Violence Against Us All

Twenty-five years ago, after a terrible crime in Canada where a male uni student murdered 14 of his female classmates, White Ribbon was created in Toronto by a group of men who spoke out and worked hard to stop violence against women. Now, White Ribbon is an international initiative to prevent violence in the lives of women and children across the world.

People all throughout Australia have gotten on board this fantastic movement, and most normal, well-developed people would encourage this kind of organisation. Most are supportive of White Ribbon, which works to change attitudes and behaviours that result in disrespect, abuse, and violence against women. Males hold a huge part in the prevention of violence, and thousands have stepped up to play a positive role in challenging the ‘deeply ingrained attitudes, social norms and power inequalities that give rise to men’s violence against women and gender inequality’ (White Ribbon Australia).

So, why do some people still struggle with what behaviour and thought-patterns are acceptable and what are clearly not?

It seems like every day there’s a new crime, a new ridiculous step backwards thanks to some evil lowlife who thinks females are beneath them—in more ways than one.  A bar in Perth made headlines recently in its shocking attempt to promote its American frat-themed NYE shindig. Horrible banners were advertised over the balconies with disgusting slogans such as: ‘You teach her morals, and we’ll teach her oral’, and ‘Our couch pulls out, but we don’t’.

This is not funny. This is not ‘taking the piss’. This is disturbing. Promoting rape is never funny. In fact, one of the main reasons the Perth bar was hauled over the coals was the way they normalised the sad reality that some American colleges do possess this sickening rape culture.

Why do some morons still not understand this kind of mentality is the very reason why organisations like White Ribbon exist in the first place? What’s being done to educate, and hopefully change, the attitudes of these people who think it’s okay to treat females like they’re not equal to men? Countless agencies, like White Ribbon and UN Women, tirelessly campaign for gender equality and the empowerment of women. In particular, White Ribbon includes primary prevention initiatives, such as educational programs in schools, programs in workplaces, online resources and publications, campaigns to raise awareness and much more.

There is even a White Ribbon Social Movement, which is the engagement of men in the prevention of violence against women, a movement that recognises violence is learned, gendered and institutionally-supported behaviour, and targets the sources of violence instead of accepting it. Fantastic efforts and ongoing support has been happening for years, and will of course continue to happen. But what else could make a significant impact on changing the way people, especially men, still act towards women?

To be honest, through extensive research and general curiosity, there’s not much more that can be done other than individuals taking it upon themselves to stand up and speak out.  The more people involved in educating men and women, especially from a young age, will benefit everyone in later years.

A journalist once said that “dealing with violence against women means dealing with the underlying causes”. What prompted the idiots in Perth to think it was acceptable to hang those disgusting banners? Perhaps nobody ever taught them manners or respect for the opposite sex.  Perhaps they’re exactly the kind of idiots who need education and help the most. Then again, maybe someone from the bar did think it was wrong but was too afraid to argue.

Practise what you preach. Know your rights. Stop making stupid sexist jokes. Stop speaking about females as though they’re sex objects. Stop hollering at girls walking down the street. Don’t promote rape culture. Stop being an arsehole. The more people who get on board preventing violence against women, the better it will be, not just for women, but for humanity.