White Ribbon: Curtin Uni violence against women expert says men need to lead way to stop domestic violence

White Ribbon: Curtin Uni violence against women expert says men need to lead way to stop domestic violence

YOUNG men are more accepting of technological abuse such as reading ex or current partner’s text messages than their older counterparts are.

Adopting an ‘if there is nothing to hide, there is nothing to worry about’ attitude, more young men are comfortable technological abuse is tolerable behaviour.

Last week marked the beginning of the 16 day White Ribbon Campaign, coinciding with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and the beginning of 16 days of activism against domestic violence.

Curtin’s School of Occupational Therapy and Social Work’s Professor Donna Chung, an expert in violence against women, said one in three to one in five women were victims of violence in their lifetime; but statistics often did not include psychological or sexual abuse that often goes under reported.

“Police statistics centre primarily around physical violence and damaged property, while sexual violence and increasingly, psychological abuse is not picked up in court,” Dr Chung said.

“We see increasingly now there is a misuse of technology for harassment, and the constant surveillance of women… research has shown that younger men do not see that as unacceptable.”

Citing recent introduction of revenge porn legislation to Federal Parliament, Dr Chung said the law was often in “catch up mode” when it came to types of technological abuse.

Dr Chung said while it was widely agreed that physical violence was not acceptable, other types of domestic abuse including economic abuse remained largely unrecognised.

She said initiatives such as White Ribbon Day put the onus back on men, who are the most prolific perpetrators of domestic violence.

“It’s important that domestic violence is seen as a men’s issue, it’s not a women’s issue because men are the perpetrators,” she said.

“We need to make a cultural change, and it should start with young men.

“Sexism needs to be addressed as do ingrained attitudes about the sexual exploitation of women; which is often seen as a form of male bonding.”

Dr Chung said consistent and swift responses to men who use or threaten violence against women must be implemented.

Further, she said courts should listen to the voices of children who come from homes where there has been family violence.

“Children’s voices need to be heard… kids are clear; if they see a man terrorise another person they understandably don’t want to see that person,” she said.

“Men need to be held more accountable for their actions.”

What is White Ribbon?

White Ribbon Australia’s focus is primary prevention – stopping violence before it occurs, by challenging the deeply ingrained attitudes, social norms and power inequalities that give rise to men’s violence against women and gender inequality.

Primary prevention does not involve providing services directly supporting women and their children escaping violence and abuse; instead it aims to reduce the need for services by driving societal change for future generations.

Primary prevention action works to change attitudes and behaviours that results in disrespect, abuse and violence against women.

Prevention action aims to stop the likelihood of men and boys using violence against women and girls.

Primary prevention addresses the root causes of violence.