Yet, I am allowed to hate dogs…

Dear Reader,

I do not hate men… Frankly, it is a ludicrous suggestion, I actally do not hate anyone. That said, there are A LOT of people that I will not spend my precious energy on. There are also people who I trust about as far as I can lever the moon. This is a venn diagram with a fair amount of crossover. But, reader, you do not know me, so I will forgive your ignorance as to my likes and dislikes. After all, we aren’t friends… if we were you wouldn’t be making assumptions about me.

More ludicrous than the suggestion that I hate men, is the suggestion that I would be out of line in doing so. Especially if you consider that since the age of 15, two out of five women (this is 41% of us) have experienced male perpetrated violence, (ABS 2013). After all, is maintaining distance, and not liking dangerous things not something we teach our children to do?

We tell our children not to play with spiders. We buy harmful poison sprays to kill these spiders. We will fill the air in our homes with poison to purge them of arachnids. We do so knowing that the sprays we use are more harmful to kid’s than the feared yet completely non-venomous huntsman spider.

Spiders have not however, killed anyone in Australia since 1979.

Six whole years before this writer was even born.

In fact, hating spider’s is considered far more normal than liking them – or even tolerating them… they are dangerous after all. A spider could kill you. Spiders have not however, killed anyone in Australia since 1979. This was six whole years before I was born. If I told a date I hated spiders, he would most likely agree with me. If I said on this same date that I loved spider’s – I suspect the gentleman opposite me would start to wonder if I was normal.

When playing in the park, we tell our children not to touch strange dogs. This is good parenting. After all, dogs are dangerous. Many people like them, but even avid dog lovers acknowledge the risks posed by untrained dogs. It is acceptable to say, ‘I am afraid of dogs, they are dangerous, you never know if one might bite or attack a kid.’ I could also explain that a friend of mine lost her niece in a pitbull attack. I could also tell you that as a kid I saw dogs attack and kill our sheep – because their owners failed to contain them. Those sheep were our food. When we lost sheep, that effectively meant my Mum and Dad had to work more, and stretch a thin budget thinner to compensate for this loss. 

My fear of dogs however legitimate is arguably disproportionate to the actual risk dogs pose to both my son’s and my personal safety. The risk is, statistically speaking, (although tragic), rather small. Between July 2000 and November 2010, 9 women were killed by dogs in Australia, (NCIS, 2011). Only nine, but, a fear or, or even a hatred of dogs is considered acceptable – even sensible.

We accept the risk dogs pose as a nation. We have even legislated whether or not certain kinds of dogs can be bred, sold or kept. Pitbulls are dangerous, and it is illegal to breed them. This is a good thing. Banning the breeding and sale of this type of dog is considered a sensible response by legislators in order to keep us safe. This is however limiting the breeding of just one type of dog, one breed of the animal that has killed 9 women and 7 children over a ten year period. 

With this in mind I ask you, why then is it less acceptable for a woman to hate and or be scared of all men? After all, 41% of women in Australia are hurt by men at some point. Can you imagine what we would do if 41% of women – or heaven forbid 41% of men – were hurt by any other animal or disease? I dare say we would declare a national emergency.

Yet we have not done so. In 2020, 56 women were killed by men – a rate of more than one per week. This suggests that men are more dangerous to women than either dogs or spiders. But, we are not allowed to suggest men are dangerous. In 2019, 63 women were killed. In 2018, it was 71. In 2017 men killed 55 Australian women. 

Now it is 2021, and the Nation’s Prime Minister has refused to hold rapists within his office to account. Never before has the disregard for the safety of women been so blatantly and publicly expressed by those in power than now. Frankly, women continuing to welcome men into our homes and lives seems to be a greater sign of insanity than deciding we don’t want to play roulette with you anymore.

Considering the risks that having men around pose to women, the fact that we all haven’t drawn a line in the sand and saying ‘Y’all have collectively proven yourself to be high risk,’ is remarkable. I think it speaks to the immense patience and strength of women. Or perhaps it just speaks to the dismal failure of our legal systems to hold violent men to account, which takes options from women. Do women continue to allow men a place at our tables (the tables that are usually set by women, and hold food cooked by women, and will later likely be cleaned by the women) because we are resilient or patient? Or does this just speak to the lack of power women have in this country which is supposed to offer equality.

If a toy hurt 41% of the children who played with it – we would not be allowed to sell it.

If a 41% of a particular model of car had a mechanical issue, they would be recalled and their manufacturer shut down. If 41% of patients were hurt by their doctors, we would be having an overhaul of the entire medical system. While some children are hurt by toys, some cars fail, and some patients are hurt by their doctors – these risks are tiny in comparison to the risk women (and their children) face at the hands of the men around them.

At present, in Australia, men pose one of the greatest risks to women’s wellbeing. This is a male problem. Women cannot fix it. Men are solely responsible for the actions of men. 

When so many women are being hurt, I do not have the time, energy or desire to comfort the ‘innocent’ men with words like ‘I know it isn’t all of you.’ 

You all benefit from a system that refuses to keep women safe, so you are all responsible for the damage caused by it. 

If my friend steals a bottle of vodka, and I drink it with her, I may not be a thief but I still participated in a crime. 

Now, I do not hate men. I do however grow tired of ‘man hater’ being hurled at me in insult or a decoy whenever I point out the failings of men as a species. If I say something like ‘it is not fair that women risk being raped should they walk at night,’ this does not say ‘I hate men.’ If you do not like that the statement needs to be made – step up and make sure your mates are accountable. How dare you attempt to discredit me, derail the discussion and make it about you. 

I do not hate men, but if I did, I wouldn’t apologise for it. Statistically, if men were dogs…it would be illegal to breed them., it would be illegal to keep you 

No, I do not hate men… But I would not apologise if I did.

Published by Josie Young

Josie Young is a writer, an activist and a lover of food, stories and stormy ocean skies. Previously a community project manager, Josie is also a full time mother and a free lance ghost and feature writer and editor. Josie Young holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Public Policy (2007), a Masters of International and Community Development (2009) and a Masters of Humanitarian Assistance (2017).

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