A conversation around domestic violence in Australia is finally being aired. A woman is being murdered every week in this country by a partner or ex-partner. One of my favourite shows is Q and A - a TV production that invites audience members to question people of public note about current issues. This week, one young man whose sister had been stabbed to death with a meat cleaver by her partner last year asked the panel: How will politicians and the media play a better role in bringing about long-overdue cultural shifts, so tragedies like what happened to my family are not normalised?
Then it all turned nasty. Feminist writer Van Badham was planning to challenge another panel member (a Liberal Party politician) about cuts (around $100m) to community legal centres, where women who are fleeing violence are given support and legal advice. She never actually got to do that because fish look-alike Steve Price rudely spoke over her with patronizing relentlessness and finally insulted her calling her "hysterical".
(Thus proving the questioner's concern about "long overdue cultural shifts"). Van's answer was fast though considered, smart as a whip and bloody funny. She said, "It's probably my ovaries making me do it, Steve".
And that has created a huge social media storm where Van of course has continued to be verbally abused. She also continues to remain calm, fierce and upright and beautifully, intelligently vocal. An inspiration and a constant reminder of our need for those cultural shifts so that disrespect of women is challenged and then reduced into a dim memory.
Thank you Van Badham. You can see how it played out and you can Read her.
Oh, and here's Steve Price.
And here's a fish.