Fury over 'disgusting' fireys claim
A women's rights activist has sparked anger after warning some firefighters will return home from the bushfire crisis in Queensland and News South Wales to beat their partners.
Sherele Moody made the comments alongside Greens senator Larissa Waters at a press conference on Wednesday.
"After a cataclysmic event like this, domestic violence peaks," she said.
"Women become extremely unsafe, when generally the men return home from the fires and subject them to domestic violence."
In a Facebook post, Ms Moody doubled down on her comments.
"There's not one Aussie whose heart isn't going out to the country's firefighters, emergency services crews and the people who live in the areas where the fires are burning," she wrote.
"But what happens after some heroes go home? What happens when domestic violence perpetrators finish their work on the frontline of a major crisis? They abuse the women in their lives - harder than they ever have," she wrote.
"Let me be clear. I am not saying every firefighter, emergency service responder or victim of this crisis is a perpetrator."
"However, those who are in these roles and do perpetrate family abuse are more likely to attack their loved ones following natural disasters," she said.
"No-one wants to view our fire heroes and survivors in a negative light - I totally get that," she added.
"But we do need to have these discussions in order to keep women safe because they are at a very high risk of being maimed or killed."
Ms Moody said her claims were backed by research conducted after the 2009 Black Saturday fires in Victoria, although researcher Dr Debra Parkinson told 7 News the study never made specific findings about firefighters.
"We absolutely distance ourselves from the statement made by Sherele Moody that it is firefighters doing it. She does not speak for us," Senator Waters later told 7.
FIREFIGHTER LABELS COMMENTS 'DISGUSTING'
Tim Edward, who said he'd been a firefighter for 10 years, labelled Ms Moody's comments "disgusting" on Facebook.
"I don't go home and belt my wife up, I go home and make our favourite coffee and talk to her and give her a hug," he said.
"How dare you take the statistics of cataclysmic violence, which are very well correct, and turn that around on male firefighters being proponents of partner abuse after big jobs."
The post was inundated with vitriolic comments directed at Moody, however some agreed, with Lisa Love saying "this is an important conversation to have."
"All too often the brave emergency services people, who are absolute hero's walk away without adequate support. Many of them end up with ptsd," she wrote.
"It's not all of them and it's not limited to them, but it's a fact that after these catastrophic disasters the incidents of domestic violence rise significantly. If we can't talk about this then there will be no awareness and nothing will be done to help anyone."
Another commenter, Alison Mayer, recalled how her father developed a temper after helping defend homes on Ash Wednesday.
"It was like living on a volcano with no seismic monitoring equipment. His reactions were disproportionate, cruel, and baffling," she said.
"It was not until I began experiencing PTSD from Black Saturday that I began to imagine PTSD might have changed him."
POLICE SUSPECT SEVERAL FIRES 'DELIBERATELY LIT'
Meanwhile at least 300 homes have been damaged or destroyed in the fires since Friday last week.
NSW Police suspect several fires may have been deliberately lit and have urged anyone who might have seen anything suspicious to come forward.
"It's awful, it angers every firefighter and angers everybody in the community," NSW RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons told reporters on Wednesday.
Police are investigating at least 12 fires from Oxley, south of Brisbane, to Sydney's Sutherland Shire.