By WHITE RIBBON AUSTRALIA
We would all like to believe that the people we know and love – our family members, friends, neighbours and colleagues – live free from violence. However, statistics reveal that one in three Australian women over the age of 15 have reported experiencing physical or sexual violence at some time in their lives. Violence against women transcends the boundaries of age, culture, ethnicity, religion, disability, and socio-economic status. It can happen to anyone and many women deal with it alone.
It can be difficult to know how to appropriately offer support or intervene in circumstances of violence. Nonetheless, a growing number of people are asking: ‘How can I offer support to someone experiencing domestic violence? What can I do if I realise a man I know is abusing and controlling his female partner? How can I be part of the solution to prevent men’s violence against women?’
If you suspect someone you know is being abused:
Many people still perceive domestic and family violence as a ‘private matter’ and worry they will be seen as ‘interfering’ if they say something or offer support. But violence has a profound and damaging impact on its victims, the family and the community as a whole.
We all have an obligation to speak out and not remain silent. If done sensitively, expressions of concern and support can help a woman experiencing abuse feel less isolated and reinforce the message that men’s violence against women is never the women’s fault and should not be tolerated.