I’m guessing you don’t need me to tell you what happened to Eurydice Dixon. The whole nation seems to be in a state of shock, and rightfully so.
Everybody has their own way of understanding, coping with, and responding to tragedy, and that’s OK. However, of all the responses we’ve seen in recent days, only one can actually prevent future tragedies like this from occurring. That is, for us – the everyday men of Australia – to stand up, speak out and act to prevent men’s violence against women.
Don’t agree? Well, let me ask you a few questions:
When was the last time you felt afraid, powerless or unsafe?
In the street? At work? At home? Anywhere?
This week? This month? This year? Ever?
Believe me, if it has ever happened to you, you’d know.
Imagine if you were made to feel afraid, powerless or unsafe regularly enough that you planned for it, just in case. For example, by carrying your keys in one hand and phone in the other as you walk home, uncertain of who you might encounter. Sound familiar?
Violence occurs when someone is hurt or made to feel afraid, powerless or unsafe. It can be physical, emotional or psychological. Anyone can experience it and it happens across communities, ages, cultures and sexes.
No one is immune and it’s more likely to happen at home than in public.
While it’s true that most men are not violent, abusive or disrespectful, we have all seen and will know those who are. To stop violence against women, well-meaning men must do more than merely avoid perpetrating violence themselves.
If we do nothing, nothing will change.
We must pursue equitable and respectful relationships. We must challenge the violence of other men. We must demonstrate that being ‘a man’ means being someone who lives by the values of respect, inclusion and equality. Should we fail or refuse to do this, we will not be perpetrators but perpetuators who chose to let violence continue.
Changing attitudes and behaviour will take time but if we succeed it will be time well spent, and lives saved.
So, what small act can you do, starting right now, to make a difference? To begin with, do what most of us have done all our life: love, respect and protect women. If you can do that, then try to do the following:
Of the facts. Know the facts about violence against women.
Of yourself. Have the confidence to explore your own actions, beliefs, and opinions, confront your faults and make a plan to improve.
Of victim-blaming. Learn what it is and how to recognise it. Tell others.
When it matters. Call out bad behaviour and safely challenge others who overstep the line.
Talk with women and girls…
About their experiences. Be willing to listen and learn.
About your own behaviour. You may not see the impact that your words and deeds are having.
Talk with men and boys…
About the problem. Learn how the issue touches their lives.
About how to respond. Empower them to call it out.
Early, and often. Mentor and teach one another about how to be men in ways that don’t involve degrading or abusing girls and women.
If you question what impact any of the above actions can have, give one of them a try today and see for yourself. I did, and the response indicated that I still have work to do. When it comes to tackling such a big problem, we all have work to do.
Everybody has their own way of understanding, coping with, and responding to tragedy. But you have a choice. You can remain in the silent majority of men who disapprove of violence but do little to prevent it. Or, you can stand up, speak out and act to help all Australians live a better life.
Prevention is the first step to ending violence against women.
Tips for men
White Ribbon Australia’s CEO, Libby Davies, reminds all Australians, especially men of all ages, that there are practical actions which they can take, behaviours they can change, and support that they can provide to reduce all forms of violence towards women.
“Our community is rightfully angry and frustrated as we mourn the loss of Eurydice Dixon to senseless violence,” Ms Davies said.
“This is compounded with the knowledge that sadly she isn’t alone, as each week a woman loses her life and thousands of families are impacted by the devastation of violence against women.
“There is no excuse, and men need to shoulder most of the responsibility as we address the root causes with a whole-of-community approach. In some areas, we need to rip the root out of the ground and start again with an emphasis on prevention.
“Regardless of your position in your community, or the importance of your relationships, there is no excuse NOT to speak up and act. We can’t leave it to the other guy or excuse the need for every man to role model the behaviour society expects.”
Men need to stand up and speak out, and incorporate one or all of the following actions and tips into their day to day lives.
“The evidence shows us that when men of any age act and speak up they do start the process of behaviour change,” Ms Davies added.
If you are with some friends, and someone says something which makes you uncomfortable, or that you feel is wrong, you can say something like: “Sorry, I missed that”, “what did you say?” or “I’m not sure what you mean”.
2. ‘Bring it home’
Sometimes, people forget they are talking about a real person. You can challenge them with the following: “What if this was your sister/daughter/son?”
This will remind them that they are talking about a real person and will help change the conversation.
Asking a question helps people think about what they said. It is important to say this in assertive and calm manner.
3. ‘I believe’
This is a great way to give your opinion. You can say something like: “I believe abusing a woman is wrong.” Using “I” instead of “you” is easier for people to hear because it is not attacking anyone. People will feel less defensive and accept the opinion.
4. ‘We believe’
Have you ever found yourself in a situation with a group of people and you feel uncomfortable about what is being said? You’re probably not the only one who thought it was wrong.
You could ask: “Am I the only one uncomfortable with this?”
This lets others know that they are not alone and will encourage them to speak up.
Talk to the person privately about what they said or did and its effect on others. This increases the chance that they will listen to what you say. They won’t feel the need to defend themselves in front of other people.
It is not always easy to identify if you or someone you know is experiencing violence or is in an abusive relationship. Below is a list of signs of abuse. These behaviours are typical of the jealousy, controlling behaviour, put downs, threats and violence that occurs in abusive, disrespectful relationships.
Unfairly and regularly accuses her of flirting or being unfaithful
Controls how she spends money
Decides what she wears or eats
Humiliates her in front of other people
Makes sexist jokes against women
Monitors what she is doing, including reading her emails and text messages
Discourages or prevents her from seeing friends and family
Threatens to hurt her, the children or pets
Physically assaults her (hitting, biting, slapping, kicking, pushing)
Decides what she uses for birth control
Constantly criticises her intelligence, mental health and appearance
Isolation in the workplace
In general, it is also everyone’s responsibility to speak up and act when they witness anyone disrespect any women in any circumstance. We encourage you to put the above tips into practice.
Beyond these personal actions and tips, White Ribbon encourages every man to ask the question about what is being done in their community (workplace, children’s school, community group) to prevent all forms of violence against women.
World’s first inquiry into sexual harassment in Australian workplaces has to happen
White Ribbon Australia CEO, Libby Davies, has welcomed today’s announcement of a world-first Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces by Australian Human Rights Commissioner, Kate Jenkins, and Minister for Women, Kelly O’Dwyer, saying it is the necessary response to the revelations which triggered the #MeToo movement.
“With one in five women (1) experiencing harassment within Australian workplaces, it is well past time for our country to investigate the true extent of harassment, and to look to the evidence-based solutions that are showing positive organisational culture change,” said CEO, Libby Davies.
“Violence against women is a workplace issue affecting the health, safety and wellbeing of employees, organisational culture and reputation, and the bottom line.
Research into employees and employer attitudes to workplace culture change reports 94 per cent (2) of employees agree that employers should take a leadership role in educating their workplace about respectful relationships between men and women.
“It is up to managers and leaders to turn this around and create safe environments and foster positive and healthy working relationships between men and women,” Ms Davies added.
“We are pleased that the Commission’s Inquiry will examine the prevalence of incidences, take evidence from women across the country, and also use the opportunity to examine what approaches are effectively delivering the necessary changes.”
The White Ribbon Australia Workplace Accreditation Program is a world’s first violence prevention initiative focused on providing organisations with a comprehensive set of tools and strategies to actively prevent and effectively respond to men’s violence against women. Workplaces that complete the program become White Ribbon Workplaces. Accreditation is for three years. Since its commencement in 2012 there have been more than 170 accredited workplaces and the program has reached 600,000 people.
For media enquiries, please contact Irina Kamychnikova on 0426 221 550
The White Ribbon campaign is the largest global social movement to stop violence against women. It engages and enables men and boys to lead this social change. In Australia, White Ribbon is an organisation that works to prevent violence by changing the attitudes and behaviours that support men’s violence against women and gender inequality. The prevention work is driven through social marketing, the Ambassador Program and prevention initiatives across communities, in schools, workplaces, universities and sporting codes.
One in three women experience physical and/or sexual violence perpetrated by someone known to them. (3)
One in five women experience harassment within the workplace. (4)
94% of employees agree employers should take a leadership role in educating their workplace about respectful relationships between men and women. (5)
In a recent survey, 48% of respondents who had experienced domestic violence disclosed it to a manager or supervisor, and only 10% found their response helpful. (6)
Disclosure is often a traumatic experience for victims of violence, but it can also be a stressful time for supervisors receiving the disclosure. Training and support is critical.
The Australian Government estimates that domestic violence costs the business and corporate sector about $1.5 billion per annum. The direct cost to employers in terms of staff absenteeism, lost productivity replacement staff costs and misused workplace resources is estimated to cost $465 million per annum. (7)
Most workplaces will employ current, former or potential perpetrators and victims of domestic violence, using workplace practices to educate, deter and support in a structured social setting is critical.
Of those who reported experiencing family violence: nearly half the respondents reported that the violence affected their capacity to get to work—the major reason being physical injury or restraint; and in the last 12 months, 19% reported that family violence continued in the workplace, with 12% indicating it occurred in the form of abusive phone calls and emails, and 11% stating that it occurred by way of the violent person attending the workplace. (8)
White Ribbon Chair appoints Tracy McLeod Howe as new CEO of White Ribbon Australia.
This morning, White Ribbon Australia Chair Nicholas Cowdery AM QC, announced the appointment of the organisation’s new CEO, Tracy McLeod Howe, following the retirement of Libby Davies AM, effective 5th July 2018.
Ms McLeod Howe brings with her extensive experience and expertise in government and non-government settings, including previous roles as CEO of the NSW Council of Social Services (NCOSS), CEO of Domestic Violence NSW and senior legal advisor to the Federal Government.
“We are delighted to welcome Ms McLeod Howe as the new CEO of White Ribbon Australia. Her experience at Domestic Violence NSW and most recently at NCOSS will be of great benefit to the organisation and to our campaign as a social movement working to end men’s violence against women,” Mr Cowdery said.
“Ms McLeod Howe brings with her a wealth of knowledge in this sector, having worked in frontline women’s and children’s domestic and family services and having served on a number of advisory committees, including the NSW Government’s Social Impact Investment Expert Advisory Group and the NSW Domestic and Family Violence Council. Ms McLeod Howe was also the NSW non-government representative on the National Plan Implementation Panel for the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children.”
Mr Cowdery says that White Ribbon Australia will continue to build on its internationally recognised and well validated foundations. “We will continue to deliver and expand on our programs that, through best practice and well-developed program logic, are creating positive social change and making a difference in this vital area of social policy and practice.
“As CEO of White Ribbon Australia for the past seven years Ms Davies has been responsible for growing this critical social change movement to be the leading organization for reducing violence against women and families in Australia. Libby has played a central role in advocating for the need to engage and motivate men to stand beside women to prevent men’s violence against women.
Her stewardship has been supported by her thorough working knowledge of the way the causes of violence against women interconnect, the root causes of gender inequality, and of the domestic and family violence policy landscape,” Mr Cowdery said.
Ms McLeod Howe has thanked outgoing CEO Libby Davies AM. “Ms Davies’ commitment to driving social change in this field is truly admirable. I am looking forward to continuing to build on the organisation’s foundations as developed and strengthened by Ms Davies.”
The White Ribbon Australia Board are looking forward to officially welcoming Ms McLeod Howe when she commences on the 16th July.
About the White Ribbon Australia Fatherhood Program
With the support of the Australian Government, White Ribbon Australia is launching the Fatherhood Program. For many men, fatherhood is a time of transformation that inspires a deeper understanding about the importance of their role to act as positive agents of social change.
This whole-of-community program will be engaging men – as fathers, soon to be fathers, or those in father figure roles – to model and foster positive and respectful attitudes and behaviours towards girls and women. White Ribbon Australia will be engaging men from all cultural backgrounds across Australia through their involvement in White Ribbon Australia events and programs and interactions with White Ribbon Australia Ambassadors.
Expert Reference Group (Voluntary)
The ‘Expert Reference Group’ will be established to guide the development and implementation of the White Ribbon Australia Fatherhood Program Activity Work Plan. For the full position descriptionclick here.
How to apply
Expression of Interest (EOI) for the White Ribbon Australia Fatherhood Program ‘Expert Reference Group’ must be lodged by Saturday 30th June 2018 with Ron Mitchell, Fatherhood Program Coordinator, White Ribbon Australia, via email on:firstname.lastname@example.org
The EOI should include:
A brief CV/resume outlining your relevant experience and qualifications.
A brief statement addressing the following selection criteria (1-2 pages).
The name and contact details of a referee who has worked with you professionally.
Demonstrated expertise in various aspects of the prevention of men’s violence against women.
The commitment to inclusive practices that engage with and educate men in a national campaign.
Demonstrated experience in the development of innovative training programs and resources.
The commitment to maintain confidentially while sharing information, ideas and expertise.
All EOIs received by the due date will be evaluated against the selection criteria by White Ribbon Australia and the applicants will be informed about the outcome.