NFSA curator Maryanne Doyle profiles the series Behind the Violence, which was produced by Sydney community radio station 2SER and broadcast across Australia in 1994.
Radio can provide a forum on sensitive issues such as violence against women, where information and personal stories can raise awareness and encourage positive action.
This clip is an introduction to the award-winning four-part series Behind the Violence (1994), which explores community attitudes towards violence against women:
Across the series, Behind the Violence gives voice to survivors of violence, documents how women are presented in the media, details male attitudes to violence and looks at the effectiveness of the legal system in dealing with the needs of women.
This clip from Behind the Violence, Episode 1: A Violent Society features interviews with experts and both perpetrators and survivors of violence:
Behind the Violence had its origins in the National Committee on Violence Against Women that started in the early 1990s. This committee was made up of representatives of state and federal governments, community and police.
The committee’s findings led to the development of a national strategy to stop violence against women that was launched by Prime Minister Paul Keating in 1992. As part of this strategy, the Office of the Status of Women within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet funded a community education program which included the production of a radio series.
Cath Dwyer, currently the Manager of Radio and Radio National at the ABC, coordinated the series:
'We all believed (and still do) in the importance of people telling their own stories in their own words, and of the power of stories to change lives – for the storytellers, listeners (especially those affected by violence) and hopefully policymakers too. We were all incredibly proud of this series, I was very lucky to be working with such wonderful producers who were and are very talented.'
This clip from Behind the Violence, Episode Three: Women and the Media includes comments from celebrated journalist Anne Deveson, who was the Chair of the National Working Party on the Portrayal of Women in the Media:
Behind the Violence won a Public Broadcasting of Australia Association award in 1994 and was a finalist in the New York Festivals Radio Awards in 1995. The series demonstrates the influence of the second wave of feminism on government policy and public debate of the 1990s.
It also showcases the skill of the producers who had learnt their craft in the community radio sector. Episode producers on the series were Jackie Randles, Gwen Nettlefold, Nick McLaren, Lynda McCaffery and Andrea Connor.
Behind the Violence is preserved in the NFSA’s diverse radio collection along with other programs broadcast by Sydney community radio station 2SER. Decades later, 2SER continues its commitment to progressive goals of social change, access and diversity.