With the recent focus on Domestic Violence thanks to White Ribbon's events on 25 November 2017, I was reminded that I had not yet posted this commentary on domestic violence. 

When I am asked to speak in schools or at local community events about domestic violence I almost always refer to this speech from Ken Lay, the then Police Commissioner for Victoria, and I often hand out a printed copy of the speech.  He quite effectively addresses some common misconceptions around domestic violence.

 

To the left is the link to his full commentary on this.  I will just include my favourite excerpts below in italics:

I want you all to imagine something with me. Imagine that each week an Australian is murdered at a train station. 

That each week, someone's brother or sister; mother or father is violently killed getting on or off a train.  Picture it?  Now picture the public response.  It would be a front-page news story in each of our capital cities. Police would flood our stations, while people would avoid public transport in favour of private cars.  

 

The word "crisis" would pepper our talkback.

Can you imagine it?  Okay.  Now I have another figure—a real figure—that I think is just as horrific.

The figure is this: every week a woman is murdered by her partner or ex-partner.

Why do you think that is?  I'll tell you why I think it is.  Because what happens in someone else's home doesn't affect us.  And because we are constantly misapprehending the nature of violence.

When it happens we might think "Well, why did she marry him?" just as we might think of a rape victim, "Well, why was she wearing a short skirt?"  When we imagine this sort of complicity for the victim—when we essentially blame them—we are congratulating ourselves for our superior judgement, a judgement that will ensure it never happens to us.

 

When we do this, we come up with the wrong answers about why violence happens.  And when we do this, we make it less likely anybody will care enough to do anything.  In blaming victims, we create a lot of myths about family violence.   Here's some of them:

  • that the victim must have incited the abuse;
  • that the victim is guilty of awful judgement;
  • that if the woman's life was endangered, she would simply leave.

No, no and no.  These are myths and they're getting in the way of honesty.

 

More Information

His article is insightful, as it should be as domestic violence so heavily impacted his work.  You should read the full article, and if you still want to read more about Domestic Violence then click on the link to the left and read some more of our articles.