I am one of 42,613 Australian Christians that are part of the Common Grace movement. We are passionate about Jesus & Justice. I will vote for a candidate who shows #CommonGrace. I am specifically concerned about Domestic and Family Violence.
As Christians, we believe the vision Jesus gives us is of a community where the vulnerable are protected, the wounded are healed, and the powerful serve. That’s why we believe that our communities should be a haven from violence, where victims are believed and perpetrators held accountable. Yet every three minutes a woman is hospitalised due to Australia's domestic violence crisis. Every week a woman dies. We keep hearing people say “why didn’t she just leave?” But when women do leave their partners, they’re jumping into a safety net that’s full of holes, with the demand for refuges so high that every second woman is now turned away. It’s just not good enough. When will decision-makers get serious about addressing this national emergency and finally support our dangerously underfunded frontline services, so that anyone escaping abuse can find help when they need it? When will our government care about saving women’s lives as much as our community does?
When women who want to escape violent relationships reach out for help, too often there is none available. What help will you provide so they can be safe?
With all of this in mind could you please specifically answer the following questions:
- Every five days a woman is killed by a man who claims to have loved her. That’s 10 women this year so far. Will your government finally declare these domestic violence rates a national emergency and fully fund services to make saving lives a reality?
- When masculinity is defined by using power, we get violence. What will your government do to prevent gender-based violence?
- Australia could lead the world on women’s equality but we need leaders who are brave enough to make that a priority. How will your government rise to the challenge and achieving a fair and equal future for all women?
- One in five Australians believe violence can be excused if the perpetrator later regrets it. How will your government work to change attitudes that excuse, trivialise, and normalise abuse?
- Blaming victims is a common way the media reports on domestic violence. How will your government change the inaccurate and sexist media reporting about violence against women?
Further information and suggested prayer:
1. Every five days a woman is killed by a man who claims to have loved her. That’s 10 women this year so far. Will your government finally declare these domestic violence rates a national emergency and fully fund services to make saving lives a reality?
One in 12 women report they have been forced to return to their abusive partner because they had nowhere else to go. That’s because the necessary services that allow women to escape an abuser are too overburdened to meet demand. Every night, homeless shelters are forced to turn away women and children fleeing abuse because they are full. The national hotline continues to leave thousands of calls unanswered. And community legal services aren’t able to help many of the victims coming to them for advice as they’re already swamped with more cases of family violence than they can handle. Make no mistake, in Australia there is a desperate need for more resources, whether it’s for refuges, legal services, better policing, crisis accommodation, domestic violence leave, affordable housing, and trauma centres. Last year, family violence killed at least 50 women. When will decision-makers get serious about addressing this national emergency and fully fund our frontline services, so that anyone escaping abuse can get help when they need it? When will our government care about saving women’s lives as much as our community does?
PRAYER: Our God and our protector, we pray no woman feels forced to return to an abusive partner because there was nowhere else for her to go. We pray that women’s calls to crisis hotlines will be answered. We pray women have refuges, housing, or accommodation to be safe in when they need it. We pray women can receive help from trained counsellors when they need it. Our God and our protector, for this to happen we pray for a government that will care about women’s lives as much as we do. Amen.
2. When masculinity is defined by using power, we get violence. What will your government do to prevent gender-based violence?
Decades of research shows the leading cause of violence against women is the persistent cultural belief in gender roles that men should dominate in relationships. We believe all victims should be able to receive the help they need to deal with trauma and move towards recovery. We also believe that perpetrators - most of them men - should always be held accountable for their violence and also (where appropriate) be able to access behaviour change programs to turn their lives around. We know that shaming people doesn’t work. But early intervention, actively identifying, and encouraging abusers to step back from the edge? That could.
Prayer: Creator God, who made women and men in your image, we pray that damaging gender stereotypes would be recognised for what they are and that women can be in respectful relationships. We pray that boys and men are taught to respect women and that they understand that women are their equal. We pray for perpetrators--as difficult as that is. We pray that they are first held accountable for their actions and that they are willing to do the work to change, to be rehabilitated. Amen.
3. Australia could lead the world on gender equality but we need leaders who are brave enough to make that a priority. How will your government rise to the challenge and achieving a fair and equal future for all women?
There is comprehensive evidence that points to rigid gender roles and stereotyped constructions of masculinity and femininity as one of the key drivers of violence against women. This election, there are a range of women’s issues not being adequately tackled by politicians. What we need to see is more meaningful talk about creating a level playing field for men and women in economic and social opportunity, and for women who take on the lion's share of unpaid caring responsibilities a real chance at economic security. That means fundamental changes to tax policies and parental leave systems to properly support the work and parenting choices that men and women want to make. We need more action on making the gender pay gap smaller. More affordable childcare. More women in Parliament. More support for women leaving violent relationships. And if that sounds radical, so be it.
Prayer: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we pray for women from all over the world and all walks of life to be listened to, to be believed, to be equals in their community and valued for their contribution to society. We pray that ALL women would have the same economic and social opportunities as men. In Australia, and many other countries, that means fairer wages and better access to reliable childcare, and for that to happen, we pray for a government who is committed to ending the gender pay-gap. We pray for a government that has the smarts and the means to work towards achieving gender equality. Amen.
4. One in five Australians believe violence can be excused if the perpetrator later regrets it. How will your government work to change attitudes that excuse, trivialise, and normalise abuse.
Study after study keeps showing that there is still a disturbing community-wide tolerance of violence against women. We know there is a clear link between victim-blaming attitudes and the perpetration (and tolerance) of domestic violence. As a community, we need to ask ourselves whether we want to allow such abuse to continue. If not, then we need more efforts to drive change in these attitudes, and in social norms that continue to support or excuse them. Campaigns that reinforce why domestic violence is everyone's business, not just a problem for those directly affected. And how we all play a role in speaking out against such violence. If we aren't able to do this, then women's deaths will continue to be met with silence and Australia will continue to tolerate the alarming prevalence of domestic violence.
Prayer: Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty. God, we know you are a God who changes attitudes, hearts, opinions, minds and people. We pray that the prevailing public beliefs and attitudes about domestic and family violence change. We pray for individuals and communities to understand that violence is inexcusable. We pray for a society that does not normalize abuse. We pray for a government that values the vast body of research on the gendered drivers of violence against women and one that will work to change those attitudes. Amen.
5. Blaming victims is a common way the media reports on domestic violence. How will your government change the inaccurate and sexist media reporting about violence against women?
The media can play a powerful role in being leaders in society and help to reduce the community attitudes that support violence against women, yet one in six news articles still indicate the victim was responsible for the violence inflicted on them. That’s why we want to see media reports stop including excuses for the perpetrator, or indicating that the victim provoked them. We need a media that we can trust to accurately describe victims’ experiences with care, respect and without judgement or blame.
Prayer: God, you are the potter and we are the clay, mould us into people who recognise that blaming the victim is never acceptable. Deficit thinking is never acceptable. God, help us to create a society which understands that violence occurs because a person chooses to perpetrate violence, not because of anything a victim did or didn’t do. Lord, we pray for a government who cares about how violence against women, particularly domestic violence, is portrayed in the media. Lord we thank you for the brave people who already try to hold the media to account.
- On average, at least one woman a week is killed by a partner or former partner in Australia.
- Every three minutes a woman is hospitalised due to family violence.
- Approximately one in six women has experienced violence by an intimate partner.
- Domestic violence is the leading cause of illness, disability, and premature death among women aged 25-44.
- Domestic or family violence against women is the single largest driver of homelessness for women.
- One in 12 women report they have been forced to return to their abusive partner because they had nowhere else to go.
- Women are at least three times more likely than men to experience violence from an intimate partner.
- ‘Domestic’ or ‘family violence’ can be physical, psychological, economic, emotional and sexual violence and abuse, and a wide range of controlling, coercive and intimidating behaviours.
- Family violence takes a profound and long-term toll on women and children’s health and wellbeing, on families and communities, and on society as a whole.
- There is no single cause of family violence. However, research shows gender inequality and rigid gender roles and stereotypes, when combined with broader support for violence, foster the conditions for this violence to occur.
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