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August 4, 2021

Mandy Nolan’s Soapbox: How to stop violence against women, the global solution

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Sharks or men?

The other day on Facebook a friend of mine posted a meme that read, ‘One Man Killed by a Shark this Year and there’s a push to cull sharks. Up to 60 Women killed by men this year and…’.

It’s hard to ignore the sentiment of how little systemic care there is in regards to the death of women. That would be like nearly two people killed a week by sharks. No-one would go into the ocean. Sharks would be hunted down. But why? Not ALL sharks are bad? Must ALL sharks be punished for the one with a taste for human flesh?

Swimming in the beautiful waters of Byron Bay this morning I found myself a little anxious about the cloud shadows on the water – then it hit home. It’s not white pointers we should be afraid of. It’s white men.

I’m tired of how anaesthetised we are to the body of a woman found on a beach, or in a park, or bludgeoned in her home. I’m appalled by the outrage and the sense of community alarm that our safety is at risk when just one person is killed by a shark.

Going into the ocean and complaining about being eaten by a shark is like standing in the middle of a highway and being shocked when you’re hit by a bus. Being killed by a man in your home, in your street, in a public space, that’s what’s outrageous.

If we fear sharks, then why aren’t we terrified of men?

Let’s imagine a world that reacted with the same intensity to violence against women as it does to the very natural food-chain violence when a shark eats you. So the initial strategy is to set up some man nets. It’s just a trial. I am sorry but we can’t just target the rogue ‘bad’ men. In the stopping of violence good men may be harmed.

Apologies to homosexual and trans men who may be netted but this is a crude solution so there will be some by-catch.

We can set up the man nets in parks. Places like Tyagarah Beach to catch the wankers and sex pests. The man net will need to go into bars, pubs, schools. Actually the man net needs to go wherever there are men. It’s clear absolute solutions to violence are not without issue.

I fear the man net like the shark net may create a sense of safety but it’s too destructive to our overall cohesive social ecology. We could cull. Just bring down the sheer numbers of men. Apparently, they’re everywhere – that’s why going out is so dangerous. Shit, that’s right. Staying home is worse! Tag the ones with AVOs and a history of violent offending.

Drone surveillance? But that doesn’t stop rogue first-time offenders.

Developing a strategy to stop violence against women is very complex. That’s why no-one has managed to come up with ANYTHING that works. Men keep killing women. If violence against women were bad for tourism I reckon the government might try to do something about it.

The onus of responsibility for safety is ALWAYS on the woman, not on society. They say in situations of violence, ‘why didn’t she leave?’ Violence against women is cultural – across the globe. So here’s an idea: why don’t we ALL leave? It’s time for some out-of-the-box strategy. Literally.

I’m not a fan of violent solutions. Violence doesn’t stop violence. Let’s cull male violence through sex. Let’s all stop fucking men. That’s every heterosexual woman in the world closing her legs, her door to paradise, right now. It’s a sex strike. It needs to go for at least a year, maybe two. Maybe ten. It needs to go AS LONG AS IT TAKES.

That means all men who want to be with women HAVE to be agents of change. Men have to take responsibility for the behaviour of other men. The onus is on them. I like this solution. I first read about it in a play called Lysistrata by Aristophanes. The women went about ending the Peloponnesian war by refusing to have sex until it stopped. It was a comedy. But was it really?

Our vaginas are powerful. We created men. And men need to start respecting that. The sex strike is not as ludicrous as it sounds, and where it has been properly enacted it actually works. In 2003 Leymah Gbowee organised a sex strike to end Liberia’s brutal civil war. Not only did the warlords end the violence, Gbowee was later awarded a Nobel Peace Prize! For stopping violence with the power of the vagina!

It seems so obvious! All this time we’ve felt like powerless victims, but as a community of women worldwide we are sitting on the solution! So I’m up for a sex strike. Who’s in?

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  1. This is a complex issue, so I don’t know why you think generalisations about white men are helpful. Demonising all men doesn’t help the situation does it? Violence against women needs to stop, I don’t like patriarchy and acknowledge the privileges I have enjoyed as a man in this society. I want change. I just don’t think the language that seems to be used by the majority of commentators out there is pushing us in the right direction.
    There is work to be done on both sides here, in my experience many women struggle with an emotionally intelligent man (not an excuse for violence), women also need to adapt to a world where men aren’t men anymore.

  2. Brilliant Mandy. I’ve been on that sex strike for over 4 years now because, in all that time, I haven’t met a bloke that I would share paradise with. While women represent over 50% of the population, we score around 0.1% in terms of cultural importance. And all the rhetoric in the world will not change that. It’s only when patriarchy is demolished that violence against women will stop.

    Just a note on sharks though, they don’t ‘eat’ humans or develop a liking for human flesh. We’re in the way, not on the menu.

  3. It will take several decades, to solve this problem of MEN.
    With-hold all sexual contact with them and resort to artificial insemination for reproduction; then only allow a limited number of males offspring to survive after birth (for breeding purposes).

  4. Mandy Nolan’s discussion of male violence reminds me of a question that has troubled me for some time:

    What is it about women that makes some men so violent?

    Because, I wonder, do these men go around beating up everybody? Do they pick fights with their mates at the club? In the supermarket, do they beat up the check-out clerks? Do they assault random people in the street?

    No, I don’t think so. Something about women triggers off these men. What is it?

    I have two guesses, which you can have for what they are worth.

    One is the unfortunate tendency of women to lose their looks as they get older. Men marry a beautiful girl, and by and by her beauty disappears. It’s not surprising some men feel betrayed.

    The old joke is perhaps too close to the truth to be funny: A woman marries a man hoping to change him, but he doesn’t change. A man marries a woman thinking she won’t change, but she does change.

    The other is what happens when babies come. The man married a woman and they were the focus of each other’s lives, but now the woman’s focus changes. The babies are first.

    The babies need the mother, so the shift is only natural. Without a mother’s concern, human babies might not survive. The man cares for the babies too, but he has lost his first place in the woman’s concern.

    On top of this, when the babies come, the money goes, as it says in that famous poem:

    The young man looks on his first baby born.
    He has spent all his money for life.

    Some men resent this a lot, especially those who didn’t really realize what they were getting into.

    Some people will imagine I’m blaming women. I’m not. Some people will imagine I’m defending men. I’m not.

    If anyone has other explanations, I’d love to hear them. I feel it’s more helpful to try to understand what’s happening than to make strident attacks.

  5. oh haha, I understand Mandy Nolan’s personal history, with domestic violence. interesting statistic I read, though was that over 60% of violence against women, worldwide was by 5% of men. also to have a sex strike, you first have to be getting sex. in an earlier column, Mandy was disappointed at the lack of suitable men in Byron shire, and the women needed to import some better ones.

  6. Mandy, Mandy, Mandy. How is it that you keep just writing total BS and keep getting people agreeing with you? The amount of “facts” in your writings that are wrong (or at least exaggerated to make your subject sound more sensational than it is) is ridiculous. 60 per year is not nearly two a week (sure, it’s more than one, but, that is just a blatant exaggeration). And the FDV (Family & Domestic Violence) figures that you use do not clearly state who is perpetrating the crime. So, you just assume it must be white men, when in fact the majority of women killed by intimate partners (or formerly intimate partners) in Australia, are indigenous. It’s around 2/3rds. And you also ignore the fact that around 20 men per year are killed by their current or former partners (it’s not just women). And the fact that some women who are killed in FDV situations are killed by other women (yes, it happens).

    Instead, you would rather sensationalize the situation and just blindly rant into the void. It shouldn’t be allowed to be printed!

    Then you go on to say that a sex strike will work (I assume you are being a bit tongue in cheek). You refer to the “fact” that it worked in 2003, even though Leymah Gbowee is quoted as saying, “The [sex] strike lasted, on and off, for a few months. It had little or no practical effect, but it was extremely valuable in getting us media attention.”

    On and off? For a few months? No practical effect? Doesn’t really sound like it solved a Civil War, does it.

    Yes, domestic violence is wrong. No man, woman or child should ever be killed by their partner, former partner, mother, father, son or daughter. But, spruiking this garbage is not solving anything: “Let’s use an idea I read about once, that didn’t work, and see if it won’t work this time either.” Brilliant idea. The only way that anyone can make progress in trying to halt domestic violence is to talk to each other. Check up on friends. If you suspect they are in danger, or putting themselves or others in danger, speak up! The most common occurrences of domestic violence happen in the victims own home, between 6pm and 6am on weeknights. It is done behind closed doors and it is generally carried out by people with a history of violence. Violence escalates! Educate people now that violent people can always get worse (no guarantee that they all will, but, there are generally signs). I would much rather see a campaign informing people of the signs, and getting people to talk, than just write some bollocks about a woman in Liberia (which clearly has solved all its domestic violence issues now) coming up with an idea that didn’t work. You’re not helping Mandy. What you’re doing is Trumpesque. Fake news…

  7. Well done Jeff, you managed to trivialize the awful statistic that 60 women a year are killed through family violence and then go on to accuse Mandy of fake news. You rip into her opinion column as if you are expecting it to be a fact checked report by the Washington Post. You criticise her for suggesting a tongue in cheek solution while offering none yourself beyond checking up on people at risk and talking to them. All the talking hasn’t done much to prevent 60 women being killed has it Jeff? And it hasn’t improved your aggressive and condescending manner. I hope you don’t communicate with all women, particularly those at risk of violence, the way you’ve done so here with Mandy. Thank you Mandy for raising this issue. You are helping.

  8. Hi Mandy,

    That’s cool you can net us gay men. I’m sure most gay men at some point has thought of streets clean of women…. Or on the other hand when we’ve needed that supportive shoulder to cry on echoed that ‘all men suck’ sentiment to our best female counterparts.

    In all seriousness though, growing up in family of domestic violence it really is traumatising. While my upbringing doesn’t seem as hardcore as some of the stories out there it’s still the same nature. I do shudder thinking of women beaten and left to die.

    In some situations the women is the perpetrator. Also from my time at ACON working in the anti violence project I seen this happens in same sex relationships with gay or lesbian couples.

    My experience growing up with domestic violence was rather impacting of my view of the world. It led me to work for FaCs and in services to young people with abusive upbringings. I wanted to give back. One thing that has affected me for many years is the way my mother had a type of stockholm syndrome for the abuse.even now after my father has died and my step father has relaxed she still denies it. It was the way she turned a blind eye To it especially when the abuse landed on one of us kids. I have also seen my mothers aggression and violence grow, like she learnt the behaviour.

    I love your ideas and your humour and love you and your article. I love that you have drawn attention to a potent issue. I relate emotionally to you when you talk about domestic violence. For me though it’s not just about gender. It’s the behaviour that disenfranchises the family. I don’t know if I can blame my mother for her actions but I certainly know for sure there have been times she has been an agitator. Other times she has Beena victim. None of this she owns though.

  9. So what you’re saying is that all men are bad and that we all hurt women. How many men are there in the world 60 of the billions killed someone. Men aren’t the problem it’s the small majority of violent people.


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