FixedIt: Focus on perpetrators was the announcement

Melbourne’s lockdown increases the risk of family violence and the Victorian government this week announced $21.4M in funding for services focused on perpetrators.

The announcement was not telling victims (primarily women) to leave. It was telling perpetrators(primarily men) to leave. The statement from the Premier could not have been clearer: “[we are] directing more than $20 million to keep more family violence victim survivors safe in their own homes – and keep perpetrators in full sight.

The money is funding alternative accommodation for people committing violence and giving more resources to Men’s Referral Services, which recorded a 90% increase in calls in the first lockdown and a further 11% at the start of the second lockdown. 

With this headline Nine News erased the focus on perpetrators of violence and moved it to the people who suffer the violence. It’s implicit victim blaming. It reinforces the “why doesn’t she leave?” myth that says women are responsible for ending violence they did not start and did not choose.

Why doesn’t she leave? Because she’s terrified. Because a violent, controlling, intimidating man has groomed her to accept his abuse as her due. Because she doesn’t think anyone will believe her or can help her. Demanding she take responsibility for ending the violence is like demanding a person hit by a drunk driver take responsibility for the driver’s alcohol consumption. 

Why doesn’t she leave is the wrong question. Why does he stay is what we should be asking. 

The Premier reiterated that if you are unsafe and need to leave your home you will not be fined for any breach of lockdown. This is not a new announcement. Funding to get perpetrators to leave was the point of the story.

(as always, if you’re reading this on social media, links are in the OP at www.patreon.com/JaneGilmore )

FixedIt is an ongoing project to push back against the media’s constant erasure of violent men and blaming of innocent victims. If you would like to help fund it – even $5 a month makes a big difference – please consider becoming a Patron

If you would like to know more about how and why the media’s erasure of men’s violence against women occurs, the Fixed It book is out now! Buy your copy here or at any good bookstore. Extracts available on why Fixed It started inThe Guardian, rape and other violence myths in The Age/Sydney Morning Herald and the Good Guy trope on my website.

1800 RESPECT
Sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling and support.24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 
Ph: 1800 737 732
www.1800respect.org.au 

Djirra – Aboriginal Family Violence Response & Support Service
9am – 9pm, Monday to Friday
Ph: 1800 105 303
djirra.org.au 

Suicide Call Back Service
24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Ph: 1300 659 467
www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au

Kids Helpline
24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Phone: 1800 55 1800
www.kidshelp.com.au

MensLine Australia
24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Phone: 1300 78 99 78
www.mensline.org.au

Men’s Referral Service
Monday – Friday – 8am-9pm
Weekends – 9am-6pm
Ph: 1300 766 491
www.ntv.org.au/get-help