Domestic ViolenceNews

‘You’re still a second-class citizen’

Women around the world are second-class citizens. Yeah that’s tough to say and it’s even tougher to hear but do you know how I know it’s true? Because women are still having to protest to get their voices heard.

Protesters at the rally in support of domestic violence leave. Photo: Lyn Turnbull

Protesters at the rally in support of domestic violence leave. Photo: Lyn Turnbull

Since the days of Dora Coates and Edith Cowan women have had to take to the streets to be heard, to be recognised and to be counted, and modern-day Australia doesn’t seem to have come very far since then. It’s frustrating and it feels like we go one step forwards and then two steps back.

Recently in Sydney we saw yet another important rally asking – no, begging – our community, our society and our government to recognise the need for domestic violence leave. Domestic violence leave is paid leave from your job should you be a victim of domestic violence, to enable attendance at court cases, counselling, medical appointments or for moving house while the perpetrator isn’t home. These are complicated and necessary results of violence and many people end up losing their jobs while trying to keep themselves and their families safe. The ALP recently announced their platform at the next state election to introduce paid domestic violence leave because let’s face it, this can’t wait.

Representatives in attendance at the rally included the Teachers Federation and the CPSU as well as prominent “No Profit from Rape” activist Natalie Lang, who gave an impassioned speech. We hope the message didn’t fall on deaf ears, as no mainstream media seems to have covered the event, which is also a sad indictment of our current situation in Australia.

Silent protesters at DV leave rally. Photo: Lyn Turnbull

Silent protesters at DV leave rally. Photo: Lyn Turnbull

Chillingly there were protesters who came dressed as the women from Margaret Atwood’s book The Handmaid’s Tale. Atwood’s dystopian look at the future is actually becoming a possible reality. Because we are, in fact, second-class citizens. Yeah, we have the vote but it means very little when we sit in the shadow of the towering patriarchy.

Women dead in October: 1

Women dead in 2017 so far: 39




 If you feel you need to find somewhere safe, Jan can be contacted on 02 9599 3217 or email at

  • If you or somebody you know is in immediate danger, call 000 now.
  • 1800 RESPECT is a 24-hour hotline for any Australian who has experienced, or is at risk of, family and domestic violence. Call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) or visit
  • Safe Steps is a 24-hour family violence response centre. Call 1800 015 188 or visit
  • Lifeline provides all Australians with access to 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention services. Call 13 11 14 or visit
  • Relationships Australia provides support services for individuals, families and communities. Call 1300 364 277 or visit

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