White Ribbon is a male led campaign against intimate partner violence against women. Today is “white ribbon day”.
From their website:
“Intimate partner violence is the most common type of violence against women, affecting 30 per cent of women worldwide, according to the 2013 World Health Organization report Global and regional estimates of violence against women: Prevalence and health effects of intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence.
And Australia is not immune.
Violence against women is a serious problem in Australia where:
- Over 12 months, on average, one woman is killed every week as a result of intimate partner violence.
- A woman is most likely to be killed by her male partner in her home.
- Domestic and family violence is the principle cause of homelessness for women and their children.
- Intimate partner violence is the leading contributor to death, disability and ill-health in Australian women aged 15-44.
- One in three women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence perpetrated by someone known to them.
- One in four children are exposed to domestic violence, which is a recognised form of child abuse.
- The cost of violence against women to the Australian economy is estimated to rise to $15.6 billion per annum.
- One in five women experience harassment within the workplace.
- One in five women over 18 has been stalked during her lifetime.
Research indicates that:
- There’s increased risk of mental health, behavioural and learning difficulties from childhood exposure to intimate partner violence.
- Children exposed to domestic violence are more likely to perpetrate this violence.
- Domestic violence impacts an employee’s ability to perform tasks in the workplace.
- Violence against women in the workplace impacts on the organisational climate and employees’ sense of wellbeing.
But there is hope, because research also shows that:
- Building greater equality and respect between men and women can reduce attitudes that support violence.
- Social policy initiatives addressing gender inequity are central to reducing violence against women.“
It is worth questioning though really, in a society where the structure and institutions that create this society uphold patriarchy, male domination, gendered identities and power imbalances, is a government funded professional program going to make an impact? From my own experience obviously I think education is important and can have an impact around gendered identities, attitudes and power… but when everything else is working to reinforce the ideas we are trying to challenge, what more can we do to challenge the system itself?
At the same time, a male led program around intimate partner violence is not too often seen, when it is men that should definitely be challenging socialised attitudes of men towards women, relationships and violence.