Who Says Violence Against Women is OK

December 2014 will go down as a day that defined Australians. The Martin Place siege and ensuing events created ongoing debate of when a criminal madman is defined as just that, a criminal madman regardless of race or creed. While Australians debated this senseless act of terror or criminality, many questioned his past conduct ranging from the following:

  • His mad meandering between Shia and Suni to then creating his own brand of religion – or some call it cult,
  • Was he a lone terrorist cell, a lone wolf? Or ISIL operative?
  • He demanded an ISIL flag, but was still using run of the mill Islamic Shahada flag, which to the undiscerning eye looked like an ISIL flag.
  • He was near the Channel 7 Sunrise room – Channel 7 were delighted… I mean devastated!
  • Tony Abbot was quick to smugly point out that this man has been sending very upsetting letters to families of deceased Australian soldiers.
  • His forty or so sexual  assault charges (never jailed).
  • His role in the violent murder of his own wife (not jailed yet).

The media was quick to claim that this was finally an act of terrorism. This was the event Tony Abbot has been warning Australians. It warranted a preemptive parliamentary terror bill that took away much of our online privacy.We all must be feeling safe.

As the events unfolded, one vulnerable section of our society did not feel safe and as people’s shock turned to anger and that anger found its target; the form of a woman in a headscarf or face coverings.

The unspoken truth about violence against women

There is this view, unspoken rule, that it is alright to be violent against women, as long as the women you are perpetuating violence against is from your own cultural background, ethnicity or is of the minority; it is fair game. Let me explain further.

In the year 2000, as Sydney hosted and celebrated the Olympic Games, there were those awful rape gangs preying on girls in Sydney’s West and South West. How different is that to any awful rape or rape gang you might ask? The perpetrators were Ethnic, from Lebanese Background. They targeted Anglo-Celtic victims. This made headlines and fueled anger where again Muslim women with headscarves were the target. This helped promote the oriental narrative of the lecherous Arab always seeking white women for pleasure.

In that same year, reports of Anglo-Celtic rape gang that targeted women did not reach the headline. The reports were small and minute on page 9 or 13 of the Telegraph. Not worthy of sensational media reporting. In fact women are the target of many gang rapes that go on in our country unreported.

The events of September 11 saw a rise in racist attacks against women with headscarves. This was not worthy of reporting. As events overseas and on the home front continue to develop, women have been the target of much of the anger and  the fact remains that women in headscarves, niqabs and burqas are still targeted by racist verbal and physical attack.

When did violence against women become fair go?

When did violence against women become fair go?

However, something changed in 2014. After the October terror raids and the subsequent fear mongering, social media platforms shared stories of random attacks on women in headscarves, the silent many have chosen social media as a powerful tool that fought racist out pour, uneducated, ill informed drivel against a minority. One such example is Anne Peters who created the NonMuslims supporting Muslims group on Facebook to specifically support Muslim Women  and show that the subsequent attacks on women is unacceptable for any reason. The group and it’s various subgroups – Team Idiot Australia – boasts more than 11,000 members of vocal supporters. These vocal supporters have meant that the ugly event by a crazed man in the Martin Place siege  can be counteracted.

The most powerful social trend that drown the fearful chatter was the social media campaign, #I’llRideWithYou on Twitter which altered the racist white noise into one that protected women who choose to wear the headscarf and told run of the mill racists to simply fob off. Finally a positive move to say enough is enough. Women should not be the target of racist anger or the target of any type of violence.

 

Only united will we be able to reject those awful attacks and show the world that Australia is a great nation that protects its own regardless of colour or creed.

 

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