Pay careful attention to any man that complains about women speaking out against violence.
CONTENT WARNING: violence against women and children
Before we get into what people have been saying about domestic violence campaigner Rosie Batty, it’s worth remembering what led her to the public’s attention in the first place.
Batty was involved with Greg Anderson, a violent man who was prone to physical outbursts. After the birth of their son Luke, Anderson physically assaulted her and she left the relationship, taking Luke with her.
Aside from Anderson’s multiple run ins with the law, including death threats against a housemate and accessing child porn on a library computer, he also carried out multiple assaults on Batty for the next decade, despite her having intervention orders against Anderson.
And then in February 2014 he cornered their son Luke in the cricket nets following sports practice, and stabbed him to death. Anderson died of self-inflicted wounds shortly after during a stand off with police. Luke was 11 years old.
Batty has experienced intimate partner violence and lost her child to the man who abused her throughout their relationship. And somehow she is not just standing after all that trauma but has been a tireless advocate for victims of domestic violence in Australia, setting up the foundation that bears her son’s name and becoming an officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours.
And this sheer strength, this stunning courage in the face of unimaginable trauma, has scared the hell out of a lot of deeply inadequate men over the years.
Like, for example, CFMEU boss John Setka, who is himself facing charges at the moment, including pleading guilty to allegations he harassed a woman.
His alleged claim – that Batty’s work in anti-violence advocacy had led to men having fewer rights – has forced the hand of the CFMEU, the wider union movement and for Labor leader Anthony Albanese to call for his expulsion from the Labor Party and sacking from the union.
It’s worth adding that Setka denies saying anything of the sort and that his comments were taken out of context.
Setka’s career is definitely over, and because it’s 2019 his cause will doubtless be taken up by Mens Rights Inadequates who believe that he, like them, is the victim – along with every other male held to account for their words and actions.
He’s not the first angry bloke to feel cool about telling a woman to shut up for talking about violence against women, and neither will he be the last to out himself as being the exact sort of person women should be wary about being near. Nothing’s a red flag like a dude that gets all #notallmen when women’s experience is mentioned.
But as to the question posed in the headline of this piece: when will bros stop getting angry about a woman talking? The answer is simple.
When the majority of men are finally brave enough to take responsibility for the dark side of masculinity – especially the violence that men mete out to women, to other men and to themselves – that this sort of cowardly, pathetic complaining will stop.
And that day cannot come soon enough.
If you’re experiencing crisis, contact Lifeline on 131 114 or lifeline.org.au; or BeyondBlue on 1300 224 636 or beyondbluebeyondblue.org.au.
National Sexual Assault, Family & Domestic Violence Counselling Line: 1800 737 732