Campaign condemns ignorant comments from Laws
March 28, 2012
The White Ribbon Campaign condemns prominent talkback host Michael Laws for posing the question that violence against women is ok if the women are not intelligent, while calling the White Ribbon Campaign ‘the crappiest, stupidest, most moronic display of public sentiment this country indulges in’.
“The fact that one-in-three women suffers family violence at the hands of a partner or former partner is a horrifying thought” says Carl Davidson, Families Commission Chief Commissioner. “With an average of 14 women a year killed in family violence incidents, all New Zealanders should take violence against women seriously, including Michael Laws”.
“The White Ribbon Campaign, as Laws has suggested previously, does not blame men for family violence. It is a Campaign that sees men as part of the solution offering alternatives for violence. This is epitomised by the White Ribbon Ambassadors who are able to lead by example, exemplifying behaviour that rejects violence,” says Mr Davidson.
“It is important to understand that most serious violence is inflicted by men against women. The New Zealand Police will attest to this, as will hospitals who deal with the more serious physical violence. So too will many other organisations that work with men involved in violence such as the National Network of Stopping Violence Serves.
“To suggest that somehow women can be deserving of violence is not only uninformed, it’s abhorrent.
“There is no conspiracy here. As men we must do everything we can to end this violence, and White Ribbon is a powerful tool to get that message out. Simply put, it’s men talking to men in ways that men understand.
Once more the Families Commission invites Michael Laws to join the hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders that demonstrate their support by wearing a white ribbon each November. Michael could join the hundreds of communities that organise White Ribbon Events to talk about, and stop violence from being hidden.
“Finally, Michael could join the thousands of men who pledge to never commit or condone violence against women as they sign pledges throughout the country.
“That would be real leadership,” says Mr Davidson.
Comments by Michael Laws Offensive.
“As a White Ribbon Ambassador and father who has lost a daughter to a family violence murder, I will not stay silent when I hear men saying it’s OK to be violent towards women,” says White Ribbon Ambassador David White.
Talkback host Michael Laws today made the suggestion that some women deserve to be abused when talking about the Pets as Pawns research by Women’s Refuge and RSPCA.
Laws said ‘do these women deserve to be abused almost, in fact invited, if that’s their reason for staying” (fear of pets being abused).
When I became a White Ribbon Ambassador I was asked to make the pledge that I would never commit or condone violent behaviour towards women and I take that pledge seriously. I emphasise that point in my recently released book Helen, the Helen Meads Tragedy.
I’m not willing to be silent while a well known radio personality suggests that women asks to be abused. No one deserves to be abused, killed or raped. All people have a right to live without violence.
My daughter Helen stayed in a violent and controlling relationship, and remained in that relationship for many reasons. She thought that she had a better chance to control the violence from inside the family home, thought she could better protect her daughters, and she stayed because she was more afraid of what he would do if she left, than what he did while she stayed.
Family violence is insidious and must never make excuses for it. We must call to account those in positions of responsibility and ensure that they do not perpetrate the myth that women ask for it whether it is rape, violence or murder.
I take part in White Ribbon because it is a campaign that aims to create a new norm. It is not about all men are bad. That is a pathetic misinterpretation of a campaign that encourages good behaviour when we know there is a lot of bad behaviour about.
I am proud to be a White Ribbon Ambassador in the company of men such as Ruben Wiki who played with controlled aggression on the field, but never took that aggression or violence back into his own home or relationships.
We need good examples set by men, and we invite men such as Michael Laws to put their own anger aside and join Ambassadors such as the Prime Minister in showing we are against violence – not making excuses for violence.
Mr Laws should walk a mile in my shoes to understand the need to save other parents from living with the consequences of family violence. That as a public figure he should take a more constructive approach about a crime that is rampant in NZ. That it is far better to voice our concerns on the dangers on family violence, no matter who commits it, and use any vehicle to communicate that message, than sit behind a microphone and make extraordinary comments that excuses such behaviour.