According to a Sydney Morning Herald article published in March on International Women’s Day, one woman dies every week from domestic violence in Australia in 2014. In NSW, 24 women were killed last year in domestic-related incidents. Of all homicides in NSW, 42 per cent are domestic. One woman is hospitalised every three hours across the country.
Access Economics has estimated about 1.6 million Australian women have experienced domestic violence in some form.
That’s just the official toll. Less than half the abuse is reported.
As NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione says: “These are mothers, your daughters, your sisters, wives, girlfriends, these are the people who work at the desk next to you at work. These are real people and they are horrifying numbers.”
Behind the veneer of social respectability across all demographics, women are suffering from physical, psychological, manipulative and controlling behaviour by culprits. It emanates from a mindset that blames the victim and tolerates disrespect for those who are of another gender, background, lifestyle or simply powerless.
Children are being assaulted, traumatised and used as weapons.
Change will require challenging the culture of saying nothing.
For so long the fear of social ostracism or economic desolation prompted women in particular not to report their dire situations. Witnesses felt it was a private matter or feared retribution.
There must be must be more protection of whistleblowers who lift the veil of secrecy.
True, more women today are economically independent and most know there are services out there to help if partners become abusive. Some take the risk of speaking out and refuse to be demeaned. But fewer still make the flight to safety or use the support of courts and the police to remain in their own homes.
Most live in fear of being tracked down by their abuser. Men have to help us fight this fight.
One such group is the White Ribbon. Last week, November 25th was the White Ribbon Day in Australia. White Ribbon is Australia’s only national, male led Campaign to end men’s violence against women. Already, there are over 150,000 people in and supporting the cause of White Ribbon Australia.
All women live in safety, free from all forms of men’s violence.
Making women’s safety a man’s issue too.
The campaign works through primary prevention initiatives involving awareness raising and education, and programs with youth, schools, workplaces and across the broader community.
Globally, White Ribbon is the world’s largest male-led movement to end men’s violence against women. Originating in Canada in 1991, White Ribbon is now active in more than 60 countries.
White Ribbon began in Australia in 2003 as part of UNIFEM (now UN Women), formally becoming a Foundation in 2007.
White Ribbon Australia observes the International Day of the Elimination of Violence against Women, also known as White Ribbon Day, annually on November 25. White Ribbon Day signals the start of the 16 Days of Activism to Stop Violence against Women, which ends on Human Rights Day (December 10).
However the campaign runs all year and is evident across the community through, for example, advertising and marketing campaigns such as Uncover Secrets, social media, community events
To support White Ribbon Australia, visit: http://www.whiteribbon.org.au/what-is-white-ribbon