There are has been anger and dismay at Lifeline, an organisation which offers 24/7 mental health and suicide prevention assistance at inviting feminist speaker and writer Clementine Ford to be a panellist for their event Recognise, Respond, Refer: Domestic Violence is Everyone’s Business in Melbourne.
Lifeline has been in existence since 1963 and receives one million calls for help each year. To this point, it was a respected organisation and considered vital to the nation’s strategy in treating mental health. Whenever a media story is broadcast about mental health issues or suicides the number for Lifeline 13 11 14 is included at the end.
Clementine Ford in her writing, speaking and social media commentary has a history of outright man-hating, this included insulting a group of schoolboys she gave a presentation to when they asked her challenging questions. She publicly shamed a disabled man who was simply talking to a woman on public transport, she also got a man fired from his job for sending her an abusive message.
At the more extreme end, she has published numerous tweets stating #killallmen. When confronted about these tweets which incite hatred and violence by Daisy Cousens on Hack Live in 2017 Ford stated she was just trolling.
When contacted by the Daily Mail about these tweets on Monday Ford again claimed they were satirical and published a statement on her Facebook page in an attempt to outline the context of these tweets.
Given that Ford’s commentary is hardly sympathetic to mental well being of men there is pressure on Lifeline to have her removed as a speaker. A petition has been created on change.org by Adam Smith which now has over 10,000 signatures. People have also vowed to withdraw their donations from Lifeline, which makes up 13% of its funding unless Ford is removed.
Lifeline has defended their decision to include Ford as a panellist in a statement to Mark Latham’s Outsiders “It is commonplace for a range of views and perspectives to occur in a discussion panel. Lifeline does not necessarily agree with any particular panel member or commentator’s views”.
But of course there is a difference between a disagreement on views and giving a platform to someone whose rhetoric could have the effect of more men needing to rely on lifeline services. Think of dads in custody cases accused of heinous crimes or male victims of domestic violence.
This is not the first time a mental health organisation which men rely upon has engaged the services of a misandrist. Julia Gillard was appointed the Chair of beyondblue despite during her time as Prime Minister accusing people who were critical of her of being misogynist and unleashing the current wave freightbat feminists who have toxifed gender relations. In one of her first interviews as Chair Gillard speculated Donald Trump may be mentally ill.
Lifeline’s decision to include Ford as speaker appears to be another example of our national institutions, even health organisations being captured by the progressive left and giving leftist commentators platforms to promote their ideological agenda.