A Step Backwards For Women’s Liberation

by on 20 January, 2016


Bianca Talbot explains why our immigration policy should not come at the expense of women’s liberation:

There has been an overwhelming amount of quiet in our mainstream media in the wake of the Cologne attacks in Germany on New Year’s Eve. To add fuel to the fire, news has come out about similar mass attacks elsewhere, in Finland, Austria, Switzerland and Sweden—a country which is hailed for making gender equality one of the cornerstones of its society, yet failed to report similar attacks by recent immigrants at a music festival.

In contrast to what we would expect from civilised Western societies, German authorities and journalists maintained a deathly silence over the issue, with police publicly stating they experienced a ‘largely peaceful’ and ‘relaxed’ night. It was only when hundreds of German women protested outside of the Cologne Cathedral that light was finally shone on the attacks which the German Justice Minister Keiko Maas described as being seemingly ‘coordinated or prepared’. Over 600 German women have since come out with statements concerning assaults on that same night.

This flies squarely in the face of the very women’s liberation movement generations before us fought so hard for. Something is profoundly wrong if women in societies similar to our own are being assaulted en masse, in public. Cologne’s group of 1000 attackers have been identified as being mostly of Middle Eastern and North African appearance, but these details were kept quiet over fears of fuelling anti-foreigner sentiment amidst the current migrant crisis.

The relevant Arabic phrase here is Taharrush gamea, which refers to a type of sexual assault and harassment involving large groups of men against women in public spaces. Indeed, this is what occurred in the Egyptian Tahrir Square revolution in 2011, when groups of young men surrounded women, including the British journalist Natasha Smith, and violently assaulted them.

The World Economic Forum has published a Global Gender Gap Report in 2014 in which all the bottom countries on the list are Muslim-majority nations from North Africa and the Middle East: Yemen, Pakistan, Chad, Syria, Mali and Iran. This should serve as a warning to Australia. These are the countries of which we are obtaining the majority of our asylum seekers from. There is no doubt that a culture of female subjugation will travel with them as well.

With the arrival of refugees from these parts of the world, a dialogue needs to be had regarding how we are to address this issue. In this context, of course, advocating for more assimilation is completely acceptable when it results in further enhancing the dignity of women.

While compassion needs to be displayed towards those that are in need of safety, we should not forget the well-being of the women within our own community.

Unfortunately, however, today’s Western feminists have been for too long concerned with their own victimhood to trouble themselves with the plight of women elsewhere. But while we begin to import those seemingly distant troubles into our own homes, they will no longer have a choice but to address these issues.

Naturally, the type of cultural relativism that is normally embraced by today’s feminism will no longer have a leg to stand on now that its incompatibility with our standard of women’s rights is coming to light. Above all, the current fetishizing of multiculturalism cannot be maintained at the expense of Australian women’s health and safety. Now is the time to end the silence and start discussing how we are to best address the integration of newcomers into our country.

Bianca Talbot is a 4th year Law and Politics student at Murdoch University who is passionate about jurisprudence and constitutional law. She is also the current secretary of WALTA and a proud Mannkal Scholar. 


3 thoughts on “A Step Backwards For Women’s Liberation

  1. Thankyou for an excellent article Bianca. You have embarked on a long fight, not least against many members of the Liberal Party. Please keep going.

  2. I haven’t read such nonsense since Ali Baba and the 40 thieves. More concerning is that the internet and corporate media is rife with such fiction and open racism.

    Historically there is nothing new in this trope being deployed, e.g. justifying the bombing in Afghanistan as a necessity to liberate Afghani women from Islamic oppression, or, in the 1980s, when well-known Christian feminists such as Gerda Weiler and Christa Mulack intimated that Judaism, as a religion, was responsible for having introduced patriarchy into the West and justified sexual violence against women.

    While there are reports of some 700 odd complaints being made to police, it seems the first arrest in connection with the reports was made a few days ago. An Algerian man is charged with groping and stealing a mobile phone. The reports don’t tell us if the “Algerian man” is a recent arrival to Germany (read refugee) or a German citizen?

    Some facts:
    1. A 2014 Eu Survey of sexual and violent abuse in Germany, as elsewhere ,(http://fra.europa.eu/sites/default/files/fra-2014-vaw-survey-main-results-apr14_en.pdf ), do not involve Muslims or migrants. Of the 10,000 German women interviewed, 37 percent said that they had experienced at least one form of physical attack or threat of violence by a partner or a non-partner. Those interviewed most often implicate men who are known to them: partners, fathers, relatives, friends, or bosses.

    2.At least one in every three women, or up to one billion women worldwide, have been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in their lifetimes. Usually, the abuser is a member of her own family or someone known to her (L Heise, M Ellsberg, M Gottemoeller, 1999).

    3. In the USA, a woman is battered, usually by her husband/partner, every 15 seconds (UN Study on the World’s Women, 2000).

    4. In Kenya more than one woman a week was reportedly killed by her male partner (Joni Seager, 2003).

    5. About two women per week are killed by their partners in the United Kingdom (Joni Seager, 2003).

    6. In Spain one woman every five days was killed by her male partner in 2000 (Joni Seager, The Atlas of Women).

    7. In the Russian Federation 36,000 women are beaten on a daily basis by their husband or partner, according to Russian non-governmental organizations (OMCT 2003).

    I am prepared to bet London that any breakdown of the statistics will reveal a cross-section of religions and race groups and perhaps even some female perpetrators. If you want to fight the war against sexual and violence against women, a good start would be to research your own backyard.


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