I worry about the most lethal and emotionally devastating threat to each of my girls — being in a relationship.
So there you have it. A young woman being a relationship with a young man is now considered a lethal and emotionally devastating threat.
It's not difficult to respond to this kind of thing in terms of facts. Jodie Whittaker gets a number of things wrong. She writes:
Recent statistics show domestic family violence claims more Australian women’s lives and causes more ill health than all other well-known preventable risks.
That's not a recent statistic. It is a rogue statistic that has been doing the rounds since the 1990s (I have written about this statistic here and here). Suffice it to say that an Australian woman is about eight times more likely to self-inflict mortal wounds than to suffer such wounds from another person (i.e. the bigger threat to Jodie Whittaker's daughters is themselves not their boyfriends).
Similarly, it is not true that women are safer alone than when partnered. In 1996 the Australian Bureau of Statistics released a Women's Safety Survey which found that single women were 250% more likely to experience violence than those living with a partner (see here). It should also be noted that about 90% of cases of intimate partner homicide occur amongst a social underclass in which neither partner is employed.
The problem is that we can correct misinformation until the cows come home, but these kind of attitudes will persist, despite the fact that it is more natural for the men and women of a community to feel allegiance to each other rather than being set apart as enemies.
There is something about modern society that encourages this setting apart of men and women. Perhaps it is the loss of complementary relationships in which men and women needed each other and experienced a sense of completion through their relationship with the opposite sex. In such societies, sex distinctions were generally celebrated and formalised within culture, for instance, through acts of courtesy.
Perhaps too it is the use of sexual politics as a battering ram to gain a competitive advantage in the workplace (and moral status in society in general).
Or maybe it has to do with loyalty between men and women not fitting into the logic of a modern liberal society run along technocratic lines (channelling Jim Kalb here). Such a loyalty is "opaque" (i.e. not bureaucratically administered) and therefore antiquated or irrational in modernist eyes.
Or it could be that there is a fear that without the demonization of husbands, that young women might be tempted to see the roles of wife and mother more positively.