opinion

"Anthony Mundine, you were not taken out of context. You were wrong."

“My words were taken out of context.”

That’s the defence you will get from almost anyone who has said something controversial when they are faced with the fury of the masses.

This week, it was Australian boxer Anthony Mundine, who used the tired trope to excuse the claims he made about the benefits of the Koran’s stance on violence against women.

Just so you do have context, here it is:

While appearing on Mark Latham’s YouTube show Outsiders alongside Ben Fordham, the trio were discussing Yassmin Abdel-Magied’s now-infamous Anzac Day tweet.

The men moved onto a broader discussion of Islam and its merits as a “feminist religion”, as Abdel-Magied previously described it while appearing on Q&A in February.

During the discussion, Latham quoted Mundine a verse from the Koran, “…men are in charge of women. Good women are therefore obedient. For women who might disobey, it’s recommended to admonish them, leave them alone in their sleeping places and then beat them.”

“That doesn’t sound very feminist,” Latham said to his Muslim co-panellist.

And that’s when Mundine made this statement: “it’s not a term [that refers to] to beat [but] as to hit.”

“In the Koran, you know what a beating is? You know the Arab toothbrush? Little stick. That is a beating. But you cannot harm the lady, cause any injury or any bruising,” he said while pretending to lightly tap Latham’s arm.

Mundine went on to say that violence against women was “totally unacceptable” and that he thinks Muslim leaders need to take a modern stance on their interpretation of this passage and not to see it as promoting beating “your woman or anybody by beating them physically”.

Fast forward to Friday night, and Mundine responded to widespread criticism he received from almost all who heard his statements or read the news reports about it.

ADVERTISEMENT

His statement was not an apology. It was not an admission that what he said was harmful or dismissive of the experience of thousands of women who aren’t bruised by their partners, but are abused nonetheless.

Instead, Mundine took to Facebook to defend his words, telling everyone he was taken out of context, imploring them to “watch the whole interview”.

Listen: Sarah Ferguson and Andrew a former abuser talk about domestic violence in Australia. (Post continues…)

“To the bullsh*t that’s out there that I said you can beat a woman as long as you don’t cause injury is the most disturbing & bullshit thing I’ve seen!” he wrote.

“I’m totally against any violence against woman period! Watch the whole interview I defend woman always these people trying to get headlines & slander my name will get there’s!!! See your asses in court [sic].”

It’s the statement of a man lashing out after he’s been backed into a corner by unexpected criticism. It’s also the statement of a man who has no clue about what he actually said.

What Anthony Mundine doesn’t seem to understand is that he was not taken out of context, he was wrong.

It’s clear to me that Mundine does not think it’s okay for men to beat their wives or girlfriends. He doesn’t think it’s okay for men to punch, or kick or injure them. To torment or kill them.

But that’s not all that domestic violence is.

Anthony Mundine tapped Mark Latham to illustrate what he called "beating". (Image via YouTube.)

For a relationship to be abusive the victim does not need be left bloodied or injured. The victim doesn't need to be left with scars and bruises to hide. She doesn't even need to be physically hurt.

Men who "hit" or even tap their partner with a "little stick" are perpetrators of domestic violence. As are the men who intimidate their wives with threats, abuse them with insults and restrict their freedom with control.

It's not just the abuse that leaves physical injuries that Australia needs to stamp out.

It's not just the "physical beating" we need men in positions of power to speak out against. It's domestic violence, in all its forms, that needs to be condemned.

And that's what Mundine doesn't seem to understand.

For 24-hour assistance call the National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service on 1800 RESPECT (that’s 1800 737 732).

Do you think Anthony Mundine needs to be better educated on what domestic violence is?

FROM OUR NETWORK
00:00 / ???