Concluding Irrelevant Society

When it comes to violence against women, at Irrelevant Society we believe in giving second chances to men instead of shaming. We encourage awareness and early preventions, as well as fostering behavioural change; because hatred is not an answer to violence. However, I speculate that gender-based violence is more complex than I thought. Which is why I have decided to conclude our venture with Irrelevant Society.

My name is Ie Erlina, and I’m the person behind the Irrelevant Society. The following story contains some references about family violence. If you sense this might be triggering for you please give it a miss. If not, I hope my story can make a difference. So, I invite you to spare 5 minutes and read on.

Our last social post was July, 25th 2021. My apologies for the long absence of noise for this important cause. Maybe it’s COVID, disorientation from the pandemic, fear, or even laziness that caused it. If I’m honest, it is probably all of the above. Plus one more significant reason.

Like many people, the stress of working from home (and dealing with people who are stressed from working from home) takes up a lot of energy. I’m fortunate to be able to have a job; but managing a full-time role and running a small business was difficult, let alone when it is seasoned with a pandemic. On top of this was the news from overseas that my father has passed away. With border shuts and movements restricted to 1 hour a day within 5K radius, it was hard to meet and grieve with loved ones, let alone to attend his funeral.

My father was the sixth child out of seven. He was an intelligent man, a visionary and a naturally gifted entrepreneur. Growing up, we were used to seeing him dressed in premium clothing. He was always known to have an expensive taste. My father was a true foodie before foodie was a thing. He would drive for miles to treat us and teach us what good food is. Sometimes he would come home late with take outs and wake us all up to eat ‘while it’s hot’. We loved the excuse to stay up late on school nights. And like most dad’s, we have distinct memories of his jokes – mostly fart jokes! I still remember his rascal and almost maniacal laughs.

My earliest memory of him broke my heart. My father, as brilliant as he was, had many destructive weaknesses that broke our family apart. One of them was his bad temper. But now looking back, I could name it as it is, he was an abusive father and husband. We witnessed domestic violence day-in and day-out. 

It’s strange to see how quick we are to grace an act of bravery these days. I fear that we use it so often it begins to lose the weight of its meaning. To me bravery is my mother. I see her as a courageous woman who endured beating, insults and emotional violation for years – all for the sake of us, the kids. I knew there were times where she despised her own life. She was brave for not only leaving an abusive partner – as many who are in this position know that this could put her life at higher risk; but also leaving us behind momentarily when the time was right.

Our mother, 1980s

I founded Irrelevant Society in her honour. Or at least that is what I thought until I lost my father. 

By the time my parent’s marriage eventually ended, I found my faith and have learned forgiveness and grace. My relationship with my father had been on the mend. It’s not a smooth reconciliation and there was still a lot of heartache, but I have learned to accept his two polar opposite sides. Last time I saw him, I saw regret and pain in his eyes. 

After his death, I spent 14 months thinking about Irrelevant Society and what it stands for. In my conviction through Irrelevant Society, I’ve always believed in giving second chances rather than shaming. One of the charities we support – the Breathing Space program by Communicare, reflected this conviction. That hasn’t changed, because hatred is never the answer for violence.

I’m not saying that a violence behaviour shouldn’t go unpunished. As I wrote this, many women live in terror and countless lose their lives in the hand of their partners. The statistic is horrifying. Family violence is just one form of violence against women, there is Femicide in Mexico, child sex-trafficking in hidden corners of the world, genital mutilations and we haven’t even begin with the abuse of women’s rights in Afghanistan. 

My father’s death made me realised that violence against women is deeper than just raising awareness, early prevention and giving a second chance for men. As the matter of the issue is more complex than that and I don’t claim to know the answer.

From this reflection, I sense that my time at Irrelevant Society has come to an end. I have decided to take a different lane and equip myself to see where I can use my personal experience to make a difference – further than Sydney and beyond our shores. Closing this chapter of my conviction through Irrelevant Society is a necessary way forward and to use it as a study leave.

It is a big task to take on for just one person. But yet again, I stand with what we always believe at Irrelevant Society – to see an end to violence against women. And though the road seems long we agree with Mr Mandela, ‘it always seems impossible until it is done’.

In closing, I’d like to thank both of my parents – who each inspire Irrelevant Society in different ways.


Note: If you like our clothing, we will be doing a lot of clearance. Keep an eye out for closing down sales! Our commitment to give 20% of the profits to support our charities will still stand.

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