Domestic Violence Against Women In Australia

Domestic violence against women is any act of violence that results in physical, psychological or sexual harm which is gender orientated and will continue until Australians have the courage to care for their neighbours. All forms of domestic violence is a violation of human rights and no matter their gender, everyone has the right to be treated with dignity and respect. Approximately “960000 women are victims of domestic violence each year however, only three quarters of these incidents are reported to police or help services”. These numbers will continue to increase unless Australians act and form a community where equal rights are distributed across genders. Domestic violence against women can be dated back to the beginning of gender inequality, which became a prevalent issue during WWI. Although the effects of this issue continued, action was not taken until 1975 when Australia enforced a law, making domestic violence a crime. This however has not stopped the inhumane actions of perpetrators towards victims. The perpetrators of this issue are men who use violence to control and dominate women they are in relationships with. Men often display violence towards women as a result of gender norms, feeling pressure to be dominant or in control and the use of alcohol/other substances. The more common this issue becomes will lead to perpetrators believing they can mistreat women and get away with it. These observations of real-life occurrences create elements of normality surrounding the issue. If bystanders are unable to report these occurrences this issue will continue to effect innocent women. In order to make the world a better place, all Australians must fulfill their role in achieving a safe and inviting society.

The implementation of solutions to prevent domestic violence against women will allow for people to convert from bystander to rescuers. The government is reacting positively to this issue, applying multiple action plans in order override domestic violence against women. As of August 2019, the Australian Government enforced the fourth action plan against domestic violence towards women, which sets an 'ambitious but practical agenda to achieve change and eradicate the unacceptable acts of violence against women,' focusing specifically on domestic and psychological violence. This, as well as their 'our watch' program, the national research organisation for women's safety, funding and help/support lines highlight the Australian Government's concern for victims of this issue and their efforts to make the world a better place. Similarly, organisations including White Ribbon, Catholic Diocese of Broken Bay and Catholic Care Social Services are aiding the prevention of this issue. White Ribbon is one of the biggest domestic violence organisation which aims to spread awareness about the issue and create a nation that allows 'all women to live in safety, free from all forms of abuse from males'. Both catholic organisations aim to proclaim the Good News and create an inclusive community where 'everyone feels safe and there is a stance against anything that destroys families'. These organisations predominantly address the causes of domestic violence against women by educating, spreading awareness and highlighting that everyone should have the courage to care for their neighbours. In order to further address domestic violence against women, organisations can improve their support systems for victims and continue to educate everyone of the consequences and effects of this issue. Individuals can prevent this issue through making a conscious effort to treat others the way they want to be treated, ensuring bystanders act on all cases of domestic violence they witness. For bystanders to be transformed into rescuers it must become a social normality for everyone to report incidents of domestic violence meaning no person will hesitate to help one another. Women must be able to recognise their rights as a human and know they are of equal power as males in society. In return men must demonstrate to women that they are respected, their opinions matter and within relationships they are of equal authority. If society, organisations and the government can enforce solutions to assist in the prevention of domestic violence against women, less people will be bystanders and more will be rescuers.

According to the Bible all acts of violence are considered an offence against God and humanity. When involved in domestic violence issues 'have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible — and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.' This parallels the value of courage, explaining that God despised of violence and abuse within the family. This violence can be overridden by society refusing to tolerate violence, having the courage to stop it. We must embrace the God given authorities of law enforcement and the Government, bringing perpetrators to justice and ending violence. As individuals, everyone must have the courage to make a valuable contribution to the prevention of domestic violence, by caring for their neighbour in times of need. This correlates directly to the Catholic Social Teaching of dignity of the human person. This explains that every person is made in the image of God, therefore, every life is sacred and worthy of respect. No matter who they are everyone is called to care for all human life. Judgements of conscience allow people to make educated decisions on right vs wrong when in difficult situations. There are two elements of conscience, moral judgment and more obligation. Moral judgement is the ability to read a certain situation and know right from wrong. Moral obligation is taking action in order to do right and avoid evil. As a Christian, all are obligated to implement both elements of conscience into their everyday life. By following your conscience, Christians are essentially following the Catechism, being the general and essential teachings of the Church. If Australian society successfully follow catholic perspectives all will be on the path to having the courage to care for all. 

16 August 2021
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