This is from The Oz today: Men hold the key to ensuring women are safe which is by Melissa Price who is the federal Minister for Defence Industry and the member for Durack in WA. She opens with a personal anecdote which I well understand:
Last weekend, as we [ie she and her “partner”] sat in our Geraldton home and shared our thoughts on the gender equality debate and the looming protests across the country, I told him something that — at least in that moment — caught him by surprise. “I am frightened to walk alone at night,” I told him. “And every time I have to do it, I hold my longest key in my hand, sticking out between my fingers. Just in case.”
Many (most?) women live in fear out beyond the household gate, and it is the men in their lives who must take on the major elements in mitigating the risks they face. This is as true today as it must have been way back in prehistoric times. She goes on to write:
Women across the country are rallying against sexual assault, discrimination and harassment. And rightly so. It’s why I joined thousands of women outside federal parliament on Monday. It’s time for things to change.
Rape has always been illegal everywhere and in every society. So what sort of change are we looking for here? These are the specifics I have been looking for since this debate began. And again, empty rhetoric with not a proposal in sight. Instead this:
Let me be clear — this is a bloke problem, not a woman problem.
What could be more empty than this?
We are driving change through the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children — a 12-year strategy that brings together the efforts of the commonwealth, state and territory governments to prevent and address domestic, family and sexual violence.
Last week, we launched the $18.8m third phase of the national campaign to reduce violence against women and their children, called Stop it at the Start.
These are just a snapshot of the measures we have put in place as a government, and are a significant step in the right direction. But we all know more will need to be done, both inside and outside the walls of parliament. It should start at school, where we must better educate young boys about respect for women to ensure they grow into men understanding what is acceptable, and what isn’t.
Really, that is it? You want more men to be aware that rape is illegal and wrong. So this is her big insight.
Too often we hear about the number of women who have been raped, rather than the number of men who have raped women. It is men who need to be better.
And her final word.
As a leader in the community, I am determined to help bring an end to the sexual violence and harassment too many women have had to endure. I want to help ensure future generations of women are confident to walk alone at night, and can leave that key in their handbag.
Maybe it’s good politics but it is a policy vacuum. Maybe we’ll change our mind in twelve years time.
In the meantime, let us turn to another woman who somehow seems to stand up to the hideous pressures that politics brings. Read this to find out part of what she has faced, but also read this which highlights some of the conclusions she has reached.