Rita Pahani (“Activists’ failure on domestic violence”, Opinion, 23/10) has quite missed the point.
There is a significant body of evidence demonstrating that unequal relationships between women and men creates a culture in which family violence continues unabated.
Therefore, efforts to prevent it from happening in the first place have rightly focused on measures to improve gender equality, however it is grossly simplistic to characterise the work as being soley concerned with achieving gender equality.
As with all complex social problems, of course poverty, mental illness and alcohol and other drug use intersect with the perpetration of family violence and increase the risk it poses. But take away all those factors and family violence sill occurs.
Equally, many people experience poverty, mental illness and use alcohol and other drugs and never choose to use family violence. It is an abuse of power and control.
Fundamentally, men (and it is overwhelmingly, but not exclusively men we’re talking about) use family violence because they believe their family members are not equals, and that they have a right to do so.
To dismiss the gains we’ve made in Australia in understanding the causes and impact of family violence on our communities is inexcusably irresponsible.
Alison Macdonald, Acting CEO, Domestic Violence Victoria.