Consider these images from contemporary Australia:

A child holds high a sign urging beheading of anyone disrespecting the “Prophet Muhammad”.

An affluent older man, nationally known as a radio commentator and former Prime Ministerial speech writer, orates in front of a crowd members of which held signs such as ‘Ditch the Witch’ and much worse, having previously told his radio audience that the Prime Minister of Australia should be “taken out to sea, put into a sack with a few Besser blocks, and dumped into the sea”.

Both are promoting violence, appallingly violent aggression against persons with whom they disagree. Is the child (or the individual who wrote the sign and gave it to the child), more to be blamed than the opinion leader who uses his public platform to encourage his audience to violence?

In the case of the violent demonstration at which the child was present, women leaders in the Muslim community of Sydney have stepped in to urge calm , ”The women are the ones who are often the most level-headed,” said Silma Ihram, project manager and former president of the Australian Muslim Women’s Association. ”Men have to defend the honour and women are, like, ‘hold on’.”

But the airwaves, print media, and social networking sites are alive with misogyny.

Anne Summers recently made an important speech in which she lists the many instances of sexist, violent rantings against the Prime Minister – there are two versions of her speech on her web-site, one ‘plain vanilla’, the other with the comprehensive citations – read that only if you have a strong stomach. Find both at www.annesummers.com.au

More recently, there has been a spectacular response on the Twitterverse…. click this link for a full copy of the report – JUST_WHO_IS_WRECKING_THE_JOINT_Marie_Coleman final

In addition, “A switch in time” restoring respect to Australian Politics by Mary Crooks, Victorian Women’s Trust – A Switch in Time ALL

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