Youth Ambassadors Response to NCAS Youth Report: More to be Done
ANROWS recently released their ‘National Community Attitudes towards Violence against Women Survey (NCAS)’ Youth Report which showed a significant improvement in young Australians’ attitudes to violence against women, since the 2013 survey. However, there are some disturbing key findings which showcased misunderstandings regarding gender equality and willingness to act when witnessing sexism and abuse.
We asked two of our youth Ambassadors, Fadi Aluboodi and Michael Tran, their own thoughts on youth attitudes to violence against women reflecting on the NCAS Youth Report.
Q: As White Ribbon Ambassadors, one of your primary roles is to engage with your peers to ensure more men understand the issue of men’s violence against women. In terms of awareness about the issue, what are your thoughts on the findings in the report?
A: We think that awareness of the issue has gotten better. The issue of violence against women has been communicated more through primary prevention initiatives, news, and social media to educate youth and the general public about what is acceptable and not acceptable in an intimate relationship, as well as the importance of gender equality and maintaining respectful relationships.
Overall, the report shows that young Australians have an improved level of knowledge of the different forms that violence against women can take, than reported in 2013. This indicates that Australia is on the right path towards eliminating the common attitudes and trends influencing violence against women.
We were surprised to read though that nearly one in four young people disagree that violence against women is common. There also appears to be low awareness that controlling behaviours are a form of violence and abuse. Less than 80% among males recognise technological and financial control of the partner as forms of violence against women. One out of ten young men do not think stalking is a form of violence against women and 14% of young men do not understand that harassment by repeated emails and/or text messages is domestic violence.
Based on these findings, we believe that there is still a lot that needs to be done in order to eliminate domestic violence, promote gender equality and foster respectful relationships.
Q: The report showed that young men are three times more likely than young women to not be bothered if a male friend told a sexist joke. Knowing how attitudes that undermine gender equality can contribute to a culture that excuses violence against women, how would you react if you heard a friend crack a sexist joke?
A: There are multiple ways in which we could approach this. Depending on the scenario, we’d pull our friend over and say something like “mate, what you said there was sexist, I’m sure you wouldn’t like it if someone said that about your mother/sister/daughter”.
Changing and challenging the stereotypes surrounding sexist jokes all starts with simple conversations. If one conversation can change the heart and mind of one individual, imagine how far society could go if we were all more conscious about the conversations we have and if we were more proactive in challenging the norms surrounding the attitudes of men towards producing sexist jokes.
Q: What would you say to other young people who are interested in getting involved in the prevention of men’s violence against women?
A: We encourage young people to get active in their communities and social groups in spreading the white ribbon message. Young people should challenge existing stereotypes, stigmas and social norms that underlie violence against women. Start a white ribbon action group, organise events and mobilise in local communities to raise awareness. Because every single conversation had, every person who joins the movement and every life saved contributes towards creating a domestic violence free future for all.
 ANROWS (2019), Young Australians’ attitudes to violence against women and gender equality: Findings from the 2017 National Community Attitudes towards Violence against Women Survey (NCAS), (ANROWS Insights, Issue 01/2019). Sydney
 Ibid. p18
 Ibid. p19
 Ibid. p33