I was honoured to be part of the panel for a special on domestic violence on The Drum on ABC it was good to discuss this issue from different perspectives. It reinforced although domestic violence does not discriminate. Although the impact can be different depending on your community.
There is no immunity
Domestic violence has no boundaries and can touch anybody regardless of their education, religion, socio-economic or community they belong too. Each group will have its own issues along with the ones shared by all when it comes to domestic violence. There is a presumption that privilege will somehow provide immunity from abusive relationships.
Domestic violence does not respect postcodes
I come from a group that is not traditionally associated with domestic violence and a large part of the reason I speak about my experience is because I understand the deep shame women feel when it comes to disclosing abuse. Surely I have so much advantage that I should have known better. This is not the case for me or many like me.
Yes, I had a long successful corporate career and yes I was a victim of domestic violence.
Fear of disclosure
One of the challenges for someone in corporate; along with most other groups is fear of disclosure, fear of not being believed. On the surface, they appear to have it all money, security and career. But abuse is abuse and behind closed doors their life is anything but safe and secure. Encouraging people from this community to speak up and feel safe and supported is a challenge. A challenge I am proud to say corporate are tackling.
Joint finances make leaving difficult
There is a growing acceptance abuse occurs in the wealthier socio-economic communities. For this group, there are often genuine financial consideration and this can go hand in hand with financial abuse. If you are carrying a large debt or mortgage in joint names how do you leave without facing financial ruin? Trust me when I say ‘it is a long journey back from financial ruin’. People subjected to domestic violence deserve our support because wherever they fit in society they are real people and their suffering is real.
I believe therefore support from the government and corporate is essential for this group.
Supporting employees makes economic sense
It is a win for government as it enables people to stay is work and continue as tax payers rather than becoming another person on welfare. So, rather than adding money to the government funds they need to draw on them. Surely supporting workers to stay in employment is a more cost effective way to deal with this.
What do we want our legacy to be?
When we look at the cost of recruitment and the impact on productivity it makes sense for both corporate and government to proactively support those dealing with domestic violence. This issue requires community organisations, healthcare providers, not for profit, government state, federal and local and corporate to do what they can to support those suffering and create the change needed for future generations.