'How is that any different?' Fitness guru Michelle Bridges argues domestic violence against men 'is just as important' as the abuse of women
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
One in Three Campaign

Fitness guru Michelle Bridges has weighed in on Australia’s domestic violence crisis, arguing that violence against men should be taken just as seriously as abuse on female victims.

On Tuesday morning while appearing on Channel 10 morning show 'Studio 10' the Biggest Loser trainer took part in a panel discussion on female perpetrators of domestic violence.

The presenters discussed a viral video experiment, which found bystanders are more likely to intervene if a man slaps a woman in public than if a woman strikes her male partner.

When host Jessica Rowe pointed out that one woman dies every week in Australia at the hands of her partner, Michelle argued that the victim’s gender is unimportant.

‘I think it's violence against humanity, whether it's a man or a woman, when you see something like that,’ Michelle told her co-panelists.

‘It's jarring and I'd like to think that I would step in even if it's a man hitting a guy, I think that we need to discuss this topic with a more open-minded forum.

She argued that the domestic violence crisis needs to step back and focus on violence as a whole, including when a man or woman strikes a man.

‘I think it’s about all violence – all violence, whether it’s violence against children, women, men, animals,' she said. 

However, presenters Jessica Rowe and Joe Hildebrand both argued that the ‘crisis’ Australia is facing is violence against women and children, particularly at the hands of their partners and fathers, and it can be ‘distracting’ to focus on other less prominent issues, such as the less frequent circumstances in which women are the perpetrators.

This year alone it's understood at least 76 women have been killed by their male partners, according to Counting Dead Women.

When Joe Hildebrand argued that violence against men is ‘so rare compared to the amount of violence that men heap upon women’, Michelle interjected: ‘does that make it any less important?’

Joe shocked his co-panellists by confessing ‘instinctively I feel repulsed by (watching) the man hit the woman but did not have as visceral a reaction from watching the woman hitting the man'.

‘I don’t understand, how is that any different just because there’s a woman giving the violence than a man giving the violence?’ probed Michelle.

‘I suppose it’s because men are physically stronger than women,’ Joe responded, to which the personal trainer argued: ‘not in every instance!’

‘One woman will die every week in Australia at the hands of her partner so sometimes we can muddy the issue by saying we don’t look at the violence of women against men enough,’ said Jessica.

Joe argued that focusing on domestic violence against men can be ‘distracting’ when ‘it is so rare compared to the amount of violence than men heap upon women.’

‘We do need to face the fact that overwhelmingly men are the greatest perpetrators of violence against women and often children as well,’ said Joe.

‘I know people are right in saying there are mothers who kill their children too and that is, of course, unspeakably terribly but we need to address this problem.

‘It’s clearly a big problem and it’s a problem which puts a lot of other problems in the shade.’  


Article originally appeared on One in Three Campaign (http://www.oneinthree.com.au/).
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