In a week when a woman was murdered while doing her job for doing her job; in a week the AFL has chosen to highlight the scourge of domestic violence against women, violence which has seen at least 30 women murdered in Australia this year; in a week where the AFL has finally announced the beginning of a women’s league; I really should have known better.
I should have realised that joking about killing a woman I dislike for the way she does her job is wrong. Not only wrong but deeply offensive. Not only offensive but a form of violence itself. A form of violence calculated to keep women from speaking out, from joining in, from doing their jobs without fear of retribution. I should have understood that these words help to entrench and reinforce the barriers to women who are knowledgable and interested in participating in the wider AFL community.
I should have understood that all the women who so passionately celebrated the beginning of formal women’s participation in the sport now feel hurt and betrayed. That hearing this kind of thing makes them again understand that they aren’t part of the boy’s club which dominates AFL.
I should have realised that casually joking about violence against women is part of the pattern which makes men who see me and my mates as idols believe that there is nothing wrong with it. That it is acceptable to hurt women when they displease us. That this is exactly the culture that leads to the proliferation of violence and hate towards women.
I should have known that as a prominent man, what I say will be vigorously and even threateningly defended by other men when women say how it hurts, upsets and scares them, and I should have known to stop.
As a grown adult man, I should know that “joking” about violence against anyone is unacceptable and that “joking” about violence against a specific women is completely appalling.
I am profoundly sorry. I have thought about what I have said and I understand how it is upsetting to women. I understand how it encourages a culture of violence. I know that it is not an acceptable way to speak or behave.
I deeply regret that I said it. Violence against women is not acceptable, joking about it isn’t funny.
INSTEAD WE WILL PROBABLY GET
I regret it if what I said offended anyone and I am sorry they took offence.