'The way he tells it...' : Relationships after Black Saturday Debra Parkinson
By: Parkinson, Debra.Material type: BookPublisher: Wangaratta, Vic. : Women's Health Goulburn North East, 2011Description: electronic document (184 pages); PDF file.Subject(s): DOMESTIC VIOLENCE | GENDER | INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE | LITERATURE REVIEWS | NATURAL DISASTERS | SEXUAL VIOLENCE | VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN | WOMEN | AUSTRALIAOnline resources: Click here to access online | Access the website
|Item type||Current location||Call number||Status||Date due||Barcode|
|Access online||Family Violence library||Online||Available||ON20050008|
A research report in four volumes:
Vol. 1 Executive Summary and Recommendations (p.1);
Vol. 2 Women and Disasters Literature Review (p.47);
Vol. 3 The Landscape of My Soul — Women’s Accounts (p.67);
Vol. 4 A Gut Feeling — The Workers’ Accounts (p. 127).
Australians have a 1 in 6 estimated lifetime exposure to natural disaster and Victoria is one of the three most fire-prone areas in the world. The Black Saturday fires resulted in the greatest loss of life from a bushfire since settlement with 173 deaths. A further 414 people were injured and 2029 houses were destroyed. The ferocity of the fi res, the total devastati on of whole communities, the individual tragedies were a new and traumatic experience for the people living and working there.
Large-scale disasters are managed in a gendered way in which assumptions are made about the role of men as protector and women as protected. In the most obvious example, men are at
the frontline in fighting bushfires much more than women. Yet statistics show that until Black Saturday the gap between male and female deaths in Australian bushfires was closing, and in
two fires, had actually reversed (Haynes et al., 2008). Our common aim, as research participants and researchers, is to throw some light on what happens to women during a disaster and in its aftermath in Australia. The personal is, indeed, political. Each woman’s story of individual struggle is much more than that — their circumstances dictated to a large degree by the expectations society has of men and women.
As a result, in this research, we argue for a different gendered approach to disaster — one that is based on the reality of women’s experiences. On Black Saturday, women’s responsibility for children and other dependents placed them at increased risk. This risk goes beyond the actual disaster to its aftermath. Worldwide literature suggests increased violence against women is characteristic of post-disaster recovery. Yet there is a gap in the Australian literature of the sociological aspects of disaster recovery in Australia. While previous Australian research has looked at what happens in disaster-recovery phases, none focuses on the experience of women
in regard to violence. In the tumult of disaster recovery, family violence  is often ignored, unrecognised and unrecorded.
The gendered nature of risk must be recognised and included in any disaster and emergency response. Part of this is the recognition of family violence and the awareness that accurate
statistical recording will improve response to families experiencing this hidden disaster (Parkinson, Lancaster, & Stewart, 2011).
While we understand that men are suffering, rather than excuse this, we can ask why women who have been through the trauma of a disaster and are now going through the trauma of its aftermath and all that entails, should be expected to accept violence from their partner. This research presents the case for clear-eyed recognition of increased violence against women in the aftermath of disaster and a disaster response that protects women and off ers opti ons, while proactively recognising the increased needs of men, to prevent family violence. Where violence occurs after disaster, there must be no lesser effort in upholding women’s rights to live a life free from fear of violence — including when police are involved and there may be legal consequences for perpetrators.
In this research, family violence was present for 16 women. For nine women, it was a new experience since Black Saturday and for six, the violence had escalated or had been an isolated
incident many years earlier. One woman left her violent partner before the fi res and he returned after, almost immediately resuming his violent behaviour. Of the 16 women who experienced violence since the fires, 15 women stated they were afraid of their partner.
Australian emergency responses, as evidenced by the response to the Black Saturday bushfires, must attend to the real issues of gender and the particular risks to women during disasters and in their aftermath. Our progress on family violence over recent years must not be surrendered in
the weeks, months and years following disasters.(From the Introduction to Vol. 1). Search the website for related research, "Men on Black Saturday" and other related resources. Record #6619