Mia Findlay: Powerful video calls out terrible imbalance of justice when it comes to violence against women

Peta Rasdien
The Nightly
5 Min Read
Mia Findlay’s poem ‘They Shut Down a City’ draws attention to “our country’s great shame”, the “never-ending disaster” of violence against women. 
Mia Findlay’s poem ‘They Shut Down a City’ draws attention to “our country’s great shame”, the “never-ending disaster” of violence against women.  Credit: Supplied

A powerful video calling out the terrible imbalance of justice when it comes to crimes men perpetrate on women has sparked a huge response online, days after the Bondi stabbing massacre.

Mia Findlay, an eating disorder recovery coach, has taken to social media to read a poem drawing attention to “our country’s great shame”, the “never-ending disaster” of violence against women.

It comes after mass murderer Joel Cauchi appeared to single out women during his attack at the Bondi Junction shopping centre on Saturday.

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During his 15-minute stabbing frenzy, Cauchi killed six people, five of them women. Twelve others were rushed to hospital, 10 of them women.

In the poem, Ms Findlay draws attention to the stark contrast between how authorities and the community respond to high-profile crimes against men and those committed against women.

She singles out the tough response from authorities to the deaths of two young men from one-punch attacks in Sydney — Thomas Kelly in 2012 and Daniel Christie in 2014.

Their deaths were the trigger for Sydney’s controversial lockout laws, established two months after Mr Christie’s death.

Ms Findlay compares that to the response of police to the death of 17-year-old school girl Masa Vukotic who was stabbed 49 times while she was out for an evening walk in a Melbourne park, calling out a police inspector who said “people, particularly females shouldn’t be alone in parks”.

She also refers to Lindt Cafe terrorist Man Haron Moris, who was on bail for 40 counts of assault against women when he carried out heinous crime.

READ THE POEM IN FULL BELOW

In the poem, which has become a rallying cry for victims and people sick of the inaction, Ms Findlay lists the number of women murdered every year since 2021, saying they were met with “no action, no pity” yet the one-punch deaths “locked down a city”.

Ms Findlay details all the barriers to women being safe and being believed when it comes to sexual assault and violence.

“What’s the barrier to entry to being believed? How short was your skirt? How long were your sleeves? Did you drink? Were you drunk? Were you rude or polite? Did you go home with someone or walk alone at night?” she begins.

Mia Findlay wrote the poem on Monday afternoon, after Sydney was rocked by the Bondi Junction and Wakeley church stabbings.
Mia Findlay wrote the poem on Monday afternoon, after Sydney was rocked by the Bondi Junction and Wakeley church stabbings. Credit: Instagram

On Instagram, the video has beenwidely shared and liked more than 22,500 times and prompted a number of women to share their own experiences in the comments section.

One woman wrote: “I was SA inside my home, when I was wearing my pyjamas in my home asleep - on the stand I was asked why was I wearing my long pants in the middle of summer? Why was I wearing a short skirt and ugg boots when I got home, how many drinks?! The questions were all on me. He was acquitted?! Mostly men in jury - I was warned as it was a mining town ?!”

“Wow. Goosebumps. We (women) all “know” how bad it is, but when you lay it out on the table like this, it truly is shocking and disgusting - even as a woman and a mother, even I am shocked. I have just become so …… accepting? That this is the norm. It’s not ok, thank you for waking me back up,” another wrote.

Ms Findlay said the response to the poem has been varied.

“Women are exhausted, angry, defeated, in need of change and acutely aware that, despite years of trying, that change likely isn’t up to us.,” she said.

But men, if they responded at all, had generally been defensive.

“There has been very little response from men - out of the thousands of story re-shares, I’d say less than 5 are from men. Out of the hundreds of comments, approx 10 are men.

“A few with the belief that the poem is divisive, that they don’t want to be labelled as rapists or murderers because ‘not all men’ commit those crimes.

Ms Findlay said a minority, however, had expressed their understanding that they need to listen and confront these issues with other men.

‘THEY SHUT DOWN A CITY’

What’s the barrier to entry to being believed? How short was your skirt? How long were your sleeves? Did you drink? Were you drunk? Were you rude or polite? Did you go home with someone or walk alone at night?

There’s also a barrier that exists before dark and an afternoon run, in your safe local park. I’ll never forget Masa on a run at 17, stabbed 49 times by a man she’d never seen.

The barrier is still applied though, when Detective Hughes said, not that men shouldn’t kill women, be vigilant instead.

Two young men murdered and they shut down the city for young men with futures take action have pity but for us. Just silence victim blaming advice. No short skirts or drinking. Don’t go out at night. If it happened report it, but only right away to get trauma or terror even one day’s too late. If you report it be perfect, sober virgin till the end. Not a blemish on your record not perfect even if you’re dead.

Two young men murdered and they shut down a city. Twenty seven women in ‘24. No action, no pity

Two young men murdered and they shut down a city. Sixty four women in ‘23. No action, no pity.

Two young men murdered and they shut down the city. Fifty women in ‘22. No action, no pity.

Two young men murdered and they shut down a city 61 women in ‘21. No action, no pity.

We know you can do it, make laws consequential and tough and for two boys with futures you cared just enough.

What’s the barrier to entry to being believed, to being considered human, to being safe and free?

You tell us be cautious, and we’ve tried it all: that I’m in a cab message, that I’m home safe call. We cover open drinks of girls we don’t know, cross streets and fake phone calls, so we’ll be left alone.

We stay home with our partners cause surely we’re safe, but where nobody’s looking one of us dies every five days.

All of a sudden we care when it blows up in our face: a knifeman Bondi, a terrorist in a cafe.

What do they have to do with our country’s great shame because the core of their crimes were both one and the same.

He had a problem with women the knife and his father said he targeted women until a woman shot him dead.

Then there’s Man Haron Monis.

Terrorised Sydney whilst on bail for 40 counts of assault just against women so no jail.

Two young men murdered and they shut down the city.

If you or someone you know needs help, contact 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)

Domestic violence hotline: 1800 737 732

Sexual Assault Counselling Australia on 1800 211 028

Lifeline on 13 11 14

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