19.3 C
Byron Shire
April 14, 2024

Mandy Nolan’s Soapbox: Putting Safety to Bed

Latest News

Bangalow retaining wall damage

The wall supporting the western end of Deacon Street has failed – opposite the Roman Catholic Church. Fortunately, this...

Other News

Share the love cactus

Want to experience fresh, new music? A new local band has germinated from the fertile artistic soils of the Northern Rivers. Hashimoto’s Cactus is the lovechild of Stephen Lovelight, who is one of the members of the Round Mountain Girls.

Revolution– a night of protest songs

Award-winning Australian bluesman Frank Sultana has been releasing original music since 2011. In January 2023, in Memphis Tennessee, Sultana competed in and won the prestigious International Blues Challenge, becoming only the third person outside of North America to do so in the event’s 39-year history.

Greens announce Byron council election ticket

NSW local government elections are to be held this September, and in the Byron Shire, the Greens have announced their team with current councillor Sarah Ndiaye running for mayor on a four-woman ticket.

Has the state government responded effectively to the 2022 flood and other disasters? 

The NSW Reconstruction Authority (NSW RA) is under examination to look at how it has managed the response to the 2022 floods and other disasters.

Local triathletes triumph at Kingscliff

After a strong showing at the Kingscliff triathlon in late March the Byron Tri Club has extended its lead in the north coast triathlon league with just two races to go for the season.

Teens charged following break and enter and 50km pursuit

Two teens will appear in court today charged following an alleged break and enter and pursuit through the Northern Rivers.

So many people who are struggling don’t have a safe place to sleep.

I love my bed. Right now, during the pandemic, I love my bed more than ever. It’s become what I look forward to most. Every night, it’s my end destination. It’s the place I know I am going. It’s the warm hug that restores me. These are stressful times. There is division. There is uncertainty. There is anger. There is grief. There is loss. There is the aching pain of missing the people you love who you cannot see. As I changed the sheets on my bed the other day I became intensely aware of the restorative power of sleep. My mental health is maintained by my bed. It’s my greatest ally.

My beautiful comfortable bed is my privilege. I recognise my immense privilege. I also recognise that this safe place, this basic requirement in maintaining a robust and resilient mental health is a human right. So many people who are struggling don’t have a safe place to sleep. That may be because they are living in domestic violence, are in housing stress or are homeless. Access to safe and affordable housing is one of the key issues in keeping women and children safe. Lack of housing is why many women return to violence.

This week, women, policy makers, allies and interested parties gather in Canberra for the two day National Summit on Women’s Safety. This comes the week after the federal government rejected 49 of the 55 recommendations by Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins in her extensive Respect @ Work Report (2020) proving once and for all that the Morrison government is not interested in protecting women.

Having the federal government host a Safety Summit is like having a children’s birthday party at a paedophile’s house. It’s a cynical exercise in public relations. They have not addressed the culture of rape and misogyny within their own workplace, in fact their refusal to take on the spirit of Jenkins’ report, which firmly places the onus of safety on the employer, shows a deeply embedded investment in the status quo that entrenches women as victims of harassment and violence. It is not in the interests of privileged and powerful men for women to be safe. True safety involves changing culture. It requires the dismantling of a system that enshrines the privilege of the entitled, and not the other way around.

We are so used to minimising violence against women, we forget the litany of abuse.

That plays well for Morrison. I mean, if the Coalition were a person, all Australian women would have to take out a restraining order.

Let’s reflect on what has been revealed, just this year, in Mr Morrison’s workplace: the alleged rape of Brittany Higgins on the Defence Minister’s couch, a Liberal staffer masturbating on an MP’s desk, the historical rape of a young woman by the former Attorney General, Andrew Laming’s dodgy photo of a woman stacking a drinks fridge, Nationals MP Michael Johnsen accused of raping a sex worker in the Blue Mountains… And they are hosting a Women’s Safety summit? With Scotty giving the keynote? Need I say more?

Domestic and family violence cases have increased during covid lockdowns. Twenty-nine Australian women have been murdered so far this year, on top of 56 last year. To keep women and children safe we need a change of culture. We need safe workplaces. We need access to safe homes. To a safe place to sleep.

In the meantime we need fully funded refuges. The most dangerous time for women at risk is when they leave an abusive situation. If they are going to be murdered, this is the highest risk time. Refuges are key to keeping these women safe. I’m the Ambassador for the Ballina Women and Children’s Refuge. The same government hosting a Women’s Safety Summit defunded the Ballina Refuge as of 1 July this year. That’s how much they care about women’s safety.

It’s up to us to create change. You can be an ongoing donor, or, if you can, donate through attending the comedy event I am hosting online with super stars Steph Tisdell, Ellen Briggs, Katrina Davidson, Jenny Wynter, Ting Lim, Vanessa Mitchell and Alex Hudson: on Thursday 16 September at 8pm. Please buy a ticket on ballinarsl.com.au. All the proceeds go to the Refuge.

Because some of us just don’t pay lip service to women’s safety. We do something.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

4 COMMENTS

  1. 100.000 feminist march in the streets to protest against Trump.. the Taliban will uphold Sharia law in Afghanistan
    Where are the feminists now ?

  2. As always, you are right on the money, dear Mandy. I relate to your article as you tell us how it is. Those arrogant “Big boys” in government are getting away with far too much. Time for a kinder government. Let’s all look to Jacinta in NZ. She seems a lot nicer.

  3. Cultural change takes a long time, however if the resources and energies for postive cultural change are focused on the younger generations change will happen much quicker.
    This is true for Indigenous ( which unfortunately has very high levels of domestic violence) as well as colonial culture.
    Lets talk to our kids about respect.
    Respect with our words and respect with our actions . Most if all children learn by example.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

We wonder why

Living in Byron Shire the majority of people continue to ask why is this organisation continuously letting this community down as far as representing...

Aid workers killed

I along with the Israeli and Jewish community in general mourn with the rest of the world for the tragic loss of the seven...

Rains, drains, floods

The ABC news and Guardian recently published reports of the potential return of La Niña in 2024 bringing similar rain to 2022. We just experienced...

Peace

Elimination by people-power voting is necessary to remove dictators from Russia, Israel, China, Iran, wannabe (again!) North Korea, to avoid what is heading toward...