Caroline Norma has a great piece in today’s Online Opinion about the phrases we use to get men out of trouble. By asking “why didn’t she just leave?” when talking about a woman who is bashed by a man, we’re saying that the woman is somehow to blame for what happened. Indeed, why do we always ask “why do women stay with men who’ve hit them?” instead of “why do men hit women?”.
I love her Four Corners strategy: “because footballers must put up with being bashed around on the footy field, the sport inevitably attracts men with ‘risk taker’ personalities. This means they can’t be held responsible for bashing and raping women”.
On the surface it does seem plausible. But why aren’t boxers constantly in the news for bashing women? Or rugby union players? (Man Friend says it’s because union players tend to have a life outside sport, be it uni or work, whereas league players are paid so much they don’t need jobs and therefore don’t have any perspective.)
Whenever another league player is in the news because he doesn’t know how to control himself, how many times do you hear people say “there are predatory women out there who throw themselves at these players”. Again, it’s saying it’s our fault that men rape. And what does that say about Australian culture that we raise men who can’t tell the difference between someone who wants to have sex with them and someone who does not?
I’m going to end with a chilling warning from Caroline Norma: “Going on past experience, their bashing or raping by rich superstar sportsmen will cause barely a ripple in Australian society”.