Letter to Our Watch

I saw on social media today that MEAA is sponsoring your Our Watch Awards. It struck me as strange that a reporter can get an award specifically for reporting about violence only against women or children. Of course I wasn’t going to make a social media comment along those lines because I would be howled down in an instant as a perpetrator or an ignorant misogynist. I am neither.

But I’d like to understand why your stated vision on your website stops short at ending violence against women “and their” children? Why not violence against all? Is there a specific award for reporting violence by a woman against a man or a child? If not, I’d refer you to the definition of hypocrisy, in a society that purports to promote equality under its laws.

You could hit me with 2 arguments here:
1. “The statistics show:…..

2. “We need a cultural recognition change as per affirmative action type principles…

Ok. I get that. A strong case can be made for both explanations – except for the fact that you do not define the violence you are looking to stop as physical violence. Too often it is called simply domestic violence.

Domestic violence encompasses emotional violence which can be just as painful, just as damaging and ruin lives in the same way physical violence can. Often the effects can last much longer. How do I know? Because my daughter and I are victims of domestic violence in the form of parental alienation. Include emotional violence in your definition of domestic violence and suddenly the gender statistics change considerably.

My daughter has severed her entire paternal family for the last 5 years despite never really having had an issue or an argument with any of us. A desperate search for support only shows that there are thousands of children (and targeted parents) in similar situations suffering from this little recognized form of abuse needing help and social awareness of the abuse.

Actions used by the mother tick off a checklist of PA tactics and indicators. The world’s leading experts on PA including Warshak, Baker, Childress and Woodall et al are united in condemning PA as child abuse.

How do we combat it? The Family Court is broken in Australia. False allegations against a parent to get leverage in family law are out of control. If you think that is hyperbole read this report on The Family Law Webguide site: http://flwg.com.au/pg/news/view/wayne-s-blog/a-sickness-has-fallen/index.php?blog=1

Loss of a child through PA has been likened to the grieving process of a death, except it gets worse with time, not lessened. The short and long term effects on the child can be devastating. Childress does not mince words when he says PA is not a child custody issue – it is a child protection issue. I believe I can argue therefore that in my opinion my daughter is a victim of ongoing child abuse at the hands of the mother.

Where is the reporting on this form of family violence? Is there any? No. Does your Award for reporting and changing community perspectives of violence provide any incentive for investigating and reporting on this form of domestic violence against children? No.

So when I see White Ribbon and Our Watch and gender specific funding for Women’s Refuges etc etc, part of me recognizes the value and intent in this. I certainly hope you get positive results.

But I also see an ignorant biased society where it’s deemed not as important or as serious if you are a male or a child subjected to terrible emotional abuse (domestic violence) as long as the perpetrator is a woman. Why? Because there’s no campaigns for that. And there’s definitely no Awards for reporting it.


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