November 25 marks both the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and White Ribbon Day. It is a day for men all around the world to take a stand and pledge to do all they can to end violence against women. I took the pledge last year and felt pretty good about myself however I didn’t appreciate just how significant a problem this is. I didn’t consider Australia to be a country where “real violence” occurred all that often however it seems I was sadly mistaken.
This was especially driven home as I watched the terrible footage of that poor French woman in Melbourne copping the torrent of racist and violent abuse this week. What is perhaps the scariest thing about this is that there were a number of young men encouraging the abuse and seemingly intent on taking it further and further. Now I am sure they didn’t think anything of it and it was “just a laugh” but you can see how quickly it escalated.
There are some appalling statistics that were released in a recent White Ribbon Report and I am still struggling to get to grips on it.
- Almost 1 in 3 women will be the victim of violence at the hands of a man
- One in seven boys (aged 12-20) believe it’s all right to force a girl to have sex if she was flirting
- One in three boys believes most violence against women occurs because the woman provoked it
- One in three year 10 girls who’ve had sex, have had unwanted (i.e. coerced) sex
I have 2 daughters so when I look at those numbers I am shaken. There is a 66% chance that one of my girls will experience this. That they will be abused or intimidated or harassed by someone. So I need to try and do something about it if I want things to change. I have taken the White Ribbon pledge. I have pledged to think before I speak, to not stand by if I see someone behaving in an abusive way, to encourage other men around me to do the same and to hopefully influence others to be respectful towards women.
This is about being conscious of what I see, say and do and ensuring that I am a strong and positive example of how you treat women with respect. I have taken the pledge, what about you?
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/amydianna/4132992017/”>Amy Dianna</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>