Abbie Chatfield’s speech sums up misogyny problem

Australia is reeling following the deaths of five women and a security guard at Westfield Bondi Junction Westfield on Saturday afternoon — and one podcast host has pointed out a huge misconception about what happened.

Pikria Darchia, Yixuan Cheng, Jade Young, Dawn Singleton and Ashlee Good – and security guard Faraz Tahir – were murdered by Queensland man Joel Cauchi in his stabbing rampage before he was shot by NSW Police Inspector Amy Scott.

Cauchi’s motive has not yet been established but NSW Police said there was it was “obvious … the offender had focused on women and avoided the men”.

Cauchi’s father, Andrew, was asked about this and if there was a reason his son may have targeted women.

“Yes, because he wanted a girlfriend and he has no social skills and he was frustrated out of his brain,” the man’s father said, adding his son was “sick” and had schizophrenia.

According to journalist Sherele Moody’s Australian Femicide Watch, 28 women have been targeted and killed in horrific acts of violence in 2024.

Abbie Chatfield's speech sums up misogyny problem

In 2022, data released from the previous financial year showed that in Australia an estimated 2.2 million women 18 and over have been sexually assaulted by a man and 22 per cent of women had experienced sexual violence from the age of 15.

Former reality star, television and podcast host Abbie Chatfield spoke on her It’s A Lot podcast about the events of the last few day, saying casual sexism was anything but casual. In fact, she argued, it was the foundation of violence against women.

“This violence doesn’t start from nowhere. This starts from people speaking about women as though they’re objects continuously,” she said.

“The objectification of women allows the dehumanisation of women and that allows men to easily go down a slippery slope towards violence.”

She said this could be anything from domestic violence, verbal abuse, catcalling, sexual harassment, sexual assault, rape, murder and mass murder. Abbie also pointed out women are gaslit when they call out these issues in their life. In fact, women are punished for speaking out.

“These aren’t isolated incidents. These are very f*****g clearly all related. How can people not see,” Abbie urged in her podcast.

“Speaking about women online in violent, volatile ways leads to violence and volatility in real life.”

She said that the violence can happen anywhere — in our homes, in our shopping centres, walking at night or travelling alone.

“We can’t do f*****g anything,” she said, adding she feels like she is constantly grieving some act of violence and a loss of a part of life due to the violence against women.

“We’re not being seen as anything but props. I think that this backdrop of society and patriarchal structures allows for someone with severe mental health issues that were untreated to latch on to an ideology that causes a direct violent attack towards women.”

She then went on to discuss the lack of mental health facilities in Australia, with people she knows struggling to get into psychiatric care — even with all the money in the world.

She called it a “structural issue” in this country, adding the state of mental health care and the state of misogyny in Australia is “dire”.

“Those two things mixed together, you can see a clear path and a clear pattern. This is not at all to say that Joel Cauchi was a victim,” she said.

“But this is to say there has to be responsibility on the structures in which we live and there has to be a scaffolding that allows mental health to be a priority. There needs to be funding towards dismantling the patriarchy and constructing a robust mental healthcare system.”