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Opinion: Vanessa de Largie

Dear Apparent Feminists,

I’m grateful that Australia is finally having a conversation about violence against women, thanks to the wonderful work done by Rosie Batty.

Unfortunately this much needed dialogue has brought out the vultures. I feel like I’ve been thrown into a blender of hatred which apparently is justified when you are advocating to stop violence against women. How can this be?  Does anyone else see the absurdity?

One only has to visit Clementine Ford’s Facebook page to witness a never-ending stream of vitriol by Ford and her supporters, towards any man who dares to have an opinion. Admittedly I’m a past supporter of Ford’s.  I’ve written her emails and sent her a copy of my book on domestic violence.

Recently an article by Jack Kilbride was published by New Matilda. Although I may not agree with the contents of his article, Kilbride did not deserve the disproportionate response he received. It was indeed a witch-hunt.

In general, commentators seem anxious to make headlines rather than offering sincere support and advocacy to women. In the past year, digital media has become a spiteful, vengeful and man-hating pit where issues of domestic violence, verbal abuse and rape are used as an excuse to spit venom at men and cause controversy.

I’m a survivor of domestic violence and rape. It’s taken me two decades to get to a point where I can talk about it. I still have days, where I feel incredibly vulnerable but I see myself as a work in progress.

Do these apparent feminists realise how damaging the ‘anger’ and ‘bandwagon antics’ are to actual survivors like myself and our families? It tears us apart – it’s damaging.

These women do not represent me or how I feel. I don’t subscribe to their brand of male-hating feminism. I don’t hold all men accountable for my rape, only the perpetrator that did it.

Spitting vitriol at males doesn’t change what occurred, it only creates an environment of hostility between the sexes and blocks the possibilities of an open and honest discussion. The dialogue surrounding ‘violence against women’ has to be inclusive of males.

If violence against men is how we fight violence against women – count me out!

Warmly,

Vanessa de Largie