people you care about, the people you love.
We must never forget the tragedies that have preceded today. In recognition and tribute we must adopt this cause, together.
Teach people that intimidation has no place in a relationship. Consider your actions towards others. Look out for your friends and family.
Make today the last day that domestic violence is a problem in Australia.