Real men should abhor violence against women

Source: Daily Telegraph

EVERY bloke has a mother.

Many of us also have sisters and daughters. Some of us have all three. When it comes to the question of violence towards women, our default position is that if anyone laid a finger on our mum, our sister, our daughter or our own partner, we’d probably want to kill them.

But there is a gap between this zero-tolerance rhetoric on violence towards women in the immediate personal setting, and instances of violence towards women in the more distant context of friends, acquaintances, neighbours and work colleagues.

One of the most powerful and moving programs of 2011 was the Australian Story profile on Catherine Smith, who over the course of 30 years was raped, bashed and tortured by her husband Kevin Smith. He choked her with power cables, attacked her with a cattle prod and a fire poker and assaulted her at gunpoint.

Australian Story first profiled Catherine Smith in 2008 when she had been charged with the attempted shooting murder of her husband. He treated the trial like a joke, even holding a sign outside court which read “God Bless the Missus who misses.” To its enduring credit the jury took just 25 minutes to acquit Catherine Smith of attempted murder. This year, justice was done when Kevin Smith was found guilty of 17 charges, three of attempted murder, and numerous charges of assault and imprisonment. As Catherine Smith read her victim impact statement to the court, her cowardly former husband said “I can’t listen to this muck, this garbage. I will turn my back, your honour.”

The program was almost unwatchably sad. One of the saddest moments came on the day of his guilty verdicts, when Catherine went home and removed surveillance cameras she had installed in her house lest her former husband visit violence upon her again. “I’m free now,” she said.

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Til Death Us Do Part – Transcript

 

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