real life

'I'm only 16, but I have an important message about domestic violence for you, Mr Abbott.'

Dear Prime Minister,

I must begin this letter by saying that while I am appealing to you as Prime Minister, first and foremost I write this letter to the Minister for Women.

My name is Hannah Diviney and I’m a 16 year old girl from Sydney. I felt compelled to write you this letter because when I opened up my laptop today, on the 12th of September, I wanted to vomit. This feeling was caused by the horrifying statistics regarding violence against women in this country.

You have 3 daughters. A wife. Female colleagues. A nation full of women whom you have a duty to, not only as our nation’s leader, but also as the Minister for Women since 2013. Your job is to protect, provide platforms for and ensure that the women and girls of Australia can thrive.

But we cannot do that at the moment.

Tara Brown, 24, died at the hands of her abusive partner just last week.

I’m sure the idea that 62 Australian women have been killed at the hands of a man in 2015 so far induces the same nausea and outrage in you as it does in me, especially since it is only September and that means 2 women have been killed every single week this year.

Imagine if one of those women had held the knowledge to cure cancer or change the world in some other life-altering way – but they could not because they were trapped in an abusive relationship that ultimately took their life

We need significant and immediate action to be taken for us to end this sickening culture of violence and aggression.

As Minister for Women it is your duty to lead this charge, to influence the attitudes and mindsets of Australian men so they learn that women are valuable, strong and not allowed to be disrespected.

Hannah Diviney, junior editorial assistant at Mamamia.

Perhaps this mission for change would be assisted by the rise of more women to prominent positions both within our government and society.

You also need to make women feel protected, safe, strong and equal within this country – but particularly for women who are already trapped in worlds of abuse, you need to allow funding for shelters and programs or helplines so that they can leave violent relationships and not become yet another statistic.


Imagine if it were your daughters who needed help. You’d do anything then, wouldn’t you?

Late last year, you said in an interview that your greatest achievement as Minister for Women was the Carbon Tax. Pardon my ignorance, but I don’t see how that helped women. Perhpas that’s an achievement as Prime Minister, not as the Minister for Women. In fact, pardon me again (it might be the rashness and stubborn nature of a teenager), but I fail to see anything gender-specific that you have achieved for women in the two years you have been in this position.

Feel free to correct me, but that’s how I see it.

Tony Abbott with one of his three daughters, Bridget. (Image via Instagram @BridgetAbbott)

But if you could tackle this problem and ensure that no more women were forced to feel weak and powerless against men, that would be the achievement of a lifetime.

You would go down in our nation’s history as a man whose actions speak louder than his words, and you would pave the way for women and girls like me to smash glass ceilings and reach our full potential, changing the world while we’re at it.

I write you this letter as one voice who has the privilege and the fortune of being able to speak up and be heard. I want change so that all members of my family both male and female, both present and future, can live where respect is expected, where there is no silence and where violence and aggression towards women and men is a far-forgotten nightmare of the past.

Sincerely and with great confidence,

Hannah Diviney

Do you think Tony Abbott has done enough as Minister for Women?

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