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White Ribbon’s Statement on Sam Thaiday’s comments

White Ribbon Australia along with its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Reference Group wish to share the following statement about comments made by Sam Thaiday on Channel 9’s The Footy Show:

“The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women from the White Ribbon Reference Group would like to send a clear message that inappropriate comments or jokes similar to the comments made by Sam Thaiday sadly reinforce negative behaviour and attitudes towards women. It is important that we continue to challenge unacceptable behaviours in our community and it is comforting to see so many people on social media condemning Sam comments. It’s also important links between banter and violence are understood.  Indigenous women are 35 times more likely to be hospitalised from violence than non-indigenous women.”

Chair of White Ribbon Australia, Nicholas Cowdery AM QC, has also responded to Sam’s comments:

“Sam Thaiday’s comments were unacceptable, as both playing upon racial stereotypes and demeaning women as objects for the excitement of men, rather than as equal and fully autonomous beings. This illustrates the power of disrespectful language, especially when used by role models to young men, to demean women and reinforce abuse supportive attitudes in our society. That it might have been intended as humorous or flippant is no defence.

We need all men to be role models in their behaviours including the use of language, standing up, speaking out and acting, to build a society based on respect, fairness and gender equality.”

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