Activism

Standing Up to Domestic Violence

There may be a war on terror raging around the world but here in Australia there is a spotlight on violence much closer to home.

One in three Australian women will experience violence by someone they know.

 One in three.

Domestic Violence impacts more women than breast cancer, with half a million reporting violence against them in the past 12months alone.

But in 2016 we can no longer keep it behind closed doors.

The White Ribbon Project aims to shed light on the epidemic of violence against women, and has men taking the pledge; to stand up and speak out. 

CPSU/CSA President Brian Dodds became an Ambassador for White Ribbon in 2011, after seeing the impacts of domestic violence firsthand.

 “Throughout my career as a social worker with the Department for Child Protection, I have seen the impacts of violence against women and children, and the horrible effects it has on their lives.

“There have been too many times when I have seen men not take responsibility for their behaviour.”

Brian said his views were reinforced when he attended the White Ribbon International Conference in Sydney in 2012.

“I felt proud to be a part of a movement addressing this issue, but also ashamed that it is largely my gender which perpetrates the violence.

“Some men think it’s their right to be able to be controlling and violent towards their partners and children. Often disguised in statements such as “I can’t help it I get angry and jealous” or “she’ll spend all the money I have”.

“I have met men who try to justify their behaviours, blame their partners and or children, as well as have a view of entitlement to control all aspects of their partner’s lives.”

He says the work he does as an Ambassador means having conversations, but that can be done by anyone.

“My belief is that social and behavioural change comes from the small conversations we all have, which I see as a big part of my role.

“I took the pledge to set an example to other men, as well as to indicate to women that there is hope for change. Men need to take responsibility for their thoughts and actions, so that behavioural change can occur.”

Brian says as well as behavioural changes in men, real change will come with educating the next generation about what it is to feel safe in relationships and in the home.

“It’s great to see the development of prevention programs, such as schools adopting the White Ribbon Breaking the Silence Program, where children are taught the importance of respectful relationships from an early age.

“In my long journey and experience in child protection; creating change for one woman is equally as important alongside the bigger discussions and changes needed in our society.”

With men like Brian standing up, maybe the next generation will achieve the change this country so desperately needs.