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Issue #1712      November 25, 2015

CPA statement on domestic and family violence

Wednesday November 25, 2015 is National White Ribbon Day in Australia. The Communist Party of Australia fully supports the objectives of White Ribbon to prevent men’s violence against women and shares the organisation’s concern at the growing problem in Australia and internationally. The Party’s weekly newspaper, the Guardian, has given details of neglect of the issue and lack of a sense of urgency on the part of Australian governments in the face of a mounting toll of deaths of women at the hands of abusive partners or ex-partners. The Coalition has de-funded services to women escaping domestic violence, forcing the services to close. Programs to change men’s violent behaviour have been cut. Australian governments are long on lip-service but short on action.

The CPA holds that violence against women has historical, social and economic roots. “Historically, under capitalism, women have been treated as chattels belonging to men. Fathers gave their daughters away in marriage as property. Discrimination marginalising women is embedded in the system. Married women were not expected to enter the paid workforce and if they did, they were not paid a living wage. A ‘good’ marriage was promoted as a vehicle to economic security,” as the front page article of the Guardian of September 30 pointed out. Australians still live with this toxic, sexist legacy because we still live in a class-exploitative capitalist system.

Male members of the CPA’s Central Committee have taken the White Ribbon Oath. Over 174,000 Australians have taken it so far. It says “I will stand up, speak out and act to prevent men’s violence against women.” That certainly must be done. Beyond that we demand governments adequately fund services to women escaping domestic violence and programs aimed at addressing the current critical situation. We demand a guarantee of leave to all workers needing to find new, secure circumstances as a result of such violence. Through their commitment to achieving a socialist society, members of the CPA have also pledged to eliminate the root cause of the scourge of domestic and family violence and call on others to join them.

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