Anthony Albanese rightly spoke out against violence inflicted on women but could do more

Photo by Martin Ollman/NCA NewsWire: Holding up the placard in Canberra

Contributed from Victoria

The prime minister said he is going to convene a national cabinet meeting on men’s violence against women for this coming Wednesday. Anthony Albanese said this in Canberra. This was one of similar rallies across Australia cities at the weekend. He said, “It’s not enough to support victims. We need to focus on the perpetrators, focus on prevention.”

So far so good. This is a serious issue calling for attention. Violence against women can’t be justified in any way. And in Australia we are witnessing a spike, laid bare by the killing of more than 30 women so far this year. As terrible as they are, the deaths are only a small part of the number that are injured and have faced psychological, emotional, and economic harm.

Photo from AAP: Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said domestic violence was “not just government’s problem, it’s a problem of our entire society”

To overcome this scourge, it is critical to understand that this is not just a male thing. We live in an era where stresses are mounting. Unless problems like falling living standards, the lack of affordable homes, creating decent jobs, and there being hope for a better future, are being tackled, personal relationships and how mean relate to women will continue to be poisoned. The research and anecdotal evidence support this assessment.

Violence against women will not become a wrong of the past without major changes to society. Harsher policing will not do the job on its own.

This does not mean that males don’t need to be educated to desist from violence. They do. No argument about this. Gender roles are not as clearly defined as they once were. This is a good thing. But along the way, too many males feel they have been left without an identity and disrespected. They are the collateral damage that must also be resolved. Without this, they become a counter to lifting the position of women in society and respecting those individual women they come into contact with. Resources must be put to providing services to help men deal with their issues.

Anthony Albanese spoke in generalities and ignored these issues. Don’t get me wrong. It was good that he and some of his ministers were there and promised something. The point is that we need more.

Whatever one may say about any of this, it remains that there is far less concern shown for women overseas. Given that a key target of Israel’s attack on Gaza is the targeting of women with bombs and bullets, this is a violation of women’s rights on a mass scale. Along with their children, they are more than half of the total dead and injured, and they carry the greatest burden of protecting the lives of their surviving family members.

Photo by Abed Khaled/AP: Women are a target of the Israeli state in Gaza

Surely, someone who professes support for women at the receiving end of violence will be moved into acting on behalf of the women of Gaza. No such thing. He and his government remain silent. Even worse when thousands marched on Australian streets on the same weekend and continue to be ignored.

The world is becoming an increasingly insecure place. This is a time of war rather than peace, where women are dehumanised most of all, and this adds to what happens in Australia. A government that supports the rights of women must be a government that works for peace and seeks to unite rather than divide. There is a deficit on this score as well.

Despite this. Anthony Albanese did the right thing to take part in the rally and march in Canberra and identify with those fighting against violence against women across Australia. It would be nice if this stand could be more consistent.

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