This White Ribbon Day, Osher Günsberg writes for Mamamia on what men can do to stop the violence.
How do we do that? We do it by speaking out against it.
Because no man who has emotionally abused, threatened violence, hit, injured or murdered his domestic partner is alone. That man has family. He interacts with society. He has mates. He has men in his life who know full well how he gets when he is angry.
They know full well exactly what goes on in his house. They know what he is capable of, and what he has done. They know full well even from the language a stranger uses during an interaction as simple as talking to a woman in a shop that he may have a dangerously dehumanising view of women.
Today is White Ribbon Day, Australia’s only national, male-led campaign to end men’s violence against women. Post continues below.
Speaking up against violence and abuse is our responsibility. From the compassionate action of reaching out to a mate or colleague who we know is abusive and encouraging him to get help to taking a brave and powerful stand against a stranger using sexist language in public, speaking up is what matters.
Speaking up about the man who uses sexist language, sends derogatory emails, gropes women in public, spikes drinks, shows you photos of a current or ex-partner on his phone, or who financially or socially controls his partner.
To my mind, knowing that men around you engage in this behaviour and saying nothing makes you complicit in that abuse. It’s wanting to stay out of other people’s business and the fear of losing a friend that has allowed this issue to reach such a critical point.
By standing silent in the face of it, we are accepting it as a normal part of society.
And we all know that it is in no way a normal part of society.
If this guy is a relative, a friend, a colleague, someone you work with, or even a strange, it’s up to you and I to say that it’s not okay.
It’s up to you and I to tell him that there’s help available if he needs it, and there’s plenty of help around. Calling Men’s Line Australia is a great place to start.
And if you find yourself questioning whether you should speak up, ask yourself: would you accept that abuse or violence against your sister, your mother, your daughter or your lover?
Because every woman is someone’s sister, mother, daughter or lover — and they have a right to a life free of abuse and violence.
Do something. Say something. You may save a life by speaking up.
If this post brings up 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. It doesn’t matter where you live, they will take your call and, if need be, refer you to a service closer to home.
Today is White Ribbon Day, Australia’s only national, male-led campaign to end men’s violence against women. To find out what you can do, visit the White Ribbon website and take the oath to prevent men’s violence against women.