Miranda Devine column prompts domestic violence survivors to share #UnsuitableWomen stories

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Jenny Noyes

"There are a number of significant challenges. There are still many stories that aren't being told," writes Moo Baulch.

"There are a number of significant challenges. There are still many stories that aren't being told," writes Moo Baulch. Photo: Stocksy

What would a Sunday morning be without at bit of coffee-spitting over the Telegraph's opinion pages? 

Miranda Devine - who just last week was handed her fourth Ernie Award for enabling sexism - has done it again with a column that's sure to make her a contender for a fifth award next year. In it, she denies that sexism or disrespect plays any role in violence against women (despite referring to male 'emasculation' as a factor...). Rather, poverty is the cause. But not just poverty. It's poverty and women abusing welfare that causes this cycle of violence. 

"If you want to break the cycle of violence," Devine writes, "end the welfare incentive for unsuitable women to keep having children to a string of feckless men."

Ah. So simple. Why didn't we think of that?

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The truth is, poverty, disempowerment, mental illness and drug abuse are always going to be a exacerbating factors in these sorts of crimes. But while domestic violence is often concentrated in the most disadvantaged communities, it exists across the spectrum. That's a fact.

People who actually work on the frontlines all agree that the one common factor across the board in domestic violence is men who see themselves as the head of the family, seeking to control women through a whole variety of abuse. 

Devine is right about one thing: simply focussing on raising awareness is not enough to stop the violence that men are inflicting on women right now. 

But to suggest that it's the victims' fault for having the audacity to fall in love and raise a family while poor? That financial assistance to families in need should be taken away, as if that would fix this issue? It's not just offensive - it's extraordinarily damaging. 

Damage aside, there was one positive to come out of this column: the response it sparked on social media.

Many women who are survivors of domestic and family violence have been prompted to speak out, sharing their stories to refute the harmful claims about who and what is to blame for this scourge.