At the office of Safe Steps, Victoria's dedicated 24/7 family violence response call centre, phone counsellors receive a call every three minutes. Many women are repeat callers - on average, they will go back to an abusive partner eight times before leaving for good. 'You must get so frustrated when you think a woman's ready to leave and then she decides to go back,' I say. 'No,' replies one phone counsellor, pointedly. 'I'm frustrated that even though he promised to stop, he chose to abuse her again.'
Domestic abuse is a national emergency: one in four Australian women has experienced violence from a man she was intimate with. But too often we ask the wrong question: why didn’t she leave? We should be asking: why did he do it?
Investigative journalist Jess Hill puts perpetrators - and the systems that enable them - in the spotlight. See What You Made Me Do is a deep dive into the abuse so many women and children experience - abuse that is often reinforced by the justice system they trust to protect them. Critically, it shows that we can drastically reduce domestic violence - not in generations to come, but today.
Combining forensic research with riveting story-telling, See What You Made Me Do radically rethinks how to confront the national crisis of fear and abuse in our homes.
Winner of the 2020 Stella Prize.