'22 women have been killed this year. We can prevent this from happening.'

Almost every week in Australia there is at least one headline about a woman being murdered by a man that they know.

These stories have become so commonplace that it feels like they barely make a splash. We’re so exhausted that we switch off, or don’t read beyond the headline.

When we do talk, it’s often about so-called good men ‘snapping’, what the couple’s relationship was like, what she was like as a mother, and what their neighbours thought about the family.

But by having those kinds of conversations or choosing not to engage at all, we feed the culture that allows violence against women to continue.

It’s a culture where far too many of us still think that women want men to be in charge in relationships, that men can’t control themselves when it comes to sex, and that women lie about violence to get back at men. We all grow up being told who we should be, what skills and interests we should have, what we should wear, and the jobs we should do based on our gender.

Watch: women and violence, the hidden numbers. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia. 

Men are often told to be tough, strong, unemotional. That their role is as ‘secondary’ parents, the breadwinners.

Women are still judged for being assertive, for what they wear, how they parent. You might be thinking: we’ve moved beyond this, haven’t we? Yes and no.

While we’ve made huge strides over the past few decades, women are still earning less money on average than men, and still doing the majority of housework, care work and parenting in heterosexual couples.


Men are still grappling with outdated, harmful ideas of what it means to be a man. They are rarely encouraged to take parental leave, to work in caring roles, or to express a diverse range emotions. And violence is continuing to happen in relationships and homes, across our suburbs, towns and cities every single day.

Here’s what we need to be shouting from the rooftops: violence against women is preventable. 

It doesn’t need to be this way.

There is a future where these headlines don’t exist, where relationships are safe and equal, where women don’t feel like they have to walk home with their keys between their fingers.

So how do we change our culture to prevent violence against women?

This is everyone’s challenge to take on, and it starts with having conversations in our everyday lives. If you live with a partner, it can look like having conversations about how you divvy up the housework and the mental and emotional load in a way that works for both of you and considers the paid and unpaid work that everyone does.

If you’re dating, it can be about making sure you seek consent before sending a nude or checking in with your friends for advice if something feels a bit off with a new partner.

It’s learning about relationship red flags, and making sure you know the difference between boundaries and control.

If you co-parent, it’s conversations about how you split parenting duties, and rallying against the stereotypes that you may have grown up with that can creep in whether you like it or not.

In heterosexual relationships, it’s role modelling Dad as an equal parent, not the babysitter. And it’s knowing that Mum is an equal parent, not the holder of all knowledge and maker of all caring decisions.


It’s talking to your kids about consent early, letting them know that they need to respect other people’s bodies and that they don’t have to hug or kiss anyone if they don’t want to.

With your mates, it’s calling out sexist or homophobic jokes – even if they seem light-hearted, and you know your friends don’t mean to cause harm. It’s having open conversations with them about dating, relationships and sex so that everyone feels safe to chat with each other if red flags do come up.

It’s supporting victim-survivors when they speak up, doing the work to challenge our own assumptions about gender (we all have them!), and knowing that in our lifetimes we will all know women who have experienced violence, and we will all know men who have used violence, coercion or control in their relationships.

These are all pieces of the bigger puzzle that help to change our culture, and ultimately prevent violence against women.

It starts with making choices about who we want to be in our relationships, homes, and workplaces rather than going along with the scripts we continue to be given based on our gender.

Preventing violence against women means choosing a future where our headlines tell a different story.

You can find RespectVictoria's website here, and their Instagram here.

If this has raised any issues for you, or if you just feel like you need to speak to someone, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service.

Feature Image: Supplied.