In our supposedly post-modern world it may seem that there is no longer any need for Feminism. Women in Australia are able to own property in their own name, vote in elections, gain higher education, enter the workforce or pursue a career, exercise reproductive choice through fertility control drugs, abortion or maternal leave, initiate divorce, and possess a myriad other rights and privileges so numerous and common place that we barely give it another thought. Indeed, we would think it odd, scandalous even, if women were not in possession of these rights and privileges.
Sadly though, there is still a need for Feminism. I write sadly because as with any social movement that seeks change for the better, Feminism is a philosophy that seeks to eliminate its own necessity. The day we no longer need Feminism is the day that Feminism has achieved its objectives. It is a day that can not come soon enough.
One area of life for women that is still very much present is that of violence. Such violence occurs in many, many forms, and is a daily experience for many, if not most women. It may take the form of sexual shaming in calling women sluts, whores, and other such derogatory terms for no greater offence than the clothes she wears. It may be the leer and cat-calling by a stranger. Or it may be in the form of physical violence.
Domestic violence (also known as Family or Intimate Partner Violence) is an grave issue that is very much still a part of life for many women women, not only in Australia but throughout the world. In 2002 the Australian Bureau of Statistics conducted the Personal Safety Survey. Amongst the findings were that in the 12 months preceding the Survey:
- 5.8% of women experienced an incident of violence
- 4.7% of women experienced physical violence
- 1.6% of women experienced sexual violence
The Commonwealth Government's Office for Women provides a list of Crisis/Help Line telephone numbers for each State and Territory.
I also recommend to the reader the blog flowers... Though authored in South Africa, the information it provides the reader is universally useful.