I just came across this Sydney v Melbourne infographic and it reminded me of the surprised faces on the weekend when I told my Melbourne friends this is my gypsy year!
I’ve decided to split my year between Sydney and Melbourne, housesitting, working (and of course eating).
It more or less just happened. I headed over to Sydney in mid-December without a return flight and had the best time I’ve had in Sydney for a long time. And I didn’t return until the end of January. It’s my original home town and as much as Melbourne is home to me now, there are anchors in Sydney which make me feel great – like my primary school bestie and her quickly growing offspring – who can now say ‘Aunty Louise’ and all kinds of fantastic things… mostly about lego ninjas, but nonetheless. Being around people who have known me for a long, long time is lovely. And there’s a pause in my somewhat crazy (albeit wonderful) Melbourne schedule.
It’s perhaps a little collaborative consumption exercise too. And also a good disruptor – although I’m still crazy busy, changing cities regularly does make you consider your time more.
So far my only drawbacks have been:
- falling in love with a housesit Kelpie who I miss daily
- leaving some dry cleaning in Sydney (no biggie… I’ll be back soon enough)
- realising how much I missed having my shoes in one place (seriously. I’m not proud)
As for the old Sydney v Melbourne… I’ll leave that to others to decide…
This is a piece I’ve been thinking about writing for weeks. Perhaps longer, perhaps all of my adult life. Which might have started at about 12 (although this is highly arguable).
I’ve not been sexually assaulted. I’ve never been hit as an adult. And I count myself very, very lucky.
But I know friends and family who have been on the receiving (and giving) end of domestic violence. They haven’t reported. And I understand why.
Simply writing the above sentence – “But I know friends and family who have been on the receiving (and giving) end of domestic violence,” will potentially alienate me from some of my family. I’ve thought and over-thought the consequences. I’ve considered what a curse some might find it to be a friend or relative of a writer. This piece will spark some hurt perhaps. I’m not happy about that. It might start rumours. But, perhaps interestingly, no finger-pointing.
I’ve been thinking about why that is. Why so, so many people, not only victims and perpetrators, not only mothers and fathers, but siblings, mates, cops, military, GPs, family, friends and neighbours know about domestic violence incidents. They know about sexual assaults. They know about people, women, men and children, getting bashed and hit and raped and threatened and their lives made miseries.
But we do nothing.
People who I’ve spoken to have said different things. My Mum said, “He hasn’t hit me that many times,” as if that made it ok.
A friend who was sexually assaulted before she knew what that meant has never reported because she thinks it would destroy her parents.
A friend assaulted by a colleague has seen him protected and women who have reported him demoted.
There is never a good time to report sexual assault. A child who grows into an adult fears hurting their parents, their grandparents, their own children, tearing a family apart. An adult fears hurting their partner. Many victims rely on perpetrators financially.
So, so many victims feel that reporting wouldn’t change anything except hurting people who care for them, and destroying families or friendships. I suspect they also feel that it will change the way people think of them.
So, so many victims blame themselves, or (quite rightly) expect that if they come out, the first person who will be questioned will be them – what were they wearing? Were they flirting? Did they ‘ask for it’? Does one partner in a marriage have a right to deny the other sex? As if these were ever excuses for assaulting someone.
As a result, offenders go free. People who are assaulted often become victims or perpetrators. It’s a vicious cycle operating at every level of our community.
What disturbs me is that many perpetrators will keep offending so long as no one stands up. So long as victims feel that reporting is more painful and has less gains than staying silent, perpetrators will keep offending. And some perpetrators will become worse and worse offenders. Until someone is killed. And then society bemoans how this monster could walk amongst us – when we protect people who show all the signs of growing into this monster every day.
Perhaps we created them in the first place by not protecting them as a child.
I don’t have an answer. I’ve been part of hiding this kind of behaviour.
I think that as a community if we can agree to make victim’s lives better if they report than if they don’t that would help. I think if we promise to protect them that would help. I think we can promise not to judge them for their clothes or character – but simply agree that everyone has the right not to be assaulted or sexually assaulted.
I think we perhaps need to step back and say that although humans are just animals, we choose to evolve and that hitting, bashing, raping and evoking fear to control people aren’t accepted behaviours anymore.
We might think they haven’t been for a long time. But the fact that we protect people who perpetrate this behaviour says otherwise. The message our children and young people get is that they’re better off keeping quiet. That being assaulted is something to be ashamed of and hidden. The message we send perpetrators is that they will get away with it.
The people who are reporting assaults who are on my radar are younger people. People who perhaps don’t consider the huge risk to their career or reputation. I commend them. And I am heartbroken that women my age have been conditioned to think reporting isn’t worth it. At the end of the day I believe not reporting enables the perpetrator to continue their behaviour. If not with you, with the next person.
That said, if I was choosing between my perceived safety, my (thus far imaginary) partner’s peace of mind and my (completely falsified potential future) children’s lifestyle. With the current state of social stigma and inequity I honestly don’t know what I’d do.
I think perhaps we need:
- to accept that we have a real problem here. Women, men and children of all walks of life are being assaulted. And assaulting.
- to stop asking victims if somehow they asked for it – even just a little bit. No one asks to be assaulted.
- to agree that the benefits of reporting, and dealing with assaults, outweigh the benefits of hiding them – and make that true.
I’d love your thoughts on how to deal with this.
What would you do if you were assaulted in the workplace or at home? Would you report? Would you trust the systems in place? Would you be prepared to tell your family?
There are no right answers and I suspect we’re at a stage where many people would say no – but from there we can work out what needs to happen to change that. If you think that’s the direction we should be heading?
I’m still doing it in a dress!
Head on over to www.doitinadress.com/loupardi for more ridiculous images.
I’m so thrilled to say I’ve met my Do it in a Dress target – to send one girl to school – but the more the better – so here’s a little vogue in a dress from last night’s Melbourne Media Makers catch up!
If you’d like to contribute to sending a girl in Sierra Leone to school – and changing the world, one girl at a time, the site is: www.doitinadress.com/loupardi
Life has been slightly crazy busy – just flying by to say I’m taking part in Do It In a Dress!
It’s an amazing campaign to raise money to send girls in Africa to school. It’s the brainchild of fabulous Melburnian Chantelle Baxter.
My fundraising page is at: http://www.doitinadress.com/loupardi
There are many more ridiculous pics to come…
My Business Partner is leavin’ this week to eat around China… and it forced me to finally do my list of Hong Kong restaurants. I’ve meant to do a post here forever, so until that happens, here’s a very rough list (clearly I couldn’t stop at 5!). I’ve only spent a little bit of time (x2) in Hong Kong and use my Michelin guide like a bible… so love to hear your tips.
Hong Kong places to go
1. Lung King Heen at the Four Seasons – more $ than most but amazing – leave some time to get through it all – 3 michelin star
2. Yard Bird for snacks and drinks one night – run by americans – awesome.
3. Che’s Wan Chai for pork buns and custard tarts – not fancy – and in an office bld, but tasty – I lunched
4. Din Tai Fung – fast… good shanghai dumpling – go watch the chefs… like maccas but… not
5. If you are in TST and go to the shoe library – the cafe there is pretty good – chef is ex-Yard Bird
6. Olala Wan Chai is nothing special but is my favourite. Good eavesdropping on the ex pats to be had. and chicken soup and OHMYGODMANGOSPONGECAKE
7. I like Lok Cha and wish I had seen the music concert thingy – is all vege. Great radish cake – beautiful tea ceremonies – and there’s a 1978 oolong which rocks. Maybe something about a phoenix in the name too. http://www.lockcha.com/teahouse/
Peeps rave about Yellow Door but you gotta book ahead with a group and I haven’t been.
Peeps say Luk Yu – most traditional blah blah… I say meh.
I haven’t been to Linguini Fini but chatted to them and they seem lovely.
If you’ve seen In the mood for love or are curious as to just how lax hygiene standards are, try Goldfinch.
Not Felix. If you are in TST, there’s a jazz bar called Ned Kelly which is worth seeing if only because it’s so freaking weird. In an excellent way.