Jess Hill – See What You Made Me Do

Image description: Image of Jess Hill, Author of See What You Made Me Do, in thumbnail with the words Women at Work with Samantha Sutherland, next to a headshot of Samantha Sutherland

Investigative journalist Jess Hill wrote the award-winning See What You Made Me Do, about the national emergency of domestic abuse in Australia. It’s a riveting but deeply distressing look at the real-life stories of women and children, how the justice system enables abusers, and hope for reducing violence through community intervention.

This recording was done live at a book reading at Ariel Books. 

Please note there is a content warning on this episode. It’s incredibly important listening, but it’s also upsetting at points, and we discuss family violence and child abuse. 

In this episode we discuss:

  • Humiliation as the core of domestic abuse 
  • The definition of coercive control and the 8 behaviours that men display that are not typical “violence” 
  • The first time coercive control was identified at the end of the Cold War with allied POW defection
  • The difficulties women face leaving abusive relationships
  • The links between shame, entitlement and abuse
  • How men are impacted by patriarchal ideals in a negative way and the “normal traumitisation of boys” 
  • The emotions that often lead men to violence, which are vulnerability, then shame, then anger
  • Jess’ message from her book is to tell abuse survivors, you’re not alone, and for perpetrators that understanding the systems of abuse can help break the cycle
  • The surprising nuance that solving gender equality doesn’t solve domestic abuse
  • The expectations we put on men within relationships and how women also impact behavioural change 
  • How profound and difficult the process of writing See What You Made Me Do was for Jess, and how it impacted her own relationship and learning
  • The family court system and its extreme failings in cases of abuse 
  • The success of focused deterrence in places where the justice system and family system worked closely together to rehabilitate abusers
Image description: Quote from conversation with Jess Hill that says, “If you interrupt the violence you are able to do much more around changing norms and attitudes. You can’t change culture with the violence that we see, with 1 in 4 children growing up in a domestic abuse household.”

About Jess Hill

Jess Hill is an investigative journalist who has been writing and researching about domestic abuse since 2014. Before that, Jess was a producer for ABC Radio, a Middle East correspondent for The Global Mail, and an investigative journalist for Background Briefing. Jess was listed in Foreign Policy’s top 100 women to follow on Twitter, and also as one of 30 most influential people under 30 by Cosmopolitan magazine (two publications rarely listed in the same sentence). Her reporting has won two Walkley awards, an Amnesty International award and three Our Watch awards. SEE WHAT YOU MADE ME DO, a book on domestic abuse, is now in stores.

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To learn more about what I can do to help you move the dial on gender equality in your workplace, click the button below.

You’re very good at what you do. Everyone loved your energy and was really impressed.

Sophie Anning, Corporate Affairs Director, MARS Petcare

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