news

How a misogynistic troll accidentally helped a Sydney women's refuge.

Irony can be a truly beautiful thing.

Especially when it involves a misogynistic internet troll, who inadvertently became the catalyst for a spike in donations and increased public profile for a Sydney women’s refuge.

On Tuesday night’s episode of The Project, Waleed Aly slammed the revolting and provocative messages of “pick-up artist” Daryush ‘Roosh V’ Valizadeh. Aly urged viewers to channel the energy and attention we give to being outraged at people like Roosh to other causes.

And that’s exactly what happened. Over the last few days, Roosh has been shouting to an empty arena. By taking Waleed’s advice to #clicksomethingelse, we’ve diverted attention away from the problem, and towards the solution.

For those who aren’t aware, Waleed’s suggestion for a worthy #somethingelse was a link to Lou’s Place, a women’s refuge in Sydney.

You can watch Aly’s powerful speech here.

Mamamia spoke to Deborah Banks from Lou’s Place about the profound impact of those clicks.

“Words cannot express how grateful we are to Waleed Aly… It was way beyond our expectations to connect with so many people in such a short period of time and we greatly appreciate the significant spike in donations. We went from having 877 likes on our Facebook page to almost 7000.”

Lou’s Place is still counting the donations that have come in since Tuesday night, but the figure stands at over $30,000.

Deborah says, “The donations will help us to maintain the very high standard of care and support offered by Lou’s Place. We’re a small privately operated service which has always focussed our funding on the direct needs of the women who come to us. It’s only with the support of individual donors, philanthropic foundations and small one off grants that we’re able to keep opening our doors everyday.”

Deborah says of her work, “It is an honour to support the healing process of women who have experienced significant trauma in their lives. I am in awe of their strength – they are survivors, not victims.”

“They are survivors, not victims.”

The practical impact of directing our attention towards Lou’s Place cannot be overstated. The terrace house in Kings Cross gives women a place to rest, eat, shower, wash clothes and enjoy some company, and provides services such as crisis intervention, case management, counselling and legal advice. All without on-going government funding.

On a symbolic level, what’s meaningful is that we’ve redirected our clicks to a place that makes women feel safe, rather than diatribes that make them feel as though they’re not.

In the face of outlandish misogyny, we’ve been reminded that we really do have the power to make a difference.

And it can all start with a click in the right place.

“Lou’s Place is the only daytime refuge for women in the Greater Sydney area. We’re a community-based refuge for women in crisis, homeless, feeling isolated or in need of support. Lou’s Place is a private charity with no on-going government funding. We rely on the generous support of our friends, partners and volunteers to continue our services.” – Deborah Banks.

You can share this link (http://lousplace.com.au) and donate by transferring money to ‘The Marmalade Foundation Ltd’. BSB: 062 124. Account number: 1088 3779.