Monday, November 25, 2013

White Ribbon Day

It’s frightening to read the statistics about domestic violence in Australia – anywhere from one-quarter to one-third, and even up to one-half (depending on the survey) of Australian women will experience physical or sexual violence by a man at some point in their lives. And tragically, one woman is killed every week in this country by a current or former partner.

White Ribbon is male-led movement that encourages men to make a commitment against violence, promote positive attitudes and behaviours towards women amongst their peers and to intervene safely to prevent violence again women when needed. In fact the awareness campaign was started following a massacre of 14 women at a university in Canada more than 20 years ago.

As such the United Nations General Assembly declared 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, the White Ribbon is the iconic symbol of this day and is a timely reminder for both men and women to encourage positive behaviour and make a stand against violence towards women.

This is particularly relevant for communities in regional and remote Australia as it is these areas where instances of domestic violence are highest. Violence has a profound and damaging impact on its victims and on the community as a whole. When women are assaulted by men, or constantly threatened and abused, this leaves deep physical and psychological scars for not just them but their children, friends and extended family.

This violence against women is not just a women’s issue. In fact it’s a social issue where men can play a key role in the solution. Not every man is responsible for violent behaviour, but we can all do something to reinforce the fact that violence against women (or violence against anyone for that matter) is not acceptable.

So, what can we all do? The simplest thing you can do is to wear a white ribbon or wristband today. This shows others that you do not excuse violence against women or turn a blind eye and that you’re committed to supporting local and global action to stop the violence for good.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to highlight the work some of our researchers, like Heather Nancarrow, are doing in this field through the Queensland Centre for Domestic & Family Violence Research. This Centre, located at our Mackay campus, contributes to the prevention of domestic and family violence by informing, promoting and supporting the actions of individuals, communities, services and governments through leadership in research, professional development, education and community engagement.

I’m also so pleased that as part of our last Enterprise Bargaining Agreement we now offer staff affected by domestic violence the opportunity to access domestic violence leave and employee assistance. This is just one way we as an organisation are making a stand against domestic violence and ensuring victims feel that they can access help when needed.

Let’s let today be a reminder that we all need to take a stand against violence. What will you do to raise awareness and promote positive attitudes and behaviour? 

1 comment:

Ian Riggs said...

Hi Scott
Many thanks for your blog on White Ribbon Day. It is encouraging to see a male in your position bring this to the attention of our community. It is also great to read the outstanding work that Heather Nancorrow and her team do in regard to this issue.
It would be great to use our power of place, to bring this very important issue to the broader community across the states that we have a foot print in.

Well done Ian Riggs