Tuesday, 23 September 2014

The "funny" side to domestic violence? Unlike

Warning: This post contains content and images of extreme graphic nature.

Ever drank a Stella? You must be a wife beater. Ever worn a Bonds singlet? Yep, you're also a wife beater. 

Of course, these sayings are meant to be humorous and of a non-violent nature...or are they?

Talk about hurting an animal and you’re a sicko. Harpoon a whale and you’re cruel. However, talk about smashing a young girl to a pulp, or raping a girl who is passed out on a roofie you gave her and hell, you’re the funniest bloke in town. You'll even get it past Facebook's "Community Standards" and be able to share your "humour" with everyone.
Where is the line between humour and reality when it comes to domestic violence and rape? I think, as a society, we have well and truly overstepped the line. In fact, we haven’t just overstepped it, we've leapt into the next postcode. 

This is due in large part to social media and the internet. Social media giants such as Facebook and Twitter regularly allow violence, particularly violence against women, to go unchecked on their sites. When people try and point out violent posts or comments, Facebook and Twitter predominantly provide an out-of-office type response advising that said posts do not violate their "Community Standards", even if said posts depict dead women or women being raped, beaten and mocked.

Here is a list of images that appear on Facebook which apparently do not violate their “Community Standards”. Apart from the issue with social media, these images highlight a very real problem in our society and one that seems to be getting worse rather than better.

I was going to post a photo of a video of two men literally raping a woman, however, it is too explicit for this blog. The photo contained the following caption:

"OMG - she never expected it from her friends. She ended up in hospital."
The post was reported to Facebook who advised it didn't breach their Community Standards.

I’d hate to see images that actually do violate Facebook’s Community Standards.

Unfortunately, there is a similar story with online book retailers such as Amazon and Book World. These two retailers have made money through the sale of online books under categories such as “incest”, “Man-boy love” and “rape”. Last year under public pressure, Amazon removed several online Kindle books that depicted scenarios of incest, bestiality and rape.

Similarly, Book World (formerly Borders) stocked titles such as "Tina sits on Daddy's face" and "Daddy forces himself on his little teen daughter."

With "Community Standards" as lax as Facebook and Twitter's, and online book retailers profiting from incestuous rape and bestiality, do we really wonder why our community is riddled with social and domestic violence? How do you eradicate a problem when you have large corporates endorsing (or at the very least, not distancing themselves from) violence against women? 

We can continue to pretend it doesn't often happen but unfortunately, as per a recent VicHealth finding, it does. Catholic Talk recently published a blog highlighting the fact that in NSW alone, police respond to one domestic violence incident every four minutes and one woman per week is killed as a result of domestic violence.

This is a very real issue. It won't stop unless we actually take it seriously. Surely this starts with stamping out the attitude that it's ok to make light of domestic violence and violence against women.  

If you see something you don't like on social media or an online bookstore, don't sit back, shake your head and convince yourself that's just the way it is, do something about it. Write to Facebook or Amazon or Bookworld and tell them where you stand. Even better, get friends and family to either sign your letter or write their own. We can hardly complain about violence in our community when we sit back and let it happen.

All the best,
Dom Meese

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