Anti-domestic abuse campaigns aren’t working. It’s probably because they’re crap.

Sorry. But Australian campaigns to stop domestic violence are ineffective, pussyfooting, and some I’d say are even misogynistic. I’m a man, converted to the cause, haven’t touched anyone in anger ever except my brother and sister when we were kids, and sometimes when they take the last Tim Tam. I see these attempts we’re making to stem the entrenched inequality experienced by women in our society, and I think they’re all but useless. They’re not good enough.

Case in point: what family-abusing man is put off his anger issues and routine beatings by nail polish? What does this even mean? I presume the idea is to create an identifiable community of men to activate some sort of peer pressure to not hit women or children.

Here’s an idea: keep the photo of Matt Cooper or Jarryd Hayne, but instead of the manicure, perhaps offer the phrase “If you beat your child you’re a cunt of a human/imbecile/wantwit and don’t come to my games”? Feature Malcolm Turnbull in there with a “If you hit your wife you’re a cunt of a human/piece of shit/danger to society and if you’re found guilty in court we’re suspending your right to vote”? Chuck the Australian Federal Police Commissioner in there for good measure with the quote “If you murder your ex-partner in breach of a restraining order you’re a cunt of a human/asshat/waste of skin and you’re going to prison, and then you won’t come out again”. Who are we protecting here?

Another case for your submission: definitely more on track, and yet still far more focused on how terrible a boy’s going to feel if he starts his reign of terror over his relationships early. No point showing how things turn out for the victims of domestic violence: the likelihood of unstable employability, serious psychological problems, perpetuation of violent behaviour in children, and the list goes on.

How about you show clips of a kid in juvenile detention, and how seriously uncool life is in there. Show more clips of disappointed family coming to visit. Show uncomfortable situations with future girlfriends having the talk with your concerned mates? Maybe a quick grab of a high security prison, because re-offending is REALLY a thing.

Bizarrely enough, the best advertisement against domestic violence I’ve seen is, is a commercial for better conditions for battery hens. How obscenely ironic.

If you’re looking for satire in my point, you’ll have to look awful hard, because although the tone of this blog is sardonic, I am deadly serious. Get it together. We all need to fight back against the offenders, their friends, the environments in which their prejudice is bred, and any party neutralising the cause with their “PR”. When the blood of women drenches our lives and stains our newspapers, there’s no applause for participation.

For those of you thinking my ideas are a molotov cocktail that might spark more problems, or they haven’t shown enough compassion for what men go through before they become violent, or any other #notallmen-esque evasive maneuver you’ve come up with, at least I thought of some kind of solution. How about you human up?

If you do know of a group spreading positive, proactive and effective messages, PLEASE put their name, hyperlink, initiative below. We need to know where they are.

 Author’s note: this article has been edited to include alternatives to ‘the c word’ at the polite request of some women and women’s support groups, the opinions of which I respected and were affirmed by in my choice to include not replace.

7 thoughts on “Anti-domestic abuse campaigns aren’t working. It’s probably because they’re crap.

  1. Nothing more absurd, offensive and counter-productive than using a derogatory word for female genitalia to describe abusive men. Educate yourself Brodie.

    1. Appreciate your comment Josie, addressed the use of it in another blog post made. I’d be interested in your perspective on what the article was actually about, if you’re interested.

  2. The fact that the most insulting term you could find for these people is an anti-female slur is telling. The fact that you still thought it was appropriate to use is even more telling. The persistent use of ‘female’ words (girly, pussy, c***) to mean ‘inferior’ or unacceptable feeds the very misogyny you claim to oppose. Show some insight and rethink your language.

    1. Thanks for your perspective Kinnara, and I apologise for offending you. I’ve made some reflections in another article which I’d be interested in your thoughts on, giving a little more context which perhaps would have been useful in the initial on my part. The fact remains that the article is about supporting domestic abuse victims more effectively than current efforts do, and if you can get past your qualm about language used, I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on that point too.

  3. Great article Brodie. Personally I would channel resources into more effective prosecution programs. Who witnesses domestic abuse? Children, neighbours and coworkers. We need to provide the Crown with programs to out the abusers. The most logical means to this end is through witness encouragement. We need to look at the law as well. Sentencing options, asset access for the fleeing party etc. I suppose you can label me the practical one. I think the adverts, while raising public awareness, are generally a waste of resources. Prosecute, rescue and reform.

    1. Great perspective Jonathan, I agree that systemic development is crucial to reform and affirmative action on this nightmare. The value of public awareness campaigns are to engage and activate lobbyists and voters to encourage lawmakers to do their part, and also to enable a culture of aversion. I’d say the current campaigns are a waste of resources, but better campaigns could help drive other changes by keeping the issue at the front of public discourse. Thank you!!

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