Australian women are not taking Alan Jones's rhetoric about Jacinda Ardern lying down.
Australian women are not taking Alan Jones's rhetoric about Jacinda Ardern lying down. Jonathan Ng

Why women are socking it to the rhetoric of Alan Jones

2GB's Alan Jones has no idea of how damaging his 'shove a sock down her throat' and 'back-hander' comments really are, writes journalist SHERELE MOODY

ALAN Jones's "shove a sock down her throat" and "back-hander" phrases are reprehensible, abhorrent and a clear act of misogyny that Australia can well do without right now.

The radio broadcaster has been under sustained pressure since August 15 when he called on Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison to shut New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern's voice down on the Pacific climate crisis because he did not agree with her take on the issue.

Jones called Ardern "a joke", "an absolutely and utter lightweight" and a "clown" who had "swallowed the climate change hoax".

He also stated: "I just wonder whether Scott Morrison is going to be fully briefed to shove a sock down her throat."

And he said: "Now I hope Scott Morrison gets tough here with a few backhanders … hasn't got a clue this woman."

With 43 Australian women lost to violence so far in 2019 and the ramifications of the Sydney CBD stabbing attacks - in which Michaela Dunn was killed and another woman injured -  weighing heavy on the minds of many females at the time of the comments, it is clear Jones well and truly failed to read the room.

Worse still - I have to ask - has Jones even given a thought as to what the statements mean for people who have lost a loved one to - or been the victim of - these types of violence?

Men giving their partners a "back hander" is all too common in Australia, with the nation's police forces attending at least 600 incidents of domestic violence daily and one in four women having been physically assaulted.

Scott Morrison and Jacinda Ardern at the annual Prime Ministers’ Talks at Government House in Auckland. Picture: Diego Opatowski/AAP
Alan Jones says he will write an apology to Jacinda Ardern after saying Scott Morrison should shove a sock down her throat and suggesting Mr Morrison give the NZ PM a back-hander.

Back-hander is an Australian colloquialism for slapping a woman across the face with the back of one's hand.

Using this term was bad enough, but it was the "shove a sock down her throat" phrase that sent a huge chill down my spine.

On hearing this, my first thought was for the two little Queensland girls murdered by my stepfather Barry Gordon Hadlow. The sex-depraved monster ended their lives by shoving clothing down their throats.

It is not only perpetrators of sexual violence that kill in this way. At least 250 of the 1800 femicides and child murders I have documented involved domestic violence perpetrators choking, suffocating or strangling their victims to death.

Thousands of strangulation, suffocation and choking cases are prosecuted across the country each year, with experts saying these victims are 800 times more likely to be murdered than those who are not.

The problem is so bad that states and territories have rolled out - or are rolling out - specific laws to deal with perpetrators of this type of violence.

Stopping someone from breathing is an act used specifically to control victims, to instil fear in them and - ultimately - to silence them.

Violence impacts thousands of women and children each year and it does not happen in a vacuum. Experts say there are four significant drivers - one of which is disrespectful statements and jokes that demean women or normalise acts of violence against them.

Jones calls his words freedom of speech or expression, but his language is very much an example of normalising violence and his Ardern comments were certainly not one-offs.

Jones is a repeat offender of using abusive and disrespectful language when he disagrees with outspoken women.

One of his worst outbursts was when he (repeatedly) suggested previous PM Julia Gillard be shoved in a chaff bag and thrown out to sea.

He has also claimed "women are destroying the joint" and in 2018 he had to backtrack on words that "he regretted" after interviewing Sydney Opera House CEO Louise Herron, again using language that caused widespread outrage.

Jones says he will write to Ardern apologising for his most recent statements but it seems to me that this is a "sorry, not sorry" response given he also claims his words - which were broadcast on air and published online world-wide - were taken out of context.

"This was wilful misinterpretation of what I said to obviously distract from the point that she was wrong about climate change and wrong about Australia's contribution to carbon dioxide level," Jones said.

''But that's not an excuse. People have taken offence.

''I do regret it and I am very sincere in the sentiment.''

Leave the advice to the medical experts. Picture: supplied
Domestic violence is the result of four significant drivers, including language that demeans women or encourages abuse.

Meanwhile, Jones's bosses at Macquarie Media have found themselves stuck between a rock and hard place with advertisers leaving his program over the past eight days.

There is no doubt 2GB is feeling the pain as the woman-led  Mad F****ing Witches Facebook boycott campaign has - as of today - resulted in more than 40 sponsors pulling their adverts from the shock jock's radio show.

The management at the station have given Jones an official warning, saying if there is a repeat of his behaviour his contract will be torn up.

"There's a bunch of talented people there and, remember, Alan's breakfast program in Sydney … would be less than 10 per cent of Macquarie Media's (revenue), let alone the revenue position of Nine," Macquarie Group boss Hugh Marks told the Daily Telegraph this week.

"Alan's a good broadcaster, Macquarie have made plenty of comments about their relationship - and recent events so I won't go into that but yes, of course, that business can survive the loss of any of its talent."

This photo of the word T.R.U.M.P spelled out with guns was allegedly shared on the social media feed of Patrick Crusius – the man accused of killing 22 people and injuring 25 at El Paso on August 3.
This photo of the word T.R.U.M.P spelled out with guns was liked on Twitter by El Paso accused shooter Patrick Crusius.

The words of powerful men do sometimes become reality, there is no denying this.  

We have seen - for example - the impact in America that Donald Trump's often racist, sexist and dangerous rhetoric has had on angry men prone to violence, with some fans of the President using guns to commit mass murders.

Who can forget the photo of the word T.R.U.M.P spelled out with guns that was like on Twitter by Patrick Crusius - the man accused of killing 22 people and injuring 25 at El Paso on August 3.

Of course, no one is suggesting Scott Morrison would actually take Jones up on his word.  

But that doesn't negate the acts of violence Jones proposed to silence an outspoken, respected and articulate woman with whom he happens to disagree.

If we have any hope of reducing gendered violence in our country, we need to hold men like Jones to account for using language that normalises abuse of women.

News Corp's Sherele Moody has multiple journalism excellence awards for her work highlighting violence in Australia. Sherele is also a 2019 Our Watch fellow and the founder of The RED HEART Campaign and the Australian Femicide & Child Death Map.

*For 24-hour domestic violence and sexual assault support please call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732.