What can men do? The first step to ending violence against women
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.
Here are a few tips, actions and facts:
1. ‘Make it Clear’
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.
For those who wish to learn more and to TAKE ACTION, the first step can be to take the FREE e-learning module on White Ribbon’s website.
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.