Today is significant for Victoria’s women and legal system, as the man who raped and murdered Jill Meagher has been sentenced. I am not qualified in any way to speak of the particular’s of the case, and I won’t be discussing court procedures, suppression of information, prosecution or any thing else that I don’t know enough about.
But…I do have an opinion on why this happened to this lovely woman, beyond being incredibly unlucky, and why this happens to women everyday around the world.
It’s all about gender equality. It will be about gender equality until it’s not anymore. And then it will still be about gender equality.
When Adrian Bayley was charged with rape of five women (sex workers, which were/are given even less respect than a non sex worker female ), in 2001, he was sentenced to eleven years, and served eight with parole. He was on parole when he committed this terrible and destructive act.
Yes, it’s a paltry sentence for the rape of five women, but ten years ago, the average sentence for rape was maximum five years. Now it’s twenty-five year maximum. If the laws had been more appropriate in the past, then he would have not been released at the time Jill was walking down the street. Perhaps he would have never been released. We will never know.
When a sexual attack on a young girl is seen as worth only five years in jail, a man can claim he had a right to murder a woman because of provocation, when an AVO against an abusive husband is ignored over one hundred times then it was time to change the legal system.
The archaic legal system is trying to catch up to women’s rights and while I agree it has made significant strides since the 1970’s when a group of feminists, started a rape crisis centre in Collingwood, the fact that Bayley was sentenced to only eleven years for the rape of FIVE women, only ten years ago, is absurd and insulting.
The more educated and noisy that women have become, the more we have risen and changed health, legal and educational services. And the more this has changed, the louder they have called for their rights to be considered, and our lives to be given worth.
The rise of our rights is reflected in our sense of self worth.
I have questioned so much over the past few weeks in the media. The continual bullying our our Prime Minister based on her gender, more than her politics. The victim blaming of Nigella Lawson, the Australian Army and its objectification of women (and men) and the fact that women are paid 17.5% lower for the same fucking work.
Sorry for the swears but how is any of this right?
Aren’t you worth more than this?
I am. You are. You are.
Where are all women claiming they deserve better? I see the same women on Facebook who post articles about these issues and despair for their own daughters and nieces but there is a general silence from many women I know, including myself at times. I have been quiet when I should have spoken up.
The women whose needs aren’t met emotionally or physically, women whose names aren’t used enough in conversations by their significant other, women who do more in their homes, ‘because it’s just easier than arguing.’
Am I a feminist?
I don’t even know the meaning of that word anymore. It’s been sullied by men and women alike. I am for equal rights of everyone, regardless of what is between your legs, what colour your skin is and how you like to express physical love.
But when I read this list titled, ten reasons we need feminism, then yes, I guess I am a feminist.
A few days ago I spoke to my daughter about how I have never been given anything based on my looks or sexuality and nor she she expect to be entitled to something because of her looks or gender. I am not ugly, nor am I beautiful. I am entirely ordinary in the looks department. Instead, what I have worked on is educating myself, and honing my particular set of skills so I can be financially independent and proud of my personal contribution to the world. I want my partner and I to meet each other’s needs, to be proud of each other when we speak of our accomplishments and do what we can to make our home life run smoothly. It’s not always easy but it is the priority in our relationship. I lucked out though and I explained to my girl that she should want nothing less than what’s she thinks she is worth.
Once I asked to a friend whose partner didn’t want to marry her, ‘Well, would you marry you?’
‘Yes,’ she answered and subsequently left him to find someone whom felt she was worthy enough for her.
Every fight for rights and to be heard is a self worth issue.
- Don’t settle for lesser sentences because it was a sex worker raped.
- Don’t settle for less because you have more melanin in your skin than me.
- Don’t settle for men bullying women who don’t want to be married to them anymore.
- Don’t settle for being told what you can do, wear and say by men.
- Don’t settle for people saying you can’t be married because you like to put your penis into a different part of the body.
- Don’t settle when someone says you can’t have a baby because your don’t wear a ring.
- Don’t settle for men who refuse to buy their kids school shoes because they hate their ex-wives.
- Don’t settle for a menu describing our prime minsters body shape and pass it off as a joke.
- Don’t settle for a radio station that questions a hetro-sexual relationship because one of them is a male hairdresser.
- Don’t settle for a radio station that says that men who cut hair must be gay.
- Don’t settle for a radio station who infers that being gay is inferior.
- Don’t settle for women being bitches to other women to try and fit in with the boys.
What are you worth?