Uncommon Sense: What We Can Do About Domestic Abuse – Insights from Journalist Jess Hill
Trigger warning: domestic abuse, assault, gendered violence
Investigative journalist Jess Hill joins Uncommon Sense host Amy Mullins to discuss her new book, See What You Made Me Do: Power, Control and Domestic Abuse.
In this illuminating interview, Jess touches on the stories of women who have experienced first-hand the failures of the criminal justice system. Jess explores the history of approaches to domestic violence that have negatively shaped and impacted the way victims are treated and perceived, as well as the current approaches of the federal and state governments, and the solutions that do work.
Jess uncovers the systematic campaigns – strategic or instinctive – that some perpetrators use to manipulate, control and humiliate their partners. She also believes we need to shift our language on this issue. Jess says, that ‘at the core of domestic violence is not physical violence, really at the core of domestic violence or domestic abuse is humiliation and degradation… the physical violence is… a tool and it's a tool that not all perpetrators use.’ Crucially, Jess says, if we keep using the label ‘domestic violence’, ‘we're sending a message that there's only a serious issue when something physical has occurred.’
But the situation is not hopeless. Jess is confident that there are community-led strategies, tested in country towns like Bourke, NSW and the city of High Point in North Carolina, that do work to reduce domestic abuse and homicides. How can we reduce domestic abuse? ‘Treat it like the national emergency it actually is [and] have the sectors come together,’ she says. ‘You’ve got to interrupt the violence, that’s how we change our culture.’
Family and domestic abuse support services:
1800 Respect National Helpline: 1800 737 732
Safe Steps 24/7 Response Line (Vic): 1800 015 188
Women's Crisis Line: 1800 811 811
Men's Referral Service: 1300 766 491
Lifeline: 131 114