Australia has a long and undistinguished history of ‘blaming the victim,’ in particular, women, but in 2021 some brave new voices came to the fore – think Grace Tame, Brittany Higgins, Chanel Contos and Saxon Mullins. These women weren’t ashamed of what they had suffered. They want justice and have not been afraid to speak out to demand it, for themselves and all victims of sexual violence. We salute them.
This Anti-Poverty Week some new voices of poverty also spoke out. Paulene in Brisbane, a proud Indigenous woman bringing up her daughter on her own. “Nine times out of 10, by the time we get to the end of the week, I’m overdrawn by anywhere between $20 to $50 because the money just isn’t there,” Paulene said. Paulene is one of 300,000 female sole parents bringing up children on income security payments well below the poverty line. We also heard from Angela in Hobart who, at the launch of our Tasmanian Anti-Poverty Week campaign, said she never thought she’d be living in poverty. Yet she and her three children had to leave a relationship marred by domestic violence and as her youngest is only four, she relies on Parenting Payment Single. She is now at the mercy of a draconian program called Parents Next that threatens to cut off her income support if she can’t attend compulsory meetings (even if her children are sick). Kahli who lost her job at the start of the pandemic and has struggled to find a new one. “My kids go hungry sometimes just because money’s run out and I’m waiting for payday, so we’re down to two-minute noodles and porridge…but it’s not very healthy, so … that makes me upset.” Kahli’s children were three of the more than a million children who went hungry during the last year according to Foodbank Australia’s 2021 Hunger Report released on 20 October.
You can read the full article on Women’s Agenda, This Anti-Poverty Week we saluted the brave voices of poverty, by Toni Wren, APW Executive Director, 5/11/21