We need to change behaviours and attitudes to women to help curb the decreasing respect for women in our society

Bodies not commodities

1 woman a week is murdered by a current or former partner

The ABC reported last week on the NSW Government’s refusal to join the national violence agency Our Watch, highlighting that NSW was the only state or territory not a member, and claiming the Berejiklian Government is not serious about targeting domestic abuse. There are calls to see “primary prevention” initiatives introduced, and the NSW Women’s Alliance is calling on the government to boost funding for domestic violence services and refuges.

On one hand I agree, we need to tackle the issue of Domestic Abuse and Violence. The statistics are disturbing;

  • 1 woman a week is murdered by a current or former partner
  • 1 in 4 have experienced emotional abuse since the age of 15
  • 1 in 5 have experienced sexual violence since the age of 15
  • 85% of women have been sexually harassed
  • Rates indicate the problem is much worse in rural and regional areas
  • (https://www.whiteribbon.org.au)

Yes, I believe we have a problem, and something needs to shift.

Do I believe that we need to provide safe places for women fleeing domestic violence situations? Yes!

Do I think one woman a week being murder is too many? Yes, and so is one a month and one a year.

But I do believe we need to be tackling this problem at the root. Wouldn’t it be a much better solution to not need emergency shelters for women fleeing domestic violence? Why are our approaches targeting those who are victims, rather than dealing with the attitudes and behaviours that result in women being the victims of domestic abuse and violence?

According to Collective Shout, we are seeing young teenage girls permanently injured through violent sexual experiences at the hands of porn-addicted boyfriends, who in turn think that violent sexual acts are “normal”. If young teenagers think this is normal, then no wonder we are seeing violence throughout the lifespan of relationships.

It is one reason I believe we need the A21 “Bodies are not Commodities” Curriculum in all NSW High Schools. This helps to address human trafficking and slavery by educating our students what modern-slavery looks like. We need education in our schools, changing behaviours and attitudes to women to help curb the decreasing respect for women in our society. The attitudes that see women as less valuable, that see women as objects to be exploited, whether that be within a relationship or within a workplace that leads to their abuse and to exploitation.

It is my hope that by educating the future generations, we can create safer relationships for women, with the hope that our communities will not see women as victims of this abuse and violence, and therefore not needing to seek shelter in women’s refuges.