People dropping off flowers at the Scene where Hannah Clarke and her children were killed by their father Rowan Baxter. Saturday February 22, 2020. (AAP image, John Gass)
People dropping off flowers at the Scene where Hannah Clarke and her children were killed by their father Rowan Baxter. Saturday February 22, 2020. (AAP image, John Gass)

No paper DVO can protect victims from men who feel disempowered

Letter to the Editor

ON FEBRUARY 19, 2020, Hannah Clarke and her three young children were murdered by her ex-husband, Rowan Baxter in Brisbane.

Their horrific firey deaths traumatised the nation.

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Women and children continue to be victims of abusers who believe they are “above the law”. Governments, police and our court systems don’t or won’t fully appreciate the “coercive controlling” behaviors and misogyny at the root of all violence against women and children. But ignorance is no excuse.

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The program for the funeral of Hannah Clarke and her three children Aaliyah, Laianah and Trey is seen in Brisbane, Monday, March 9, 2020. Hannah and her children were murdered by their estranged husband and father in a domestic violence incident on February 19. (AAP Image/Dan Peled) NO ARCHIVING
The program for the funeral of Hannah Clarke and her three children Aaliyah, Laianah and Trey is seen in Brisbane, Monday, March 9, 2020. Hannah and her children were murdered by their estranged husband and father in a domestic violence incident on February 19. (AAP Image/Dan Peled) NO ARCHIVING

Legislation against “domestic violence”, euphemism for “criminal assault”, falls short, in a society based on historical stereotypes for gender roles and responsibilities.

Family Court judges fail to comprehend the dynamics of relationships which force women and children to escape the control and traumas of angry despots, having little faith in a patriarchal society, expensive legal systems or a male-orientated police force, for protection.

Thus, granting “access” to violent men continues.

To our dismay, one familial homicide per week is the nation’s average.

“The evil of inaction, “(The Lucifer Effect”, P. Zimbardo) collusion by political authorities, under-resourcing institutions set up to protect the powerless, denies victims equality, inclusion and respect automatically awarded to the powerful.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 23: Lloyd and Suzanne Clarke, parents to Hannah Clarke, attend a vigil to remember murdered mother, Hannah Clarke and her three children at Bill Hewitt Reserve in Camp Hill on February 23, 2020 in Brisbane, Australia. Hannah Clarke, and her children Aaliyah, 6, Laianah, 4, and Trey, 3, were killed by Rowan Baxter after he doused them in petrol and set their car alig
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 23: Lloyd and Suzanne Clarke, parents to Hannah Clarke, attend a vigil to remember murdered mother, Hannah Clarke and her three children at Bill Hewitt Reserve in Camp Hill on February 23, 2020 in Brisbane, Australia. Hannah Clarke, and her children Aaliyah, 6, Laianah, 4, and Trey, 3, were killed by Rowan Baxter after he doused them in petrol and set their car alig

Women who take the lead against sexism, the root of misogyny, are spurned by mainstream Australians. No paper DVO can ultimately protect victims from men who feel disempowered.

With political “consideration” that “strangulation” and “coercive control” are criminal offences punishable by jail terms, women who cannot feel safe in their relationships, need powerful advocates in our institutions who truly comprehend this deadly threat to our nation.

The pandemic only exacerbates the threat.

E.Rowe, Marcoola