The current conversation in Australia (and beyond) is fraught with damaging perspectives, underlying assumptions, and riddled with mythologies about the domestic terrorism that is the experience of intimate partner violence (which includes emotional, mental, religious, financial, verbal, sexual, and the more often visible and broadly understood physical forms of abuse). It is likely to become more challenging in following days to participate in or even bear witness to these dialogues (or monologues as social media is so inclined to provide a platform for shouting into a void). There are those of us who have “gotten out”, those of us who are only beginning to understand the enormity and the danger of where we are, those of us who know full well and must enact coping mechanisms to the extent that we are able. Wherever you stand in this spectrum of experience, it is likely that the conversations, media coverage, -some- of it vital to progressing our understanding and addressing the culture of normalising and accepting domestic violence and gendered violence, are unhealthy and perhaps dangerous for some of us psychologically.
Being kind to ourselves
Right now, I’m opting out for a while. I need to because I can feel the edges of terror creeping back into my tensing muscles with each clue that there are (many) people out there who implicitly place the burden of responsibility on “Her” shoulders or lament how only monsters do these things. They aren’t monsters, they’re the perpetrators all around us, who are hiding their misdeeds and terrorising under these labels and platitudes and rhetoric that allows us to distance ourselves from the responsibilities and enormity of facing the fact that abusers are our friends, colleagues, neighbours.
I hope those of you who need to, do so too. We’re not failing to honour Hannah, and the 8 other women who have been murdered this year in Australia, nor the other women, LGBTIQA+ people who have been terrorised in years past. We are taking care of ourselves so we can have something left to be part of the tomorrow which I do believe will be better. I’m going to keep fighting for change and engaging when I can.
You are not alone
If you or someone you know is experiencing family or domestic or intimate partner violence and/or sexual abuse or violence, contact 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732
You can also reach out for help by contacting Lifeline on 13 11 14
Men who are experiencing relationship (including parenting) issues can contact the Men’s Referral Service on 1300 766 491.