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Tragically, the apparent murder of Alice McShera in Perth this week, was the 43rd death of an Australian woman this year due to an act of violence.

The vast majority of Australian men would join me in expressing a sense of outrage and grief at yet another woman’s death at the hands of a male partner.

They would join me in expressing anger and frustration at how a man could possibly murder an intimate partner, someone they supposedly cared for.

They would join me in calling for something to be done urgently to stop this senseless violence. But they might ask what exactly can be done and, more importantly, how they can play a role?

New research to be released during White Ribbon Week later this month shows that 86% of men acknowledge they play a critical role in the prevention of violence against women, but there’s a high degree of confusion about what that role is.

In fact, 46% say they know very little about how they can help, with 28% ‘neutral’ on this response. Tellingly, more than 30% of men surveyed said they “feel uncomfortable stepping in when it comes to issues surrounding violence against women, like it’s not my place”.

Australia, we have a problem.

With International Men’s Day coming up on Sunday, 19 November, it’s an opportunity to reflect on the role that all men can play, not only in promoting gender equality, but in ending violence against women. This year’s theme is ‘Healthy Men, Healthy World’, which speaks to the role that healthy masculinities can play in fostering positive gender relations.

Being a healthy man means being an active participant in shaping a healthy world where women and children can live without fear of violence and abuse; a safer place for everybody.

Sadly, as we’ve seen in recent weeks, we continue to see one woman die from violence at the hands of a male partner, or ex-partner every nine days.

Today, on International Men’s Day on 19 November, and every day, we implore all Australian men to reflect on what action they can take right now to bring about change.

The time for silence and indifference on women’s safety is over. We urge you to educate yourselves about the realities of domestic violence, challenge harmful attitudes and beliefs, and speak out against violence in all its forms.

Since the acquisition of White Ribbon Australia in 2020, Communicare has become one of the only organisations working across the whole range of Family Domestic Violence and Abuse strategies, from national primary prevention strategies to men’s behaviour change programs and victim support services.

The issue of women’s safety is a common thread across everything we do, as is ensuring the wellbeing of children and young people.

Our 30-year experience in responding to Family Domestic Violence and Abuse has clearly shown that we cannot address this chronic social problem if we do not drive change for victim-survivors, those with lived experience and for men who use violence.

In the past 12-months we have been rolling out unique campaigns through White Ribbon Australia addressing issues of consent and engaging men and boys to support women’s safety.

Our ‘You Can Ask That’ education campaign enables secondary school boys to ask and get answers around consent and respect from experts, rather than the web.

Our Barber Shop campaign provides barbers with the resources they need to start a conversation with clients about what we can all do to change outdated male attitudes and beliefs.

The level of support and enthusiasm around these programs, as well as the work being done in our Community Actions Groups across the country has been outstanding – there is a real thirst for knowledge from men to gain a better understanding of how to talk about these issues with their friends and families.

Through our programs and campaigns, White Ribbon Australia supports men and boys in developing healthy masculinities and positive, supportive relationships with their male peers.

Currently, we are the only national organisation focused solely on engaging men and boys through primary prevention, with a footprint in every State and Territory. This primary prevention approach to eliminating men’s violence against women starts by addressing the attitudes and beliefs about gender and power at the core of this behaviour.

We actively work to change the social conditions that are the drivers of gendered violence through self-reflection, education, workplace accreditation and community-led prevention initiatives.

Yet, despite these positive developments, too many men remain apathetic, indifferent, scared, or confused about their role in addressing domestic violence.

We cannot make meaningful progress without their involvement and a commitment to be part of the solution; to foster a culture of respect, equality, and non-violence.

Here are 5 things men can do right now:

·       Educate yourself and others

·       Speak out against violence

·       Promote consent and respect

·       Use online platforms responsibly

·       Understand domestic violence policies at work

In closing, I’ll leave you with an inspirational quote: “The only way to confront men’s violence against women is for men to confront men.”

Together, we can make a difference. Together, we can create a healthier world for everyone.

Melissa Perry

CEO, Communicare / White Ribbon Australia


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