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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:

You can also visit our Factsheets page for further information.

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.

5. ‘Talk’

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.

Some examples

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.

Learn more about what you can do here.

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White Ribbon welcomes the AHRC Inquiry into Workplace Sexual Harassment

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.

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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)

(1) Australian Human Rights Commission (2008). Sexual Harassment Guide. Retrieved from: http://bit.ly/1upBypH © White Ribbon Australia 2014
(2) Pennay, D & Powell, A. (2012). The role of bystander knowledge, attitudes and behaviours in preventing violence against women: A full technical report. The Social Research Centre. Melbourne.
(3) Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2013). Personal Safety, Australia, 2012, cat. no. 4906.0. Retrieved from: http://bit.ly/1kK5e0I © White Ribbon Australia 2014
(4) Australian Human Rights Commission (2008). Sexual Harassment Guide. Retrieved from: http://bit.ly/1upBypH © White Ribbon Australia 2014
(5) Pennay, D. & Powell, A. (2012). The role of bystander knowledge, attitudes and behaviours in preventing violence against women: A full technical report. The Social Research Centre. Melbourne. Retrieved from: http://bit.ly/1osZjYt © White Ribbon Australia 2014
(6) McFerran, L. (2011). Safe at Home, Safe at Work? National Domestic violence and the workplace survey. Australian Domestic and Family Violence Clearinghouse. Retrieved from: https://www.arts.unsw.edu.au/media/FASSFile/National_Domestic_Violence_and_the_Workplace_Su rvey_2011_Full_Report.pdf p. 13.
(7) National Council to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children (2009). The cost of violence against women and their children. 8 ADFVC, ADFVC National Domestic Violence and the Workplace Survey (2011).
(8) ADFVC, ADFVC National Domestic Violence and the Workplace Survey (2011).

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Chair of White Ribbon Australia announces new CEO

White Ribbon Chair appoints TracyMcLeod Howe as new CEO of White Ribbon Australia.

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.

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Letter: Stopping dowry related abuse and violence

To Whom It May Concern:

This letter is in support of the movement to make dowry abuse a global and United Nations’ issue in order to effectively prevent dowry related violence and abuse of women from immigrant communities.

White Ribbon Australia supports the advocacy work of Dr Manjula O’Connor, who together with like-minded individuals and organisations, is working to raise awareness of the issue of Dowry abuse internationally and establish legal deterrents to its practice.

Dr O’Connor is passionate about gender equality, domestic violence awareness and victim support both locally and abroad. Her advocacy to end men’s violence against women occurs across the breadth of her spheres of influence and is backed by sound research, deep professional knowledge and cultural understanding.

Dr Manjula O’Connor, is the Founding Director of Australasian Centre for Human Rights and Health and a White Ribbon Australia Advocate.

White Ribbon Australia strongly condemns any form of violence against women and works to change the attitudes and behaviours associated with male privilege and power that result in this violence. We acknowledge and identify that Dowry is a cultural practice that has its genesis in gender inequality and is the result of male privilege and men’s violence against women. Dowry, as an ancient cultural practice originated from India, where parents gifted their daughter jewellery and/or cash at her wedding. It began at a time when women were not financially independent. Some interpretations suggest that Dowry was payment to the daughter in lieu of inheritance. In modern India, the inheritance is equally divided between sons and daughters and the Dowry Prohibition Act was passed in 1961. This should have eradicated this practice, however, the practice of dowry has now spread across the world. When a woman marries a man living abroad, her husband can command a premium Dowry. This financial abuse, demanding more and ongoing dowry payments, can escalate to physical, sexual, emotional, psychological abuse, social isolation, sometimes leading to the bride’s death.

Dr O’Connor has mobilized the Victorian Government, presenting evidence of dowry abuse to the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence (2016). Her advocacy resulted in the Royal Commission Recommendation 156 that states:  “The Victorian Government amend section 6 of the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Vic) to expand the statutory examples of family violence to include forced marriage and dowry related abuse (within 12 months).”

White Ribbon Australia supports Dr O’Connor’s advocacy to mobilise other Australian State and Territory Governments to put in place wider reaching legal deterrents to this practice. We also endorse this action in the global context.

This work aligns with the aim of the White Ribbon social change movement to prevent men’s violence against women. Core to the movement’s work is advocacy and programs working to change attitudes, behaviours and practices that have become normalised and that drive violence and abuse.

We urge your support of the establishment of global deterrents to Dowry practice.

Yours sincerely

Libby Davies
CEO

White Ribbon Australia

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White Ribbon Australia’s Breaking the Silence Schools program rolled out to record number of schools

The largest ever number of primary and secondary schools, a total of 115, have just completed White Ribbon Australia’s Breaking the Silence respectful relationships program.

The award-winning professional development program is a course adapted for primary and secondary schools which provides teachers with foundational knowledge, tools and strategies to ensure cultures of respect and gender equality in schools and to work with the next generation to stop men’s violence against women before it starts.

White Ribbon Australia, CEO, Libby Davies said: “We work to examine the root causes of gender-based violence, challenge behaviours, and create a cultural shift that leads us to a future without men’s violence against women.”
The program uses a mix of face-to-face workshops, eLearning and ongoing mentoring and support to enable schools to embed respectful relationships across curriculum, policies, procedures and school culture.

Amber Hitchcock of Lakemba Public School in NSW said the school saw it as an opportunity to lead a culture shift in their own community.

“We developed a K-6 program for all teachers to use in their classrooms. We also had a range of activities incorporated, including high school partnerships with our Stage 3 students working with two local high schools on White Ribbon workshops,” she said.

“We have witnessed a difference in the students’ attitude towards gender stereotypes. There is no longer the need to play boys vs girls games as the students are aware that everyone is equal. The students have also shifted the language they are using and are more conscious of the way they speak to others.”

Gai Beecher, Principal of Amaroo School in ACT, agrees that Breaking the Silence gave them a powerful platform to address negative gendered language and power imbalance in relationships with our students and staff.

“It has been great to see students and staff develop their awareness of some of the negative impacts of gender stereotypes and how this can influence our attitudes and beliefs. I believe that continued work, started through this initiative will support the school in addressing barriers for girls and boys in their social and educational lives. It will also provide us with opportunities to work through challenges together as a school community and allow our students to be respectful, confident and successful now and in the future,” Ms Beecher said.

Breaking the Silence, has reached more than 314,000 students and 23,800 teachers in over 560 schools, since the program began in 2009. It supports State and Federal education policies around healthy relationships, social and emotional well-being, and primary prevention of violence in school settings.

Breaking the Silence is provided to schools free-of-charge through White Ribbon Australia’s donors, including Myer, Harcourts, Suzanne Grae, the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs and other individual supporters.

White Ribbon Australia has opened registrations and are now accepting Expressions of Interest for the 2018 Breaking the Silence program.

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More information: https://www.whiteribbon.org.au/breaking-silence-program/

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Tender for Content development of White Ribbon’s Respectful Relationships Education introductory e-learning module

This tender is to develop content for an introductory e-learning module, which provides foundational knowledge on Respectful Relationships Education (RRE) and the prevention of men’s violence against women. It is the first stage of a broader project to design, develop, pilot, and release an e-learning module available to school staff across Australia.

White Ribbon Australia invites experts to submit a proposal to develop content for Respectful Relationships Education introductory e-learning module.

The deadline for submission is midnight AEST Friday 27 April 2018. Successful respondents will be notified by Monday 14 May 2018. This deadline has been extended from the original deadline of Monday 9 April 2018.

Further details about the tender and the process required to submit a proposal can be found here.

Please find the Tender Applicant form here.

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Statement in relation to the NRL and violence

White Ribbon Australia has zero tolerance approach to violence against women and expects that, as influential community institutions, all sporting clubs and associations also uphold a zero tolerance approach to help drive the change needed to stop this violence. NRL players and employees are role models for men and boys, women and girls across Australia, and should be held accountable for their actions at all times.

White Ribbon works with the NRL in an advisory capacity, including in the development of the game’s ‘Voice against Violence’ campaign and other prevention activities and initiatives. We remain committed to this work ensuring the NRL and all sporting codes demonstrate accountability, respect and transparency in their efforts to address and prevent men’s violence against women. White Ribbon does not have in place a formal partnership arrangement with  the NRL.

Violence against women is a serious issue both in sport and in the community at large. It takes the whole of community working together and committed to a zero tolerance attitude to VAW  to stop this violence before it occurs by challenging the deeply ingrained attitudes, behaviours and power inequalities that give rise to men’s violence against women.

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As the Suzanne Grae and White Ribbon Partnership ends we acknowledge the outstanding legacy of Suzanne Grae’s contribution.

Suzanne Grae has been a proud supporter and advocate of White Ribbon Australia since October 2008.  Staff, store teams and customers have raised $2.6 million dollars over this past nine years.  This extraordinary support has played a significant role in the growth and development of White Ribbon Australia and the White Ribbon social change movement in Australia.  It has supported growth of our organisation to the independently acclaimed global leadership position it holds today.  Across the almost decade during which Suzanne Grae has supported White Ribbon Australia we have developed and expanded our community engagement work and primary prevention programs that, as independently evaluated, are realising effective positive social change to help prevent men’s abuse of and violence against women. You can read our 2016-2017 Annual Report here.

The initial seed funding and the ongoing investment provided by Suzanne Grae has facilitated the award winning Breaking the Silence Respectful Relationships Schools Program which has been creating real generational change by strengthening a culture of respect and equality in school communities across Australia.  Since 2009, Breaking the Silence has now supported 564 schools nationally, reaching over 23,500 teachers and 311,000 students.

Suzanne Grae was also part of the ground breaking pilot of the White Ribbon Workplace Accreditation Program. The company was one of the 26 pilot organisations to support the development of this Program in 2012.  This cutting-edge engagement from Suzanne Grae paved the way for what is now an internationally recognised program driving positive cultural change throughout workplaces and their communities nationally.  The Program has accredited 145 workplaces, engaging over 600,000 Australian employees across all sectors.

After a considered review, Suzanne Grae has made the decision to end its partnership with White Ribbon and in 2018 will direct its community support program to another area of need. White Ribbon Australia will continue to be a Suzanne Grae Workplace Giving partner.

Our deep appreciation to Suzanne Grae for the valuable partnership and critical support over the past nine years.

We acknowledge and acclaim the remarkable contribution the company has made towards ending men’s violence against women.

Thank you.

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White Ribbon on the power of White Ribbon as a movement of change not just one Day

Recent public conversation has questioned the benefit of White Ribbon Day including the use of the funds raised through this annual day.

White Ribbon Day is an annual awareness initiative held on one day of the year.  However it is one small part of the much larger White Ribbon social change movement that operates 365 days a year.

The day focuses the attention of the community on the issue of the prevention of men’s violence against women and gender equality by asking the community to become aware, engaged and help prevent violence towards women.

White Ribbon drives prevention to stop men’s violence against women before it occurs through:

  • Education programs in primary and secondary schools, supporting teachers and the community to build respectful relationships amongst young people
  • Workplace Accreditation to foster a culture of respect and equality in all workplaces
  • Work with organisations at community level to raise awareness of the significant role men play in the disrespect of women, and the important actions they can take to remedy this societal problem
  • Develop a range of important resources for the community, including free eLearning and factsheets
  • Advocating for change across areas of community where ongoing reform is required to help stop violence and support those who experience violence.

As a grassroots organisation, owned and driven by the community, White Ribbon relies mostly on funding from the community it serves, receiving only limited funds from the federal and state governments.

White Ribbon’s aim is to prevent all forms of disrespect and violence which women experience and works with both male ambassadors and female advocates (including survivors of domestic violence), to raise awareness and create change. Through education, awareness raising, preventative programs and partnerships, White Ribbon provide the tools for men to stop violence against women in their community and beyond.

Alongside its own activities, White Ribbon works with many other domestic violence, family safety and community organisations to ensure that Australia has a connected response to the unacceptable levels of violence in our community.

White Ribbon Day is the most well-known bystander campaign day to prevent violence against women in Australia. But it is part of the all year round social change movement that is bringing about positive change.

White Ribbon thanks all supporters for their commitment to building a safer Australia for women and their children.

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