Home' Rotary Down Under : October 2016 Contents | 18 | ISSUE 588 OCTOBER 2016
“FAMILY violence happens to anyone
and everyone, no matter how nice your
house is or how intelligent you are.”
This was the challenging message from
Rosie Batty at the Seoul Convention.
In a heart-rending, simply told story,
Rosie set the scene of normality for
her family, when we all knew with
foreboding the horrendous tragedy
to follow. Dogs, cats, a donkey and
chickens were part of Rosie and son
Luke’s everyday life. Luke had friends,
Scouts, school and sport all within 10
minutes of their home. They felt a
sense of belonging in their community,
with friends all around.
However, Luke had a father who felt
he had lost power and control, because
he had never lived with him.
“Family violence involves us all,”
Rosie said. “One in three women in
Australia are affected, and one in four
children. It is overwhelmingly caused by
men. It is not caused by mental illness,
drugs or alcohol.
“The root cause is gender inequality.
Women are seen as possessions.
Superficially, women are seen as equals
in our society, but power and control are
the drivers of family violence. Leaving
relationships doesn’t end violence; the
perpetrators just find new ways, and
A heartbreaking story addressing
power and gender inequality
children get caught in the crossfire.
Men don’t have to move, don’t have
to adopt a new identity to remain safe.
“It is unreasonable that we ask
innocent victims to live in this way.”
Rosie endured this violence for 12
years. She did not talk to family and
friends about it – like most of us when
presented with a highly personal and
somewhat embarrassing issue, she
managed it herself. She said the level
of fear is hard to explain to outsiders,
and intervention and control orders, in
the end, are only pieces of paper.
“I haven’t stopped speaking since
Luke was murdered, and it is my
intention to keep speaking until victims
are no longer blamed and perpetrators
of the violence are made accountable,”
Rosie believes the tide has turned,
but is gender equality enough? With
smoking, it was a long campaign
before we decided its killing power
was unacceptable. We need to make
family violence totally unacceptable in
*Rosie Batty was the Australian
of the Year 2015 and a Pride of
Australia National Courage Medal
Rotary Club of Mount Isa provides
IN 2015-16, the Rotary Club of Mount Isa, Qld, allocated $20,000 to a
domestic violence project. There are two main domestic violence shelters
in Mount Isa, and one run by the Salvation Army. The club kicked off by
donating $1000 in Coles and Kmart vouchers to each house for Christmas.
They also participated in the Old Bags for New project run by Zonta. This
involved purchasing 20 bags and filling them with essential items to be shared
among the occupants of each house. Lastly, the club replaced the stoves and
fridges in two of the houses and their units. Some of the units did not even
have stoves, and only had a microwave and hot plate for cooking; in those cases
the club arranged for electricians to install stoves for them.
Rosie Batty shares her
heartbreaking story at
the Rotary International
Convention in Seoul.
What is domestic
The term “domestic violence” refers to
interpersonal violence that takes place
in domestic settings, family relationships
and intimate relationships, and most
commonly applies to violence by a
man to his wife, female sexual partner
or ex-partner. However, domestic
violence is also used to refer to violence
between same sex partners, among
family members (including siblings and
parent-child violence either way) and by
women against male partners.
Three other terms commonly applied
to some or all of these forms of violence
are family violence, men’s violence
against women and intimate violence,
while newer terms include relationship
violence, intimate partner violence and
gender-based violence. Throughout
this report we have used the terms
“domestic violence” and “family
Domestic/family violence can take
many different forms, including
intimidation, coercion or isolation,
emotional, physical, sexual, financial
and spiritual abuse.
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