Not in our name

Friday, November 3, 2006

Along with his contemptible "catmeat" analogy, Sheikh Taj El-din Al Hilaly's assurance to his congregation last month that, "If a woman is in her boudoir, in her house and if she's wearing the veil and if she shows modesty, disasters don't happen" was, of course, absolute bullshit. One in five Victorian women report being physically or sexually abused by an intimate partner at some time in their adult lives (VicHealth 2004). More than 20% of homicides involve intimate partners (Mouzos 2000). An estimated one in four children and young people have witnessed intimate partner violence (Office of Women's Policy 2002).

But why? Well, for one thing, it's those good old Aussie Judeo-Christian values so succinctly expressed just over 10 years ago by His Honour Justice Derek Bollen of the South Australian Supreme Court: "There is, of course, nothing wrong with a husband, faced with his wife's initial refusal to engage in intercourse, in attempting, in an acceptable way, to persuade her to change her mind, and that may involve a measure of rougher than usual handling."

I don't remember anyone ever calling for Bollen's deportation. In fact, His Honour remained a judge for several years and distinguished himself again, one year after his "rougher than usual handling" remark, by deciding that a 29-year-old Aboriginal woman who was repeatedly bashed by her de facto husband had not been "sufficiently battered" to qualify for a battered woman's defence. Perhaps he was born in Australia? Oh well, that's alright then.

Al Hilaly is certainly a worthy recipient of the annual Derek Bollen award for antediluvian attitudes, but the spectacle of one racist cretin after another leaping to the defence of "their" women has been something else again! It reminds me of nothing so much as the feigned outrage of the racist Cronulla thugs who claimed to be defending the honour of the women of their shire.

Ever since the initial race riots when I heard those thugs at Cronulla claim they were "defending their women" I've been bowled over by the hypocrisy of it all.

As "Bondigirl", in a post to Sydney Morning Herald News Blog on December 21, said: "The surf club culture is among the most misogynistic I have come across. Get all those boys together and the testosterone just bubbles over ... So thanks for the offer boys, but I am not one of 'your women' and I certainly do not require your protection."

I'm with Bondigirl. Thanks very much Peter Faris, Alan Jones, Andrew Bolt, John Howard, George Bush - and all those who dare to take the name of women's liberation in vain to bolster their monstrous "war on terror" - but no thanks. I am not one of "your" women either, and I certainly do not require your protection.

Until you actively campaign for fundamental reform of good ol' Aussie sexual assault and domestic violence laws, your credibility on this issue is precisely zero.

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