Society’s role in tackling domestic violence

Next time you’re walking down the street in the company of a female friend, take time to reflect on the way men will react. They will often leer at your female partner, or even stare to the point where it can leave you feeling very uncomfortable.

It’s rude. There’s no other word for it.

It’s also intimidating and can also be quite annoying.

Some will even take it a step further and make some sexist remark.

Those same men will dismiss it as harmless, quite innocent or perhaps make some off-handed remark they they’re “only looking”.

But what it does exemplify is the misogynistic undertones of our male-dominated society. Many of those men simply don’t think they’re doing anything wrong.

And that’s the problem. They don’t see anything wrong with that type of behaviour. And it’s that behaviour – albeit a much further progression of it – that leads us to one of the most problematic social problems today – domestic violence.

Helping to stamp out domestic violence is all about attitudes, and for the most part, it’s changing the attitudes of men towards women.

Friday was White Ribbon Day. It is a day for Australians to come together to campaign to prevent men’s violence against women.

The statistics are alarming: on average, one woman a week is killed by a partner or former partner in Australia. 

Domestic violence can come in many forms, not just physical abuse. It can be emotional abuse, verbal abuse, social and economical abuse, psychological abuse as well as sexual abuse.

Through days like White Ribbon Day, campaigners are driving home the message of the shocking impacts of domestic violence and educating people along the way in the hope we can gradually eradicate this scourge altogether.

But it’s not just the responsibility of police, or the courts, or the state or federal governments – both of which have poured hundreds of millions of dollars into campaigns against domestic violence.

As a society, it’s up to all of us to support and help anyone we know is a victim of domestic violence.

Alternatively, it’s also up to every single one of us to speak up if and when we know a friend, or simply someone we know, may be a perpetrator of domestic violence.