THE Irish singer Brian McFadden has enraged anti-domestic violence campaigners with a tweet saying women who stayed in violent relationships were "pathetic".
On Friday night the former Westlife singer tweeted to more than 230,000 followers: "Men who hit women are pathetic. Women who make excuses and stay with the guy are just as bad."
The feminist and sociologist Eva Cox berated the axed Australia's Got Talent judge, saying the tweet was "very immature" and "silly".
"Domestic violence is very complex and women in those circumstances are told it's their own fault, they get convinced they're inadequate, ugly, and made to feel guilty," she said. "We need to support the women and say it's not right and you're not the cause of it."
By Saturday afternoon the post had been repeatedly retweeted and attracted replies from upset fans, such as: "That shows a complete lack of understanding of the intricacies of domestic violence."
Karen Willis, the executive officer at the NSW Rape Crisis Centre, said reaction to McFadden's tweet showed attitudes towards domestic violence had changed for the better.
"A lot is being done and we're developing an understanding of the difference between men who are violent generally and violence women experience," Ms Willis said. "Domestic violence means there is mental, emotional, social, financial control over a women's life."
Ms Willis said if Mr McFadden's friend was the offender, he would need to tell his friend their actions were unacceptable and should seek treatment.
"If his friend is the victim, they need to seek help and understand it's not their fault," she said.
Ms Cox said McFadden "ought to grow up and be more responsible and not jump to stupid conclusion".
On White Ribbon Day last month, a campaign to end violence against women, NSW police said more than 128,000 domestic violence incidents had occurred last year.
In Australia one woman is killed every week by a current or former partner and one in three women over the age of 15 will report physical or sexual violence at some point in their lives.
McFadden has two young girls, Molly and Marie, with first wife Kerry Katona, and in September married the Irish DJ Vogue Williams in Italy.
On Saturday evening he McFadden apologised to anyone who was upset by his tweet.
"It's just one of my friends is in that situation and it made me angry," he tweeted.