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“These Things Happen”: No They Don’t, Pauline, Hannah Clarke Didn’t Cause Her Own Murder

Pauline Hanson is back at it again and being a pest.

Who would’ve thought that Pauline Hanson could get any more reprehensible? Well, she has appeared on breakfast television (once again) to spill toxic waste all over our morning cereal, passing off Hannah Clarke’s murder as a thing that just “happens”.

One Nation’s leader appeared on The Today Show (of-fucking-course) and was asked for her opinion on whether Bettina Arndt should be stripped of her Order of Australia medal.

Arndt came under (valid) criticism after politicising Hannah Clarke and her children’s death on Twitter; now, her OA is under review. And Hanson is firmly on Arndt’s side.

The family – Hannah, Laianah (6), Aaliyah (4), and Trey (3) – were brutally killed last Wednesday by  Hannah’s estranged husband (and the children’s father). He ambushed their morning school-run, doused them in petrol and set the car alight. The children died at the scene, Hannah in hospital, their murderer of self-inflicted wounds.

Despite labeling the crime as “horrendous”, Hanson says she doesn’t us to “bastardise all men, or all women” (don’t forget female murderers).

Why? Because “these things happen.”

In her usual inarticulate rant style, Hanson said that the past week of news has been filled with this “horrific tragedy” but “we don’t hear much about it when a woman has murdered her children.”

“A lot of people are driven to this [domestic violence], to do these acts for one reason or another,” she said.

The ‘driven to it’ argument is echoed by Arndt’s tweets on the Clarke family murder. Arndt congratulated Queensland police for “awaiting proper evidence, including the possibility that Rowan Baxter might have been ‘driven too far’.”

Hanson repeated Arndt’s sentiments in a Facebook post, saying police need to investigate why Baxter, with a history of domestic violence, was pushed to commit such a “treacherous” crime.

Both women’s comments come after a Queensland police officer was stood down after telling reporters they would investigate if Hannah Clarke’s murderer was “driven too far”.

But do you want to know what’s being driven too far? This ridiculous and toxic narrative. There’s a name for it: victim-blaming. And it’s not okay.

Abusers are not driven too far. Ever.

Domestic violence is about power – always has been, always will be. This urge for power comes from a socially costructed and upheld gender imbalance.

And this gender imbalance stems from toxic gender-roles and expectations (fuck it, I’ll say it: toxic masculinity). It comes from men and women being conditioned to fulfill heteronormative gender ideals. Victims don’t push their abusers to do anything.

Tell me, why else would your partner control your social life? Forbid you from seeing your friends and family (like Hannah’s ex-husband did to her and her brother).

Don’t tell me that they interrogate your purchasing habits because they’re the best with money. Why would they demean you, criticise you, and fill your head with doubt?

And why should your partner ever lay a hand on you?

I refuse to believe that a victim pushes their abuser to do those things.

 

“Oh, but women are abusers too.” Yes, they can be. But women are disproportionately affected by domestic and sexual violence. And men disproportionately make up the percentage of abusers.

According to Our Watch Australia, one woman is murdered every week by her current or former partner. And, White Ribbon reports that around 95% of all victims of violence experience violence from a male (no matter their gender).

Sure, not all men, but it’s a whole lot of them.

And saying that a domestic abuser (and/or murderer) was driven too far perpetuates the myth that the victim is actually at fault. It feeds the lie that somehow, survivors of domestic violence deserve their abuse. And that’s absolutely not okay.

I’m sick of hearing that abusers were “driven” to violence – victims like Hannah Clarke don’t provoke their abuse.

Hannah Clarke did not kill her children, her ex-husband did. So stop saying he was ‘driven’ to do it.

If you or anyone you know needs help:

Image Sources: Twitter (LGBTI Rights)

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