The Huffington Post spelt out that Australia's new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced a $100 million family safety package to bolster front line domestic violence services. This very week Mr Turnbull said three women and a baby died under such circumstances.
There is national alarm and the Prime Minister is right when he calls upon Australia to be the nation that honours and respects its women. Alcohol abuse is certainly in the fore front of this and giving out mobile phones is not a bad idea.
But this is not the same thing as young women putting themselves at risk, as reported in The Guardian, where a Roman Catholic Priest reportedly told students at a Melbourne primary school that if Jill Meagher (murdered in 2012) had been more 'faith filled' she would have been home and 'not walking down Sydney Road at 3am.'
Meagher was murdered by Adrian Bayley after a Melbourne night out in September 2012. He was sentenced to life in prison. Meagher's family were outraged by the report and said it was a "stupid thing to say". "Adrian Bayley was out there that night looking for a victim and found her," Joan Meagher, Jill Meagher's mother-in-law told the Irish Independent. "He was looking for anyone, it didn't matter to him who the person was."
Thomas Meagher, Jill's husband, put a statement on Facebook calling the comments "disgusting". "What a truly abhorrent lesson to teach a child," he wrote. "How a human being with such dangerous and misogynistic views can be allowed pass those messages onto children is depressing. Shameful."
The Priest has been censored by his Roman Catholic seniors and both the Church and the Priest have apologised under such a media glaze.
Now to the other side of the coin. As a Comment writer I am simply putting the two different perspectives on this whole issue in order for the reader to make a sensible and considered decision as to the weight of either.
This is the advice Susan Patton gives to young women. I wrote of this recently in an article on young women and self responsibility.
The do-gooders: Women should be allowed to get as 'drunk as a skunk', get 'stoned', 'give the come-on signal', 'play the field' – to this motley crew, it's the boys who have total responsibility. Full stop!
Listen to what Susan Patton actually said:
"Why, as a woman, do you not tell a man who is making advances you're not comfortable with, 'Stop. Leave'."
"women should stay 'sober enough' to get out of dangerous situations. We could teach burglars not to steal, but better advice: Lock your door."
My two previous articles on Susan Patton's sensible and down to earth comments for young women are: "Even common sense is getting a bad rap in the realm of women advising women in finding a husband" and "The happiest husbands"
There you have it as the broad brush of views -
One view: no women, regardless of how drunk as a skunk and regardless of how irresponsible she might be, should still be safe to walk down the street at 3.00am.
Another view: goodness me young women, take a long hard look at yourselves, be responsible, it's really in your ball court, and here are some really simple steps as a common sense guide.
Susan Patton's core mantra
Susan Patton has been around for a while now speaking of such matters. Our own Miranda Divine says a whole lot more besides in this common sense vein. (www.dailytelegraph.com.au) It's not rocket science.
There is a wider question that Susan Patton exclaims – that is the emphasis on women's needs are everywhere – advertising, merchandise, cosmetics, cars, clothing or lack of it, fulfillment, career, education, sexual appetite, holidays, sun tans, well-being, psychology, political correctness, best seats, right of way (supermarkets, lining up, banking, anything really).
"It's time the pendulum was stopped and given a nudge in the other direction". She has some very practical suggestions: "Welcome your husband home with a smile asking him not to fix something, but to genuinely express your appreciation (that he comes home at all – as it were)."
Susan Patton gives out some common sense - Girls, wake up! Don't put yourself in stupid situations, how about a bit of sensible positioning! You have options - getting under the weather (drunk) or stoned (drugs) is entirely in your court. It's your responsibility to look after yourselves.
Perhaps someone is finally listening. Did you notice this year's Father's Day was huge – massive publicity, enormous commentary on the importance of fathers .....
Our nation's young people are regularly out and about 'til the small hours after a Friday and Saturday night out. Parents endlessly badger their young people about road safely, security amongst friends, don't walk alone, be careful what you consume .... on and on and on.
We read of youth death weekend after weekend somewhere across the nation - road tragedy, drug overdoses, random king hits, accidents .... Wrapping our nation's young people in cotton wool isn't a solution either and education is only effective while a young person is sober.
Herein lies the issue. Sensible, sound of mind, good character, bright and splendid young people with a future as bright as the dawn - gets a few drinks in them or a peer convinces them into taking some sort of substance - and all that wisdom flies away. The more of 'whatever' they take, the further and further distant all that wisdom becomes.
Should we as a society recognise this and insist the nation (Governments) put in place agencies such as the Red Frogs across the nation to ensure young people get home safe. Would this ignore personal responsibility? Where is the line drawn?
The Scriptures are surprisingly flexible – on the one hand the 10 Commandments are clear about obeying your mother and father (and therefore the implications of responsibility and strictness), yet on the other hand we see where Paul clashed with Peter over circumcision (the implication that freedom is the new paradigm).
The reality is that all of us are free to make mistakes (and hopefully live to tell the tale) and learn - that's Bible 101. Death is final, no second chance. Every parent prays for their young person to come home safely, even if they are in another city or country. Our son lived in the UK for 7 years. We had three daughters, now all professional women. Our prayers were constant. We stayed up late for them to arrive home safely.
There is another side - one of our young writers recently told me of a situation where a 12 year old girl on a sleep over was sexually assaulted by the father in the home. There is hardly any word that can be said to alleviate such trauma and total horrendous inconsolable grief.
Obviously we cannot lock up all women or all men, the very best we can do as parents is to do the best we can, and try to ensure all the steps are in place. Ask any parent! Now we have grand parent concerns about our grand children.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html