Recently you may have seen that Mark Latham decided to write down his opinion on Rosie Batty, domestic violence and how things just aren’t like they used to be. And the editors at the Financial Review, in their wisdom, decided yet again, to publish his writings. If you haven’t read it, and feel you must, click here.
I wasn’t going to write a post about his nonsensical ramblings, but I’m furious. Furious that someone who apparently has the capacity to access the statistics and to talk to the relevant people can write such ill-informed, disrespectful and damaging twaddle. If you don’t want to read it, fair enough. The gist of it, from my reading, was this: he started off questioning how Rosie Batty is grieving her child, reminiscing for the days when the ‘working class’ would keep their grief private (I am not joking, he used those terms). He then moved on to having a go at her for speaking at events, like business functions, and for having an agency who arranged her bookings for these events. He bemoaned the way we turn grief into celebrity these days. He had a go at several writers for airing their issues in public, and made light of one man’s discussion on alcoholism, by stating that his writing made him feel like drinking. Hilarious. The ultimate point of his piece then seemed to come through, where he attempts to argue that the issue of domestic violence is a fiction made up by left feminists, and it only really affects indigenous and “other underclass communities” anyway. Yes, he refers to indigenous people as “underclass” and apparently anyone else who experiences domestic violence is also a part of the “underclass”. Wait, what? What year are we in?
So here are some of the things that sprang to mind upon reading this. Mainly, why the hell is the Financial Review still publishing this drivel? But also; who is Mark Latham to dictate how a person grieves? Who is he to tell Rosie Batty that she isn’t grieving her murdered child in the correct fashion? How are we at a point, as a community, where it’s ok for someone to so publicly shake their head and ‘tsk tsk’ at a woman who is working through a grief that will be life long, life changing and very nearly soul destroying? Rosie Batty must every day deal with the violent loss of her son, and every day she manages to get up and step into the world with the purpose of helping others and preventing more family violence. Oh yes, truly worthy of dressing down.
To the comments on her being represented by an agency, and horror of horrors, being paid for her work: This is coming from a man who works within an industry where people regularly use agencies to manage their speaking appearances, his ‘dismay’ is questionable. He is pedalling smoke and mirrors. Having an agency representing her merely means she has someone sorting out her speaking appearances, whilst she gets on with the actual work. You know, the important work, of speaking, educating and raising awareness of an epidemic of violence that in the majority, impacts on women. Women like you, me, your sister, cousin, girlfriend, colleague, boss, mother.
To his claim that the idea that women from all socio-economic communities are at risk from domestic violence being a “Big Lie” of the feminist left. Well, one can only imagine he hasn’t actually read anything about domestic violence in Australia. He follows this up with this zinger. That domestic violence is concentrated in indigenous and “other underclass communities”. Putting aside the charming, retro use of the word “underclass”, so what? Just because there is a higher prevalence in indigenous communities means we shouldn’t speak about it? Shouldn’t do anything to address it? The truth is, the numbers are so high that it means it is prevalent across all communities. Low, middle and high socio-economic.
His assertions that Rosie Batty is putting women at risk is not only insulting, but also flies in the face of all that is known by those who have actually studied, worked, researched or experienced family violence. You know, the ACTUAL experts. Being an ‘almost’ important person, does not make you an expert.
Being a white, privileged, “well educated”, well paid male does not give you the right to belittle the indigenous, the working class or to dismiss the ongoing horrific experience of thousands of women. An experience forced upon them by men.
Feeling miffed because a “working class” (I shit you not, he referenced ‘working class’) woman isn’t sitting at home hiding her grief does not give you the right to belittle her, nor does it make you an expert on family violence.
I’ve worked with it, I’ve sent it. I personally know women who are well educated, well employed, highly regarded, white and other, who have experienced varying degrees of violence against them. By well educated, well employed, well regarded white men. Because they are women. Don’t be fooled by his apparently racist, sexist dismissive ramblings. This issue is huge, it is relevant and his scared, pitiful whining against the “left wing feminists” ie women who don’t conduct themselves in a golden age, 1950’s fashion, speak more of his fearful close mindedness, than anything actually resembling fact.
Well Mark Latham, here’s my opinion. We are not in the 1950’s anymore. We are no longer shackled by old fashioned views on grief, violence, abuse and the role of women. Men and women today are able to talk about the terrible things that can happen in our society because as we evolve as a society we recognise that education is important. Education where we tell young men and women that violence of any kind is not acceptable. We do not hide at home in our grief anymore, unless that is what we want to do. Indigenous people and women ARE NOT underclass. Violence against women DOES happen across all parts of our society and WE ALL need to do more about it. Rosie Batty suffered an unthinkable loss, and has somehow managed to focus her life so that to help others. To speak up, to make others aware and to educate our society on the violence that is harming women and children daily. For that, we should be gathering around Rosie, lending her our strength and asking what can we do? We should be standing with her. I know I am.
By the end of February this year, 14 women had been murdered in “domestic violence incidents”. There have been more since. That’s two a week. It’s also a number that has doubled for the same time last year. It’s an atrocious number. But it’s also not just a number. They are women. Mothers, daughters, sisters. Humans.
On February 26 I was honoured to be able to take part in The Nappy Collective‘s Blogger #DVForum. A number of bloggers were invited to participate, with the view to developing connections and conversations aimed at challenging “misinformed view points” (Rosie Batty). The forum was MC’d by Giaan Rooney, who did a fabulous job, and the discussion panel was Rosie Batty (Australian of the Year), Sandra Jacobs (The Nappy Collective) and Detective Superintendent, Rod Jouning (Head of Sexual and Family Violence Unit, Victoria Police). Richenda Vermeulen (nTegrity) then guided the blogger conversation.
We listened to these amazing speakers, and I’m pretty sure that we were all at times horrified, moved, amazed and fired up. As some of you know, prior to having children I worked for over a decade in Child Protection and with at risk children and families. The stories of domestic violence were not new to me. The climbing numbers outrage me. The continued victim blaming dismays me.
The question of a ’cause’ of domestic violence was raised. And Rosie Batty, and Det Supt Rod Jouning were both crystal clear in their responses. This is a gender issue. As Rosie Batty said, domestic violence is a choice. It is about power and control. Det Supt Jouning described it as men having a sense of entitlement to control women. “We have an ingrained culture of victim shaming. The responsibility is on us to change”.
It was acknowledged that people often, don’t know how to help. That those who have not experienced domestic violence do not know where to begin to help someone in this situation. Rosie talked about this, and about her experience. “One of the most disappointing responses is judging the victim” ie why doesn’t she leave? She spoke about how the well meaning advice from friends left her feeling judged and critiqued. Because it was all simple, straightforward advice. That doesn’t help someone who is in survival mode. Someone who is at greatest risk of harm when they decide to leave. Her advice – guide the woman to a Domestic Violence crisis line. They provide perfect advice, they understand the situation and are focused on safety. They do not judge. Rosie talked about us needing to believe women. To have compassion, to support and to empower women. That “we need to demand change. Let’s get feisty about it!”
Also present was Fiona McCormack, CEO of Domestic Violence Victoria. She was very clear also, about this being a gender issue. About the excuses that are made when men choose violence against their partners and children. That they ‘feel powerless’. This only serves to boost their sense of entitlement. She spoke about us needing to challenge sexism, and to have “zero tolerance to the reasons men choose violence”. To demand change.
There were several things I took away from this forum, but the main point I wanted to highlight today was the need to demand change. From our political leaders, from perpetrators and from the social norms that support, if not encourage, some men in their choice to use violence. With thanks to The Nappy Collective and ntegr!ty, there is now a bloggers collective, that I am proud to be part of, with a structured plan to take this conversation further. So stay tuned! This is an issue that I feel very passionate about. I am amazed I have an opportunity to be part of this collective, and a movement to change.
If you would like to do some more reading, check out the posts from some of the other bloggers who attended the forum: A Blog of Her Own, Seeing the Lighter Side of Parenting, Engaging Women, and The Mother Load are a few who have already started the conversation.
If you would like to join this conversation please do so! Let’s keep the conversation respectful and mindful that everyone has different experiences.
If you feel you need assistance in relation to any of the issues talked about here, please, contact any of the following:
Safe Steps: www.safesteps.org.au Manage crisis response and refers to state-wide refuges. 1800 015 188 (Toll free)
Domestic Violence Victoria www.dvvic.org.au
For immediate assistance contact 000
What’s your skin care regime? Do you have one? Is it comprehensive and regular or sporadic, like when you actually get to have a shower and the shampoo accidentally runs down your face? Hmmm, since having my second bub, I must say it has been more toward the latter. However recently, probably due to said second bub not having slept through a night for most of his 20 months, I’ve thought perhaps I could do with a bit more effort in the skin care department.
And I don’t mean all the “look 10 years younger”, “get rid of your wrinkles”, women shouldn’t age shit. I just mean, man my skin is red and/or itchy sometimes and often dry when it never used to be. I don’t want to look 10 years younger, but I wouldn’t mind looking my age, and not 10 years older 🙂
Then I came across an opportunity to trial and review the Ultra Rich Anti-aging Moisturiser from Rubifresh. Mmmmmm, it’s lovely. It smells like a spa moisturiser. Yep, awesome. And it feels just lovely – I use it at night, and I wake up with soft skin, that doesn’t feel red and itchy. Nice. It’s smooth and creamy and feels lovely. Frankly, it’s a little bit of luxury in the crazy toddler world I inhabit at the moment 🙂
Rubifresh also do skincare workshops – in your home, the office or as a fundraising event. Check out their page here. They have lots of other products as well. Another bonus, the Rubifresh products are 100% natural and organic, they use minimal packaging, as many recyclables as they can and are not tested on animals. They’re also Australian made. So it ticks a lot of boxes.
So tell me – what’s your skin care regime? Any tips for a mum who barely remembers what a straight run of good sleep feels like, and needs to care for their skin?! Leave your comments on this post!!!
Yep, that’s me this week. Especially the shouty. And not much of the Good. Urgh. I suppose I could blame it on the ‘threenager’ (yup, totally a word, and very accurate) but that would be completely unfair and not very adult of me. The shouty, I need to own it, and maybe that will help me breathe through it.
I’ve found myself incredibly short-tempered this week. My poor little Ms 3 is not getting very good parenting from me. I’ve been quick to yell, shouting out orders, and angry that she won’t listen. She is three. Mainly, I’ve been furious with myself. And falling into bad self talk. “I’m such a bad mum”. “My kids are going to be so damaged from me”. “How can I be like this.” Mmmmmmmmm. Breath out. Shut my eyes for a few moments. Check that spiraling, dark thought process and put it aside. Let’s face it, it’s not particularly helpful. Nor is the fact that I had forgotten to fill the antidepressant script, and therefore had not taken any for a week. Riiiiiight. It’s a pretty low dose, but clearly it’s still needed at this point. What do you know, my (excellent) GP was right.
There have been terrible events highlighted recently in the news. Terrible incidents and wars where children have been killed. Where parents have lost all of their children in one incident. I cannot even read the articles. My brain cannot comprehend the grief and trauma those parents must feel. I look at my children and am overwhelmed with emotions and fears and hopes. These terrible events remind me to breathe in, and step back. Who cares if we are late somewhere? Who cares if I have to change Mr 1.5 for the third time before we get out the door? It doesn’t matter. They are here, they are healthy, they are happy. I’m not ruining them, I just need to not shout so much. And I need to hug and kiss them multiple times a day. Every day.
It’s Friday, which for us means the end of the Mister’s working week, and two whole days with all of us home together. Swim classes, watching some footy, maybe even breaking out Star Wars for Ms 3 (for the first time ever!!) So I’m throwing the Bad and the Shouty off and heading into the weekend with just the Good.
How about you? Who has had a good, bad or shouty week? Let me know I’m not the only one yelling at her 3-year-old! Let it all out here, a virtual shaking off if you will!
We’ve started getting into Game of Thrones. Finally! It’s surprising really, for those who know me, that its taken so long! It’s full of warriors, smart women, politics, complicated relationships and intrigue. Oh and fighting and sex galore. Yes, there’s enough eye candy in GOT to suit those of both persuasions 🙂 I have always loved ‘fantasy’, books and movies, so GOT covers all the bases for me really. I think it has been a well timed intervention of sorts. I’ve found myself getting into How To Train Your Dragon and Frozen! Ahhh! Mind you, this has coincided with the kids getting into these movies, but really, it’s not good that I’m suggesting we watch them………
I was wondering how it had taken us so long and then realised, it was released around the time our first bub was born. And then we had our little boy. GOT is not easy to follow – well, not at first anyway. We’re into season two now and it’s still complicated. And by all accounts it stays that way. So just popping it on every now and then, when the kids ‘might’ sleep properly, really didn’t work initially for us. We tried. But now, most of the time, when the kids go to sleep usually get at least one, maybe two episodes in. And really, it’s not the type of show you want your three year old seeing accidentally!
So it got me to thinking. Game of Thrones is saving my brain. Yep, true story. It is a complicated, winding, intriguing and thoroughly adult story. Hallelujah! My brain sparks when I watch it and when I think about. I’m going to read the books. I’m going to read lots of books!
What else have I been ‘late to the party’ on, due to the fact that I’ve got two small children? And they all seem to be TV shows, but that’s fine. Vikings. Oh my god, that show is great, but we only just found it recently. True Detective – That has completely gone past me, but sounds like something I would get into. True Blood. I was behind the times anyway with that one, but did some major catching up. LOVE. IT.
What have you been ‘late to the party’ on? Could be anything – movies, music, news, a food fad. Hit me with them!
As I’ve blogged earlier, I experienced PND with my first bubba, and it has also made itself known this time around. But I’m talking about something a little different. I’ve lost ME, for a little while. I think that it’s normal – after all there are massive changes after giving birth – physical and emotional. My focus has completely shifted. It is so easy to lose sight of yourself, as an individual, whilst mothering. Perhaps it’s easier when not in paid work as well? I’m at home, and not in the paid workforce at this time. So you know, spending days at a time talking to small people who don’t understand a) what you mean and b) logic, can be exhausting. Exhausting!
The relentless routine of feeding, cleaning, feeding, cleaning, and laundry. So much laundry. Every. Day. Perhaps it’s not really surprising that the mojo disappears for a while. I’m sure I’m not the only one. Right? Right?! Hehehehe.
So i’m on a bit of a mission to get my mojo back. And I’m not just talking losing weight and doing some exercise, although that will be a part of it. It’s about finding me as a person again. Or perhaps more accurately, easing some of my individual self back for me. And for The Mister. ‘Cos that’s a whole other issue – the evolving nature of the couple, once kids are added to the mix!
I’m starting with some obvious things – trying to improve the household diet, and add some regular exercise in. But I’ve also thought I need to do some more interaction with adults. So I’ve joined MOPS – Mothers of Pre-schoolers. It’s a playgroup where the kids are cared for in their rooms – ie baby and toddler rooms, and the mums get to participate in conversation, some activities and listen to different speakers for a whole two hours, no kids! (unless they need their nappies changed, then you get paged….). It’s really been interesting and has lead to another positive. They held are little Market just prior to mother’s day, just for the MOPS mums. We were encouraged to have a table there if we were starting up a new business, or if we already had one. It kicked me into gear, an a little seed of an idea that we have been sitting with has sprouted! The Mister and I are still working on it, but we are setting up an online store. Once it’s active I’ll write about it a bit more.
It’s been a bit of a challenge, and a bit nerve wracking – I’ve not really done any retail or markets before, but I do feel it’s actually helping my energy as well. We’ve got the office tidy and back in control, the same with changing out the pantry, and organising the kitchen. All things we’ve been meaning to do for ages.
Tell me, what have you done to get your mojo back post baby? Are you still looking for it? Tell me I’m not the only one????!!!!!!
* I’ve linked this up to the Digital Parents Blog Carnival for May 2014! Click through to check out some really excellent blogs.photo by: MSVG
Post Natal Depression. Ah crap. That can’t be right. Not me. My husband is super supportive, I have fantastic support from my mum, family and close friends.
Mothering was ‘supposed’ to be my thing! I’m ‘supposed’ to be ‘good’ at this! I should be feeling seven shades of bliss and happiness right now. Not feeling so overwhelmed that I can’t make a decision about how to finish the shopping, or to even get out of the house.
I’m well educated and aware when it comes to PND – I’ve worked with vulnerable women and their families for over 10 years, including new mums and community agencies. I know that it’s a lot more common than people think, that it has nothing to do with your ability or education.
I was diagnosed with PND when my first bub was four months old. And this came about because I knew how I felt wasn’t the way it had to be. I talked to my husband and to my mum – a current Maternal and Child Health nurse. A then I went to my GP. She was brilliant. Listened to me, reassured me, and basically acknowledged how I was feeling and just how hard and UNEXPECTED mothering can be.
For me, a combination of counselling and medication helped. But there again was another thing to ‘feel guilt’ about – medication whilst breastfeeding! However, I was reassured by my GP, and to be honest, I needed something to help me out of the fog I was in. Medication helped me with that. I’ve always thought and advocated that if the mum isn’t at her best, how can the rest of the family be?
In the time since this all came about, I’ve done a lot of thinking and reflection. How have we developed such expectations of ourselves? Why should I as a woman, automatically ‘be good’ at mothering? Why do I think I should be? Why do I think that I’m not? Mothering, parenting, is such an amazing, tiring, funny, exhausting, wonderful and shattering experience all at once. It’s not something that you can fully prepare for, despite the reading, the classes, the internet trawling you might do. It is different for EVERYONE. The pregnancy, the birth process, the feeding, the sleeping, the change to your partnership. The change to yourself.
The most important thing I think I can say to anyone about to become parents, or even those already in it, is to be kind to yourself. Be gentle. Love your baby and family. But love yourself as well. Chances are, you’re doing a fabulous job.
If you think you could be feeling better, or your partner could be feeling better, check PANDA out. They’re a good place to start.