Is it just me or does everyone think death and violence should never be a competition?

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Is it just me or does everyone think death and violence should never be a competition?

Is it just me or does everyone think death and violence should never be a competition?

Yesterday on the radio I talked about violence against women in Australia.

The Counting Dead Women website reports 57 women have been killed in Australia this year, mostly by people known to them.

It’s a statistic that is hard to get your head around.  I cannot stop thinking of Toyah Cordingley, the 23 year old girl who took her dog for a walk on Sunday and never came home.

Anyway, I was talking on the air about compassion fatigue and the relative silence around the deaths of 12 women this month.  Barely a blip.

As always, when we talk about this crisis, the first people I heard from were angry men.

Hi guys, For every woman killed by a partner there are 10 men (yes 10) who commit suicide. The majority as a result of false violence allegations designed to keep them away from their children and earn the mother a nice living off the child support system. Facts guys.

I am not going to name the author of that message, because it was one of many and he and I went on to have a long and respectful conversation about family violence.

But I want to say two things.

Number one:  We talk a lot about male suicide in Australia and so we should.  The numbers are horrendous. Never have I been contacted by a women’s group angry that we have shone a light on male suicide.  Not once.  In contrast, I have never spoken about violence against women without hearing from an angry man. Every time.

Number two:  The stats angry men quote, such as those above, are just not true.  It is true (and horrific) that 41 men commit suicide in Australia every week but for all sorts of terrible reasons. Most male suicides are in rural Australia, there has been a recent spate of very young men taking their own lives and most surprisingly, men over the age of 85 have the highest rate of suicide in Australia.

We don’t know why men are killing themselves – we have no statistics. The number 41 is for all men, not only fathers. Statistics tell us how many people of what age and sex died by suicide but don’t provide any other detail. They don’t tell us whether the person who died was a father or had been in a family unit. Maybe they should.

Either way, it’s not a competition.  The activists who don’t want to hear about violence against women need to understand that every time they say ‘But it’s much worse for men.’ they are suggesting women drive men to violence. That women deserve it.

Male suicide is a crisis.  But so is violence against women.  And if you insist it is a competition, you should not be so keen to win it.

Caroline xx



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