Enough Is Enough

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I feel like I need to speak out on behalf of the women,  children and even men who are effected by Domestic violence.

Why?

Because in our country, it seems that more people are afraid of terrorists overseas than of their own neighbours.  (i mean neighbours figuratively).

Sadly this week we have now seen at least 4 casualties of Domestic Violence.  However, the media reported them without really focusing on the main issue here that 4 People within 5 days are dead at the hands of a loved one or relative….   :

Ice Addict Stabs Grandmother and Nephew in Front Yard“;
Young Mum A Victim of Road Rage” and “Woman Dead After McDonalds Shooting“.

Let me be clear….

Regardless of the location, catalyst or weapon, these incidents are all Domestic Violence related deaths.  Sure one murderer may have been addicted to drugs, sure another murderer may have been part of a ‘bikie’ gang… but it still stands that people are dead because they were victims of domestic violence.  Instead of putting a scene grabbing headline and eluding to another alternative for the deaths, how about we start labeling these deaths as they are – people being killed by people they once loved and cared for.  Lets make this a NATIONAL CONVERSATION instead of sweeping it under the rug.

So why does our society continue to ‘tip toe’ around this very real threat ? Is it because we don’t want to think anyone we love is capable of hurting, let alone, killing us? Does that mean that perhaps, it’s a reflection on Australian people?  That perhaps we aren’t as fun loving, laid back and ‘chilled’ as we seem?

It is so much easier for media and society to brand these deaths as related to something other than domestic violence.  That way we can tackle the ‘real problem’ – such as ICE and Bikie Laws….

What this is actually doing is making it harder for victims of domestic violence to speak up as we are ignoring the real issue here – Domestic Violence is capable of being committed by ANYONE at ANY TIME…

Just look at Australian of The Year – Rosie Batty, she was a very well educated woman, she had a successful career and lived on a beautiful acreage in Victoria.  She wasn’t part of the slums or involved with some bikie or ice addict.  Two days after her son was murdered by his father, she bravely spoke out to the media and said:

“I want to tell everybody, that family violence happens to everybody. No matter how nice your house is, how intelligent you are. It can happen to anyone, and everyone.” (source)

I don’t want to man bash here, and I think that moving forward there will be a strong focus on men being evil and capable of killing their partners/exes. Let me make it clear that we need to discuss Domestic Violence from every possible angle and not just focus on men, but women too who are capable and are guilty of domestic violence.

My father, my brothers, my sister and myself are victims of domestic violence.  Yes, you read that right, my FATHER is a victim of domestic violence.  I cannot even begin to explain the amount of times we all ended up hurt, scarred and broken after my mothers various ‘moments’ of insane bursts of anger and violence.  You know the worst part was, I tried several times to explain to adults … police officers, teachers, neighbours and even doctors, that my mother was the one causing all this pain and hurt.  I was treated like a silly little child, and nothing was ever investigated further.  I began to feel hopeless and absolutely helpless and almost resigned myself to the fact that my mother would either kill me or one of my siblings before anyone paid any attention to what was happening.

To this day, people are still confused how my father (who is a big burly man at almost 6″) could have been violently attacked (I remember one time with a knife) by my petite 5″2′ mother, who weighs about 45kgs….

The truth is, while women are often overpowered by men physically, anyone is capable of causing violence and hurt and we need to acknowledge this to be able to start to turn our society around. Regardless of the relationship and front that people put forward, there often lies a dark background that sooner or later will come out.

My mother to this day, will not admit what happened to us as children and refuses to take responsibility for the years of mental trauma that follow from suffering from Domestic Violence.

The appalling truth in Australia is that in the last year, if you calculate all the deaths caused by domestic violence, it equates to more than one person a week.  The even sadder truth behind this statistic is that the number is likely much higher, however often these deaths are recorded as something else.  Sure they are recorded as ‘murder’ but it might not be acknowledged that that person was in fact murdered by someone who they knew and at one point loved and trusted.

The Government and Media seem to focus so strongly on outside terrorism and push towards creating such xenophobia and hatred for those who follow a different religion, wear different clothes and speak a different language.  I can’t help but feel like we are being brainwashed to believe that people who look like us, live in the same country as us and are even our mates, lovers and relatives, are not capable of committing the same amount of violence and hateful acts.

We are so focused on believing evil doesn’t exist in our own backyard, that it happens right before our eyes without us noticing or knowing how to handle it.

Let’s just look at the statistics: the amount of Australian’s to die from terrorism in the past year is 2 (Martin Place Sydney Seige) compared to the amount of Australian women to die from Domestic Violence which is 65 by Sept 10th 2015.

Moreso, these statistics are just WOMEN – not children or men, and as I have experienced first hand, both children and men are very capable of being at the receiving end of domestic violence.

I understand how hard it is to come forward and reach out to someone to let them know you are suffering and need help.  However, as a society we need to be more willing to accept the victims of DV before they become another fatality.  Instead of sticking our heads in the sand and ignoring this issue, we need to put it at the forefront of our agenda.

Children need to grow up to learn that violence against anyone is not warranted or acceptable.  Men and Women need to be able to report Domestic Violence in a comfortable manner and be able to seek refuge or help if they need to – particularly in the case of emergency or fearing for their lives.  There also needs to be help available to those that commit Domestic Violence – some sort of rehabilitation or process to help them not commit violence again before they land themselves in jail for killing someone.

We need to talk, Australia, because before you know it, someone around you will become a victim of domestic violence and you won’t be educated on how to help or be prepared to have that difficult conversation to seek a resolution.

If you know of someone who is a victim, or you are a victim, you need to seek help and get out of this toxic relationship before you become a statistic.  I will ALWAYS have an open door and an open heart for anyone who needs help or assistance.  Please do not suffer in silence and hope it gets better, because my experience proved to me that it never does.

If you know of someone who is committing Domestic Violence, talk to them, seek help for them and make sure they are aware that what they are doing is far from right or socially acceptable. Let them know they are better than that; that violence cures nothing but destroys everything.  Worst case scenario, report them to the police – don’t let the person you know become a name in the news for killing someone they loved.

Together, little steps and truths can become a big change in our society and how we tackle this very real, devastating issue.  No one should have to live in fear in their very own homes.  No one should have to wake up wondering if they’ll make it through the day without a new bruise or scar being added to their body.  No one should have their life cut short because they trusted and loved someone with a violent temper and rage, and didn’t know how to leave safely…

I am grateful every day that my father had the strength to leave my mother and rescue us from her when she kidnapped us and took us 1000kms from home.  I didn’t understand what was happening at the time (I was only 10), and I was angry at my father for a long time too.  However, now that I am much older and understand how close I came to losing my life at the hands of my mother,  I am passionate that no child, woman or man should experience brutal violence from someone they love.

So please, if you are passionate too – speak up, let your voice be heard, let your friends and family know that you won’t tolerate domestic violence and that you will be there for any one of them if they suffer.

Together we might be able to save a life.

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The White Ribbon has a list of helpful numbers for men, women and children.  If you need help or just need to talk please contact myself or one of these numbers – http://www.whiteribbon.org.au/finding-help

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Interesting Articles to Read:

Domestic Violence Deserves The Same Attention as Terrorism

Women The Victims of Intimate Partner Terrorism

The Meaning of Marriage

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Something that I’ve been struggling to write about for a long time, is marriage.

After attending 4 weddings last year, I really have had the whole marriage thing on my mind for quite a while and what that means to me and to the world in general.

Even historically “marriage” meant many different things in many different cultures… However the most popular societal belief was that it was a way for men to purchase a good woman to breed for him and make his home presentable.

Marriage has always been to a mans advantage – the father got a dowry for selling his daughter, the husband got a slave and breeder.

In fact debutante balls were basically cattle auctions where a young woman was presented in her finery to society, her beauty and dancing talent was on display for possible suitors to later make a bid to the father in hopes to take her.

Over time, this has changed and you would like to believe that marriage is about “love” rather than a woman breeding for a mans lineage to continue.

These days, weddings are a multi billion dollar industry and its not just a case of “getting married” – now we are expected to have an engagement party, bridal shower, hens night and bucks night and then fork out more for a wedding to entertain our friends and family.

And at what cost ? The average wedding is $30K in Australia but more than that, it is often at the cost of relationships. Weddings, in my opinion, bring out the worst in everyone involved. Quite often brides become very self centred because the other alternative is caring for everyone and getting hurt because inevitably someone has an opinion or an issue over something you are doing.

Friends become rude and bitchy because rarely can women get along as it is, but worse when they are lined up in the same dress all trying to prove they are “the better friend” or “know the bride better” and to make peace, quite often the bride will just nod and agree to avoid any conflict.

Guests become judges – from the ceremony being too long, to the food being not to their liking, the dresses, the decor, the venue … Everything is a chance for everyone to share their opinion and quite often it’s not a pleasant remark that leaves the mouth.

Parents are expected to fork out thousands of dollars to help their children get married – even if they don’t agree with the marriage itself, solely because society says a good parent will pay and will shut up.

All in all its one major cluster fuck of stress for one day.

Yet it doesn’t end there. Expectations of married life only continue.

I have a friend who has been married for quite a few years now and she is constantly getting asked when they will have children. Her answer – never.
She doesn’t want to have children, she wants to have a successful career, travel the world, build up her investment portfolio and continue loving her husband. Yet as a society it still seems that it is expected that when your are a wife you must provide your husband a child to carry on his name.

I have another friend who is masters educated, speaks multiple languages, has travelled the world (and no I don’t mean “contiki” travelled) and has published several articles for many successful magazines and publications including Forbes. Yet continuously the one thing that people bring up is that she is in her mid twenties and is single.

One thing that I also often get asked is “when will you get married?”

Let me set this straight – MARRIAGE DOES NOT VALIDATE YOU.

Fuck, Charles Manson is getting married – is he suddenly a “good person” because someone loves him and is willing to make that legal in the eyes of the law?

No… just no.

Who we are as women, how far we have come in society, our ambitions and our goals should not be suddenly surrendered when we get engaged or married.  Nor should any woman who is not in a relationship or has no intention to marry, be any less of a woman.

It seems, once again, that I’m realising that women in general are our own worst enemies.  Few men actually give much thought to weddings and marriage.  It’s women who are judging, bitching and critiquing every last detail.

My biggest regret of the last year was not realising that what happens, happens.  That sometimes you just have to enjoy yourself on the wedding day and stop stressing.  I lost a whole day and night at my best friends wedding solely because I was running around like a goose trying to make sure everything ran right, drank too much because i was nervous as fuck when things weren’t going right, and had to deal with rude bitchy bridesmaids making snide remarks behind my back and then left bawling my eyes out because I realised I hadn’t even spoken to her for more than 5 minutes the whole time.

I had in my head, that this day was to be perfect – it was a culmination of the last 18 months of late phone calls, skype calls, all the plane trips to Brisbane, throwing a bridal shower and hens night the weekend before 1000km south, phoning every last Kmart in Mackay, Townsville and Cairns to find “bridesmaid” and “bride” hoodies for the morning of the wedding, and even running around the day before hand after driving for 14 hours (1000km north) to get to the destination by myself, making sure everything was in place instead of relaxing in the hotel room .. everything we had discussed, was meant to be perfect. 

It wasn’t… and I shouldn’t have expected this – but I always have high expectations and when it is someone I deeply love and care for, when things don’t go to plan, I get twice as angry because I believe they only deserve the very best… and I feel as though I have failed.

Why ? Why did this all happen? Perhaps my expectations were too high. Perhaps the picture I had in my head was unrealistic.  Perhaps some people are ok just sitting by and watching events unfold without stepping up and helping out.

The truth is, I don’t remember much of the day because in between being shunned by a few certain people and running around serving canapes to guests, chatting away to grandparents before the bride and groom arrived and downing as much wine as I could to survive my severe anxiety attacks I was having, I forgot to pay attention to the one day that meant everything to someone I no longer have in my life.  The expectations I had were unrealistic and cost me too highly.

My expectations were set by society because I didn’t know what else to expect.  The ‘perfect day’ is what I thought would happen, and any minor step out of line with the proceedings of the day left me trying to breathe slowly or yelling at the wedding co-ordinator for not doing a better job.

I pinned so much on this one day, that in turn I forgot that a wedding is just a wedding – it is not the be all and end all of a marriage.  If the day isn’t perfectly to plan, it doesn’t mean anything other than ‘shit happens’.

More so, a wedding or marriage doesn’t define who anyone is.  Just because you don’t particularly understand the love or the reasoning, doesn’t mean it is wrong – it just means its different to what you personally would want for yourself.

Getting married is not the be all and end all of any woman’s life, freedom, choices or happiness.  It is just another milestone in this journey of life.

So please, for the love of womankind… can we all just be nice and work towards making marriage not a necessity, not a validation of us as women and stop making weddings such a massive day full of bitterness, bitchiness and judgement?

We deserve to keep moving forward and more so, we deserve our own happiness.

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As A Woman

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As a girl growing up in the nineties, I was thrown into believing that being a working professional was the new norm…

I remember watching Ally McBeal and admiring her work ethic and strength as a woman. While her love life weened and males seemed to come in and out of her life leaving her heartbroken, she stood in the courtroom like an infallible golden idol.

My parents continuous break ups and messed up marriage made me determined that I would never focus on relationships, as they were too risky and troublesome, but to focus on getting good grades through school, learning as much as I could about the world and securing a uni degree and a career that required no reliance on a man.

As a young girl, my nanna told me that a woman’s place is by her husbands side. Keeping your husband and your family happy and maintaining a healthy image was what was most important as a woman.

As a teenager, I fell madly and deeply in love and all of a sudden my desire to stay single to focus on a career was thrown out the window. I wanted love. Pure, deep love but I wanted to remain independent – I didn’t want to rely on a man for more than affection because I wanted to prove I was capable of looking after myself and of forging my name into the history books as a standout female in whatever field I chose to specialise in.

As a teenager, I was told that I would learn to love providing for a male. That as time went by the urge to live my own life would subside and my main priority would be to live my life for those around me.

As a young adult, I found myself craving nothing more than quitting work to become a mother and raise a healthy bunch of children who bore his dark hair and blue eyes. I was ready to build a nest. I craved a reason to keep putting up with the constant fights and arguments. I begged for the universe to deliver what I wanted so someone, a child, would love me unconditionally.

As a young adult I was continuously told how lucky I was to have a career, to have freedom and passion to follow as all these things disappear the minute you have a family.

As a woman, I am tired of feeling as though I have to choose between wanting a career and wanting a family.
As a woman, I want to love unconditionally with all of my heart both my family, my partner and my career and not feel guilty for equally dividing my attention, wants or desires.

What any woman decides to do with her life is entirely in her hands. I am sick of seeing criticism of females who decide to be stay at home mums for “erasing hundreds of years of woman’s rights activism”. I am also sick of seeing criticism of females who decide not to bear children for not fulfilling their “sole duty as a female”.

Instead of teaching generations of young girls what is “acceptable” as a woman at different ages, it is time to accept that as a woman at any age, you have freedom of choice.

What you choose to do, is entirely up to you.

The Other Side of The Story

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On Facebook I recently shared an article, ’23 Things To Do Instead of Getting Engaged Before You’re 23′ and I quite honestly could agree with quite a few things mentioned in the article.  I don’t think the article is meant to be taken very seriously, and if it is – I really question (a) how many friends this woman has and (b) if all these friends are much much younger than her.  The reality of the situation is, at the age of 23 many people are getting engaged, married or having babies and you can’t just ‘unfriend’ these people for doing so, or judge them because their life goals and choices may be different to your own.  

A week after posting this article, a person I have a lot of respect for (who is younger than 23 and engaged) reposted the article stating how much it upset her because at the end of the day, everyone’s circumstances are different and not everyone who gets engaged under the age of 23 is doing it because they are ‘rushing in’ or because ‘it’s the thing to do’.  I think she is very brave to post this along with very strong points supporting her argument, on Facebook, more so than me posting it originally… why? well because these days, it’s so much easier for people to sit their and criticize love, youth and marriage than to accept that it might actually happen and some people just are lucky and work hard to have quality relationships at such a young age. 

I know I’m terrible at it and it got me thinking that I would really hate for everyone who reads this blog, knows me personally or has me on Facebook, to think that I am on the bandwagon.  Yes, I do spend days upon days judging those ‘in love’ and having ten babies at the age of 18, but most of the time it’s based on insecurities and honestly is not meant to be taken seriously. 

 

We used to live in a society where being in love and getting married was the be all and end all of a women’s life. A wedding day was the climax of a young womans life, and everything that followed was to be matrimonial bliss.  Today, we live in a society where ‘feminism’ (don’t get me started) has overrun the world in most instances, and women who get married young, have children young and stay faithful to a man while running the domestic household, are criticized, called weak and pathetic. 

 

I’m sorry – but lets just take a step back and discuss where men sit in this picture – oh that’s right, they don’t.. 9/10 men actually don’t care what a woman decides to do with their life as long as she is loving, happy, supportive and enjoys what ever it is she has decided to do.  

Feminism and those who fight in the name of it these days are usually the most sexist people out there either against their own gender when the group of women they choose to chastise don’t have the same life goals, or against men.  They don’t expect women to have traditional gender roles, but take them on a date and you’ll often hear, “I’m not buying my own dinner on a date – that’s a mans job…” 

Women spend so much time bashing other women and putting other women down in the name of ‘feminism’ that they forget we are all just human beings with vaginas and feelings and should just be damn grateful that these days we can CHOOSE The lifestyle we lead and won’t get stoned to death for having sex outside of marriage.  Because sex is pretty great if you ask me… 

I could spend hours upon hours writing about this, but at the end of the day – I just want one thing to be clear – the decisions and choices you make in life are yours and yours alone.  Yes, they may effect other people and murder is never a good choice to make.

However, at the end of the day, maturity isn’t based on how successful you are in your career or how successful your household and marriage is.  In my eyes, maturity is being able to look at things from both sides of the story and being able to make an informed decision – and always accepting that your decision may change as you meet new and different people.  Maturity isn’t grouping people into one stereotype because of their age, gender, relationship status or socio economic background. 

It is always so much easier to judge someone, than to understand and accept their views and choices. At the end of the day, their choice is theirs – they will have to deal with… NOT YOU 

 

[I am sorry if I have offended anyone with previous posts in regards to being happy and single and rah rah rah.. I am a massive believer in making the most of every situation, so single or in a relationship – I will try to be happy and try to see the light in.  One day, I hope I fall madly in love, be it man or woman, and have that person for the rest of my life.  Right now, that person isn’t here so I will continue to see the light in the situation and better myself and do the things I want to do.  However, when that person comes along, I don’t intend to suddenly stop being myself or give up my ambitions or goals – that person will either accept them and continue to grow as a person themselves and with me, or they will have their mouth sewn shut so they learn to not disagree with me..]