Prevent men’s violence against women

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Once again, a young woman was attacked while making her way home. Aiia Masarwe.

This week, Australia was rocked by a another tragic event. The brutal rape and murder of Palestinian exchange student Aiia Masarwe in Melbourne’s North. Once again, a young woman was attacked while making her way home.

Yet as shocking as Aiia’s story is, it is not an isolated incident. News stories just like hers are all too familiar and young women have been warned about them since adolescence. Stories like those of Eurydice Dixon, who was raped and murdered in June last year on her way home walking through a park, or Jill Meagher, who was attacked walking home from a pub in 2012.

But not every case of violence receives the same attention as Aiia. Every week, a woman will be killed by a current or former partner. One in five women have experienced sexual violence since the age of 15. 85% of Australian women have been sexually harassed. Many of these women’s stories do not receive the same attention as Aiia’s but are just as tragic.

Young women across the country hear these stories as cautionary tales about letting your guard down. But Aiia’s story shouldn’t be part of a narrative about the importance of women being constantly on their guard. The safety of women should not depend on their constant vigilance and good luck.

Aiia Masarwe-white ribbon australia

Aiia Masarwe. Photo courtesy of Mamamia.


Instead, it should remind us how dire the situation currently is. Now is a moment to reflect on violence against women and how we understand it. Because violence against women is not just a problem for women, it is a problem for society, and it is time for the violent men to be held to account.

It’s important to remember that men’s violence against women is part of a spectrum. While these news stories provide particularly shocking examples of this violence, less visible harm is perpetrated against women every day. Sexual harassment, abuse and stalking happens continuously, and it often happens in silence.

Not all men are violent. Yet, that doesn’t mean those men who aren’t don’t feed into a culture that enables and encourages violent men. Even if you would never actually harm a woman, every man has witnessed a man stepping over a line. It might be a joke that goes too far, a friend that is a little too handsy, or a woman who is a little too drunk to fully consent. Excuses are no longer good enough.

All of these actions normalise a culture of disrespect and violence against women, and it has to stop. Sons cannot continue being raised on the message that it’s okay to disrespect women or that those behaviours are acceptable. It must stop because women should be able to get home at night without fearing for their lives.

All of us have seen inappropriate behaviour towards women and often stayed silent because we couldn’t find our voice. It can be a difficult thing to do. But we have to do better. Women like Aiia, Eurydice and Jill deserve better, as do the countless women who suffer violence without being shown on the news.

Making things better begins with men taking responsibility for their actions and understanding how their treatment of women can reverberate in society. It starts with deciding that we cannot continue to live in a society that consistently marginalising women. It starts with speaking up.

If you or someone you know is in need of support related to sexual assault or domestic violence, please call 1800 RESPECT (737 732). If in danger please, call 000.

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Authors are members of White Ribbon Australia’s Youth Advisory Group (YAG). They are passionate about justice, equality and ending men’s violence against women.

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Fulton Hogan partners with White Ribbon Australia

White Ribbon Australia is proud to announce that Fulton Hogan Australia has partnered with White Ribbon Australia as a Corporate Sponsor, demonstrating its dedication to the prevention of men’s violence against women in Australia.

Fulton Hogan has more than 80 years’ experience in the transport, water, energy, mining, civil construction and land development infrastructure in New Zealand, Australia and the South Pacific. They create communities from the ground up, starting with their own network of quarries, which is complemented by their asphalt, emulsion and precast plants across Australia and New Zealand.

“Through corporate sponsorship, White Ribbon will be supported by Fulton Hogan to deliver primary prevention initiatives that aim to stop violence before it happens, through education, awareness raising and by challenging ingrained attitudes and power inequalities that give rise to men’s violence against women,” says Fulton Hogan’s Chief Executive Officer for Australia, Nick Marinelli.

“Fulton Hogan is proud to announce that we are now a Corporate Sponsor of White Ribbon.

“Making a stand against this behaviour is a passionate cause of our well-being critical risk group and we hope to support those in need and help make a change.”

Funds raised go towards supporting White Ribbon’s national primary prevention campaign, which aims to stop violence before it occurs, through education initiatives in schools, workplaces and the broader community. White Ribbon is committed to building an Australian community where every woman lives in safety, free from all forms of abuse.

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Sunshine Coast sports clubs launch Speak Up Project, telling violence against women #NotinMyClub

Sports clubs play a powerful role in challenging disrespectful attitudes and violent behaviour towards women. Over twelve months, the new Sunshine Coast Sports ‘Speak Up Project’ will empower clubs to develop a deep understanding of the complex causes and impacts of violence against women.

The project will seek to deliver a whole of sporting community collaboration driven by the Sunshine Coast White Ribbon Committee.

Through a series of educational workshops, community engagement and ongoing support, the project provides the tools and knowledge for clubs to implement year-round strategies to build safer and more inclusive clubs and communities.

Sunshine Coast Sports ‘Speak Up Project’

Participating clubs include:

  • Sunshine Coast Falcons
  • Maroochydore Roos Football Club
  • Alexandra Surf Club
  • Noosa Rugby Club
  • Sunshine Coast Lightning
  • Maroochydore Surf Lifesaving Club

For more information on the project, or how sports clubs can get involved with White Ribbon, please contact

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ANROWS release their 2017 National Community Attitudes towards Violence against Women Survey (NCAS)

Today, our National Plan partner ANROWS released findings from their 2017 National Community Attitudes towards Violence against Women Survey (NCAS).

While the results reveal Australia’s improving attitude towards violence against women, they also uncover some worrying trends.

Some of the positive results:

  • Most Australians have accurate knowledge of violence against women and do not endorse this violence.
  • Australians are more likely to understand that violence against women involves more than just physical violence in 2017 than they were in 2013 and 2009.
  • Australians are less likely to hold attitudes supportive of violence against women in 2017 than they were in 2013 and 2009.

Some of the concerning results:

  • A concerning proportion of Australians believe that gender inequality is exaggerated or no longer a problem.
  • Among attitudes condoning violence against women, the highest level of agreement was with the idea that women use claims of violence to gain tactical advantage in their relationships with men.
  • 1 in 5 Australians would not be bothered if a male friend told a sexist joke about women.

White Ribbon Australia commend ANROWS for coordinating and producing this important data around Australians’ attitudes towards violence against women and gender equality. The important information contained in the report helps us better understand how to stop violence before it starts and change the attitudes of Australians to end this epidemic problem.

Read all the key findings and download the report at ANROWS’ website.

2017 NCAS results2017 NCAS results2017 NCAS results

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House of Representatives show support for White Ribbon Day

White Ribbon Australia would like to thank members of the Australian House of Representatives for showing their support for White Ribbon Day and standing in solidarity with survivors of gender-based violence.

Men’s violence against women is a problem for women, but it’s not a woman’s problem. Yesterday, members of Parliament highlighted the importance of men and women standing alongside one another to end violence in Australian communities.

As of November 27, 2018 63 women have been killed by violence in Australia.

1 in 6 women experience abuse before the age of fifteen.

Violence against women is estimated to cost the Australian economy $22 billion a year.

Domestic and family violence is the leading cause of homelessness for women and their children.

Thank you to the following members for standing up and speaking out about this crucial issue:

Ms Emma Husar MP

Mr Rowan Ramsey MP

Ms Susan Lamb MP

Hon Damian Drum MP

Ms Gai Brodtmann MP

Mr Patrick Gorman MP


This policy statement represents the organisational position of White Ribbon Australia. It does not represent the individual opinions and views of our stakeholders, including, but not limited to, our Ambassadors, Advocates, Partners and staff members.

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White Ribbon Statement regarding Engadine shooting

White Ribbon Australia’s, Acting CEO, Delia Donovan said we are saddened to learn of the tragic domestic violence incident in Engadine this morning.

“Today we awoke to learn of another family violence incident in the Sydney suburb of Engadine. This incident sadly included the death of a family member, and is now under investigation by NSW Police. The family have been traumatised by this tragedy.

“Australian’s level of family and domestic violence has to stop. We are at a crisis point, and we cannot continue to sit by and watch while families are terrorised by violence. Women and children are being traumatised by violence in their homes every day.

“Family violence is at extraordinary levels across our communities. This is preventable, we can all work together to avoid tragic incidences like todays.

“Today is White Ribbon Day and we must come together as a community, speak out, say enough is enough and act together to end men’s violence against women,” Ms Donovan said.

“We stand side-by-side with our social services sector. Together we have a clear understanding of how to end men’s violence against women.

“We need Government to invest in primary prevention and frontline services. We need to educate children and adults about respect. We need to invest in evidence-based prevention programs in our schools, workplaces and communities in order for this to end. We need to call out all forms of disrespect, abuse and violence against women.

“How many more family members need to die, or suffer these tragedies?”

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SA Government’s Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS) has seen success in supporting people at risk of domestic violence

South Australia’s recent early intervention and prevention initiative, the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS), has seen success in its first 4 weeks.

Potential victims of domestic violence have had the chance to find out if their current or former partner has a history of violence or related offences, since October 2 this year. This allows them to make an informed decision about their safety, seek assistance and decide whether or not to remain in the relationship.

During the first 4 weeks of the scheme, SA Police received 28 applications; 70% from metropolitan areas and 30% from regional areas.

Human Services Minister, the Hon Michelle Lensink said that the scheme isn’t just about the disclosure itself but putting people in touch with the services they may need and perhaps would never have come across if not for the scheme.

“Most importantly, the 28 people who have already used the disclosure scheme have been put in touch with a range of support services, giving them a new option for support now and into the future,” Ms Lensink said.

Read the full statement from the SA Government here.

White Ribbon Australia support this scheme, designed to support and protect people at risk of domestic and family violence, and connect them with vital support services.

This policy statement represents the organisational position of White Ribbon Australia. It does not represent the individual opinions and views of our stakeholders, including, but not limited to, our Ambassadors, Advocates, Partners and staff members.

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Another woman murdered, the night before White Ribbon Day 2018

We are horrified to learn of the latest, devastating act of gender-based violence in Australia.

Emily Miller, a mother of four children, was found in her home in Geelong after being shot in the stomach in the presence of a convicted criminal who had just been released from jail.

Emily marks the 63rd woman to die at the hand of violence so far this year. Our heart goes out to the family and friends affected by Emily’s death.

Australia has lost far too many women at the hands of violent men. On average, one woman a week is murdered by a current or former partner in Australia.

Men’s violence against women is absolutely abhorrent and we must act together as a community to end all forms of violence and abuse in our community.

We must stand up, speak out and act to end all forms of violence against women and children.


This policy statement represents the organisational position of White Ribbon Australia. It does not represent the individual opinions and views of our stakeholders, including, but not limited to, our Ambassadors, Advocates, Partners and staff members.

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White Ribbon welcomes changes to strengthen Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders (ADVOs) by NSW Government

New legislation passed by the NSW Government yesterday doubles the default duration of Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders (ADVOs) and gives police the power to make urgent changes to strengthen orders protecting victims.

The changes outlined by the NSW Government include:

  • The default length of ADVOs will increase from 12 months to two years.
  • Courts will be able to grant indefinite ADVOs in severe cases.
  • ADVOs will automatically extend for two years after an adult offender is released from prison, a period when the risk of reoffending is known to be elevated.
  • Senior police will be given the power to immediately vary ADVOs to respond to serious and immediate risks to victims, until a court can consider the matter.

White Ribbon Australia welcome these changes designed to boost protection for victims of domestic and family violence.

Read the full statement from the NSW Government here.

This policy statement represents the organisational position of White Ribbon Australia. It does not represent the individual opinions and views of our stakeholders, including, but not limited to, our Ambassadors, Advocates, Partners and staff members.

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