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Opinion/Commentary

Queensland paper condemned over domestic violence ‘joke’

Image: Pixaby

TW: domestic violence

A regional Queensland newsletter has been condemned for publishing a ‘joke’ about domestic violence.

Murgon Moments published the joke in its August monthly newsletter.

I won’t go into detail on what the joke was. I’ll just say that implied that domestic violence victims should just keep their mouths shut.

Yeaaah. How anyone thought tbat was a ‘joke’ worth publishing I’ll never know.

Not surprisingly, outrage has been swift. Queensland’s Attorney – General and Women’s Minister, Shannon Fentiman expressed her outrage on social media on Wednesday.

…[it’s] a stark reminder of just how far we still have to go. Already this month, it has been reported that several women have lost their lives due to family violence — that’s just in Queensland alone.

Queensland’s Attorney – General Shann9n Fentiman

Numerous people commented their agreement with Fentiman’s criticism. Commenters said the ‘joke’ was “horrific and unacceptable”. Another commenter exclaimed:

Are you kidding!!???? It wasn’t funny or appropriate in 1963, let alone today. That’s a disgrace.

Another commented:

Appalled and ashamed. My heart goes out to every woman who has read this and had their abuse belittled like this.

Sexual consent activist, Chanel Contos shared Fentiman’s post on Instagram stories. She wrote:

[it’s] genuinely disgusting that an Australian newspaper would publish this.

Sexual consent activist, Chanel Contos

On Thursday, Fentimore confirmed that a complaint against Murgon Moments had been lodged to the Australian Press Council.

Publisher pulls joke and ‘apologises’

I know I’m using inverted commas a lot in this post, but it’s warranted. In response to the outrage, Murgon Moments’ publisher has pulled the ‘joke’ from the website and has offered an ‘apology‘. If you can call it that.

In a now – deleted post, Editor, Leo Geraghty wrote:

To my valued readers, I am sorry you found it offensive. Perhaps it might be better to remove all the snippets that used to be classed as jokes from the Murgon Moments which I have voluntary done for the last 190 issues.

Perhaps doing the copy for print at one o’clock in the morning, I should have been more careful to what I was including instead of including jokes from the 2007 edition.

Leo Geraghty

I find it ironic that Geraghty opened the apology with a common gaslighting statement (“I’m sorry you…”). I’m not saying Geraghty meant to. Just an observation.

Domestic violence is NEVER a joke

Needless to say, donestic violence is never, ever funny. It wasn’t funny in 2007 and isn’t now.

Domestic violence is such a serious issue. According to Australian Institute of Health and Wellness, around 1 in 16 men and 1 in 6 women over the age of fifteen have experienced partner violence.

In 2016, the PSS (Personal Safety Statistics) revealed that 3.6 million Australian adults reported experiencing some form of domestic violence. In more than ten per cent of cases (11.8%), the perpetrator was a partner.

Final point: domestic violence is NEVER the victim’s fault. They shouldn’t just keep quiet if they’re being abused.

To all victims and survivors of abuse, my heart goes out to you. I’m so sorry for the trauma you’ve suffered. I’m sorry for those who’ve had old wounds open because of this story. I genuinely hope you find peace and the support you need.

If you’re in Australia and need help, you can contact 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732).

If you or someone you love is in danger, call 000 (or your national emergency number).