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No Mary Barry you CAN’T gender alcohol-fuelled violence

Last week I wrote a piece for Mamamia, We need to take the link between alcohol and domestic violence seriously.

In the piece, I talked about SBS series First Contact giving an important glimpse into Indigenous Australia. I quoted Elizabeth Henderson, director of the Australian Indigenous Chamber of Commerce, who wrote in The Daily Telegraph, “NT’s violence won’t end if alcohol abuse isn’t curbed”.

This is as true across all states and territories in Australia; the connection between alcohol and violence is clear – and has been extensively proven.

I also quoted from FARE’s website, “In recent years, Australian governments have committed to taking action to reduce family violence… Governments should be congratulated for taking these steps towards addressing family violence. However, these plans rarely consider alcohol and its contribution to family violence.

“Most also stop well short of outlining specific actions to reduce alcohol-related family violence and none include a focus on primary prevention initiatives that target the physically availability, economic availability or promotion of alcohol. This is a significant failing of Australia’s response to family violence to date and needs to change.”

Hear, hear!

Unsurprisingly, the greedy fund-loving feminist lobby movement was quick to respond.

Mary Barry CEO of Our Watch attempted to belittle the crystal clear evidence suggesting, “What we do need is a more sophisticated conversation with communities, experts from mental health, alcohol and other drug groups, and academics. One that brings a gender and violence-informed analysis to such issues.”

She’s wrong.

There is absolutely no place for gender or identity politics in our battle against booze. Feminists may want to keep their hungry hands on government funding and continually perpetuate the myth of gendered violence, but anyone with an ounce of common sense knows that complex gender discussions are null and void when discussing substance use, abuse, or dependency.

Sadly, any notion of respect for others goes flying out the window if enough alcohol is consumed and tempers flare. Does she really believe “sophisticated conversation” or “analysis” is going to calm booze-fuelled rage? I guarantee you even the most brainwashed mind forgets everything learnt in class after glugging down enough beer/wine/Christmas cocktails.

One of the key problems for feminist lobby groups is that women are now drinking as much as men.

In October, researchers from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre of the University of New South Wales reported Australian women have caught up with men in the amount of alcohol they drink.

Hand in hand with alcohol consumption comes alcohol-fuelled violence. Just ask the frontline police and emergency services that tackle drunken rowdy mobs across Australia.

Binge drinking sparks violence. It can lead to tempers fraying and fists flying in bars and clubs on streets, as well as behind closed doors in homes. It encourages people who might usually shrug things off to rise to the bait.

Barry needs to step out of her cool gender discussions and do some homework on the damage alcohol does to human beings.

Alcohol causes chemical changes in our brains and every individual reacts differently. People – yes, men and women – who have poor anger control are more likely to be aggressive when they consume alcohol.

You cannot point the finger of blame for alcohol-fuelled violence at just one gender. How about we accept the truth that violence against anyone is wrong?

Barry admits, “Alcohol contributes to a number of social ills and health problems and it does play a significant role in some domestic/family and sexual violence cases.”

Some? Do you really call at least half “some”? We know alcohol is involved in a significant number of family violence incidents reported in Australia.

My burning question to the feminist lobby groups such as Our Watch and White Ribbon Australia is, knowing the connection between alcohol and domestic violence, why on earth do you have a presence in BWS and Dan Murphy’s?

Corrine Barraclough is a freelance writer. Find her on Facebook here.


If this post brought up any issues for you, or you would like someone to talk to, you can contact the following national helplines at any time of the day or night.

Lifeline 13 11 14

Alcoholics Anonymous 1300 222 222

Kids Help Line 1800 55 1800

Corrine Barraclough

Corrine Barraclough

Corrine Barraclough is a freelance writer based on the Gold Coast. She's been a journalist for nearly 20 years and held senior positions at several national magazines in London and New York before moving to Sydney to edit NW magazine. She now lives by the beach, has her work/life balance in order, and is proud to say she stopped drinking alcohol well over a year ago. Corrine is passionate about alcohol education and personal responsibility.


  • Well done Corrine,the level of hypocrisy and double standards shown is incredible. Aren’t these organisations also telling us about removing gender stereotypes??

    They want men to help them with their campaign to make a stand against men’s violence against women but when men’s rights groups have asked them to reciprocate and ask women to take a stand against women’s violence on men they’re virtually laughed at. They want respect, but respect is something that’s two sided and must be earned and my respect for these one sided women’s organisations is eroding daily at a fast rate. As a male victim of DV that was often fuelled by alcohol and had no help and nowhere to go for my daughter and I when fleeing they disgust me.

    These figures were in the Herald Sun editorial one day in the past couple of years and paint the picture on alcohol clearly,
    “in Victoria domestic violence incidents involving alcohol,totalling 14,015 a year at last count, have risen 85% in ten years, hospital admissions up by 53% to 29,694 a year and alcohol related ambulance attendances up 146% to 8349 a year”
    “a 21% increase in the number of licensed premises in Vic between 2003-2012 has seen a 28% increase in the rate of medical treatment for alcohol related episodes and a doubling of ambulance attendances”

    Editor’s note: extracts from this comment have been moderated in line with our house rules.

  • I find this rebuttal of Barry’s position highly disrespectful. Can we not have an intelligent debate about violence without labelling those with an opposing view as “the greedy fund-loving feminist lobby movement”? It’s disappointing that Ms Barraclough must rely on such personal attacks.

    • You might find Corrine’s comments disrespectful John, but they are nevertheless accurate. To have any chance of fixing the DV scourge we need to focus on facts rather than feelings.

  • So true my partner after drinking became verbally & emotionally abusive towards me blaming me for all the faults in the relationship & how my older children were all not allowed to have contact with our younger ones , how i couldn’t be involved in any community groups like the Cfa but did not want to join or be involved herself.

  • The inconvenient truth is that the predictable harm arising from the dangerous levels of supply, promotion and consumption of grog knows no gender, class or income bounds. Having Dan Murphy’s (lowest grog prices guaranteed) et al as a white ribbon sponsor and promoter is the utter height of hypocrisy given grog’s catalytic impact on violence and related harms

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