If we took domestic violence seriously, Bourke St wouldn’t have happened.

Three months before James Gargasoulas would kill six people in Melbourne’s Bourke Street mall, he punched his girlfriend, who was 19 weeks pregnant, repeatedly in the face.

Just over two years before the Bourke Street mall terror attack, a man walked into a cafe in Sydney’s Martin Place.

But Monis wasn’t just any potential customer, walking in off the street. He had been charged with 43 counts of sexual assault. He had a history of domestic violence. He was accused of conspiring to murder his own wife.

But it’s not only the Bourke Street rampage and the Lindt cafe siege that point to a disturbing link between domestic violence and terrorism.

There’s the London Bridge attacks.

The attacks on the Charlie Hebdo offices.

The Manchester bombing.

The Pulse nightclub shooting.

The Parkland massacre.

The Sandy Hook shooting.

All instances where the perpetrator had a history (or alleged history) of violence against women. All instances where these men were nonetheless free to walk into schools, nightclubs, concerts and other public spaces, and commit acts of unimaginable evil.

Source: If we took domestic violence seriously, Bourke St wouldn’t have happened.

An open letter to Joe Hildebrand from a psychiatrist

Dr Karen Williams, a psychiatrist who works with victims of violence every day, responds to Joe Hildebrand’s comments about violence against women.

You admit men are more violent than women, commit more murders than women, deliberately cause injury to others more than women and are jailed more than women… and yet you argue that being male has nothing to do with it?

It is worth noting that men don’t just commit more violent crimes, it is all crimes. 92% of the prison population is male but you wrote that gender has nothing to do with it. . . .

Joe, you end by saying how “good men”, presumably with yourself included, “don’t need to be told”.

But why would good men want to discredit a legitimate call to arms to address the major risk factor for perpetrating violence or murder? To take attention away from the senseless and unnecessary loss of life of a young woman? It’s hard to reconcile.

Source: An open letter to Joe Hildebrand from a psychiatrist

Sex work legalisation SA: Former sex workers protest against new Bill

Legalising sex work in South Australia will encourage more women to enter the industry and do nothing to protect them from violent attacks, survivors of the prostitution trade warn.

Source: Sex work legalisation SA: Former sex workers protest against new Bill | Adelaide Now

I looked at 100 best-selling picture books: female protagonists were largely invisible

Despite a rise in feminist-themed books for children, picture books remain highly gendered overall, writes Sarah Mokrzycki.

In the Dymocks bestsellers list, 46% of books had male protagonists, while only 17% had female protagonists (in 32% of books there was no lead character). There were only seven female led books in the top 50, compared to 26 male led books.

Sixteen books in the list showed characters in specific occupations (outside of parenthood). In the female-led stories, protagonists only showed ambition for traditional feminine pursuits. There were three ballerinas, three princesses and one fashion designer – Claris, a mouse, who “dreamed about clothes” and “read about handbags in Vanity Fair”. (In this story, a misbehaving girl is also chastised for being “neither proper nor prim!”)

In comparison, the male-led stories showed protagonists in roles ranging from farmers and chefs to zookeepers and scientists.

Not much has changed in the past 20 years.

Source: I looked at 100 best-selling picture books: female protagonists were largely invisible

Domestic violence victims 10 times more likely to suffer multiple legal problems

An Australian-first study has revealed that victims of domestic violence are 10 times more likely than others to experience multiple legal problems.

Source: Domestic violence victims 10 times more likely to suffer multiple legal problems – Law Society Journal

Let’s not forget that Māori women had the vote long before Europeans arrived

To mark the anniversary of women’s suffrage, we republish this essay from International Women’s Day 2018 by Ātea editor Leonie Hayden – how Māori women can find their way back to equity through the stories of the past.

1893 was the first time New Zealand women were given access to the Westminster vote, but traditionally Māori women and children already had a say on important issues in their own communities. As that right was slowly eroded by encroaching colonisation, Māori women joined the fight for suffrage.

Source: Let’s not forget that Māori women had the vote long before Europeans arrived | The Spinoff

How did it come to this? Kearah Ronan was locked up for being sick

A pregnant Aboriginal woman was arrested and locked up because she was too sick to attend a court hearing where she was set to give evidence against her former partner.

Kearah Ronan, the 2017 Miss NAIDOC winner, has revealed how she was left crying and humiliated when she was forced to spend a night in Perth Watch House after she was arrested for “failing to obey a witness summons” even though she had informed the court she was unwell.

The 26-year-old, who is six months pregnant, also had to strip naked in front of two female police officers after her arrest. Ms Ronan is the maternal cousin of Ms Dhu, a 22-year-old Aboriginal woman who died in police custody in 2014 from domestic violence injuries after she was arrested for unpaid fines.

urce: How did it come to this? Kearah Ronan was locked up for being sick | The West Australian

Principal to pay $170,000 in damages for ‘sinister’ sexual harassment

The principal of a boutique firm in northern NSW has been ordered to pay $170,000 in damages to a former employee over “relentless” sexual harassment, in what the Federal Circuit Court described as “a very grave example” of such harassment.

In his statement, Mr Hughes “attempted to put the blame for his behaviour” on Ms Hill being “flirty and coquettish” and said she wore “alluring dresses to the office”. Her counsel described this as “slut shaming”, a term the Court opted not to use, but instead described the claims as “utterly outrageous”.

“It is the mark of a bygone era where women, by their mere presence, were responsible for the reprehensible behaviour of men,” the Court responded.

Source: Principal to pay $170,000 in damages for ‘sinister’ sexual harassment – Lawyers Weekly