GENDER LONGEVITY: Why is it that single women live longer than married women? For men, it's the reverse.
GENDER LONGEVITY: Why is it that single women live longer than married women? For men, it's the reverse. Cecilie_Arcurs

Females still getting the raw deal in relationships

IF YOU align living a long life to the level of satisfaction you experience while doing it, this next assessment results in some pretty interesting outcomes.

It is more common for single women to live longer than single men but, on the flipside, married men live longer than married women. Those findings have come up in a bunch of papers by people who know way more about this stuff than me, but on the surface they are pretty telling when it comes to gendered roles and outcomes.

So who really is the needier? Society would tell us it's women. They are weaker and need protecting and looking after apparently. They rely on a male to go out to earn money for the family while they look after the home front. They basically are told they need a man to have a fulfilling life, no matter how bad that man is. Having one is better than not having one at all, right?

It's in a woman's nature to nurture because she's the one that gives birth but it doesn't mean she has to be subservient to her family for her whole life, that is to always put herself last. But that's often what happens because that's kind of what society infers - that women will sacrifice their lives for their family. But there is a huge difference between being chief carer for people and being exploited by your loved ones.

You only have to look at women who need to announce they are having "me time" to realise there is something wrong with the balance in their lives. How years later they have to join a club or group to get out of the house and socialise with women their own age, how they have to make military precision plans to get a couple of hours to themselves. Whatever they want, they have to organise it themselves, and the rest of the family in the process.

This is because the family unit isn't traditionally proactive about enabling the female at its centre to go and enjoy herself without them. To do this would be truly supportive of her needs, even if she doesn't realise it at the time. Instead, she doesn't appear to have any needs beyond them. She, apparently, is there for everyone else.

This mindset can be so engrained that women often don't recognise this kind of long-term martyr syndrome that can eat away at their psyches across many years without noticing until the kids leave home. This is a peak time for many women opting to be single again and enjoying their own life for the first time in a long time.

Of course this isn't the rule, or all households, just a lot of them, going on the number of women becoming more open to voicing their displeasure about never having any time for themselves and finally leaving unsatisfying marriages.

Obviously there are many generally happy couples of either gender, who have their ups and downs but respect one another and remain friends through thick and thin but that's not what's being pondered here. It's the relationships that are unfair, one-sided, toxic, and violent. Some tick one of those boxes, others tick all of them, but one thing is for sure, it's the women who overwhelmingly get the raw deal.

To deal with the knee-jerk response that usually follows this kind of dialogue, yes women can be violent and bully and belittle men at home, but it isn't the broader cultural problem that is men's violence against women in this country.

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So rather than try to disrupt the life-threatening conversation that results in more than one woman being killed a week by her intimate or formerly intimate partner in this lucky country by cherry picking examples of the bad women you know, let it go for the sake of all the dead women and those set to follow in the next week or two or three...

There's no such thing as reverse domestic violence, or reverse racism or reverse sexism, because you can't reverse a systemic cultural problem, and believe me, racism against white people, sexism against men, and female violence against men, are not epidemics. They are loaded, paltry excuses the guilty throw back at the real victims to hide the truth. These jerks are the reason nothing changes.

There are many underlying facets to domestic violence - race, poverty, upbringing, stress, your horse didn't win, being an arsehole etc. But for the sake of this scourge in Australia we will look at one of the main offenders who, if you judge people from the moment they are born, came out of their mothers as part of the most privileged group on the planet -- the straight, white male. So with all that instant privilege why are they the most common offenders in the contribution to the death count of women by domestic violence?

These guys don't have to worry about racism, or sexism, or homophobia, and if being poor is a contributing factor then guess what, they're not the only ones that have had it hard because of the financial circumstances they need to navigate. But in their case it wasn't their gender or race or sexual preference that held them back. So where does this rage and hatred for the females they profess to love or the rage and hatred they have for the female they no longer have come from?

This is the type of ownership and jealously that results in a male violently murdering their pregnant former partner, or stalking and killing them because the woman has moved on with someone else, or brutally murder their own children to get back at her. And that's just in the past few weeks. What's going on guys? Does anyone really give a rat's this is happening in our lovely, cosy suburban Australian neighbourhoods? It's a disgrace and we are complicit in ensuring that the "one a week" tally will continue ad hoc.

There's no serious grand scale government support to deal with the male behaviour that leads or supports this specific kind of violence. No real assistance for women in removing themselves from violent situations or receiving proper protection against violence and death threats once a bad relationship ends.

A gutless male of a system that treats gender inequality like it doesn't exist or when it does, refuses to acknowledge it plays a role in this scourge of domestic violence. Token gestures and special days and spokespeople here and there are not enough. If men, who still hold most of the power dynamic, aren't the perpetrators, they're the enablers.

Change needs to start in the family home. Respect and support the women who, according to that research, give up their lives to maintain marriages and relationships and families. Who, according to that research, would be much better off just looking after themselves.

If this tirade has raised any personal issues phone 1800RESPECT hotline 1800 737 732.



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