Well meaning people have often said to me that it’s only poor women, women without education or jobs, women who have children to multiple fathers, women in remote indigenous communities, who are the ones that get abused!
Poverty, while often associated with acts of domestic violence, is not the cause. Data from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics shows that posh suburbs like Manly and Mosman in Sydney are domestic violence hotspots. Higher-income suburbs like Surry Hills and Randwick also have an increased incidence of domestic violence, while lower-income suburbs like Rouse Hill and Kellyville are lower.
Saying that only a certain category of women (‘unsuitable’ ones) are the victims of family violence and that abuse is somehow their own fault, is shonky thinking. It implies that if you enjoy the privileges of having wealth, having access to higher education, or being white, then DV won’t effect you.
This dismissal of violence against women as a ‘poor person’s problem’ will only increase stigmatisation of low-income victims and make higher-income victims less likely to report incidents to police.
This is the sort of message that has kept women quiet about the violent acts committed against them for too long. This is the misplaced blame that has prevented women from asking for help. This is the judgement that has stopped women from leaving. This is the fear that killed 79 women in Australia in 2015.