The Service Committee of the Zonta Club of Melton has been very active within the 16 Days of Activism. Read below to see the emails they sent to club members throughout the campaign to connect White Ribbon Day to the 16 Days and Zonta Says NO, and how they spread more awareness about violence against women.
Day 1 White Ribbon
Australia’s campaign to stop violence against women White Ribbon Day 25 November
On the afternoon of 6 December 1989, a man walked into the École Polytechnique University in Montreal and massacred 14 of his female classmates. His actions traumatised a nation and brought the issue of violence against women to the forefront of our collective consciousness.
Two years later, a handful of men in Toronto decided they had a responsibility to speak out about and work to stop men’s violence against women. As a result, the White Ribbon Campaign in Canada became an annual awareness-raising event, held between 25 November and 6 December.
In 1999, the United Nations General Assembly declared 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, with a white ribbon as its iconic symbol.
White Ribbon began in Australia in 2003 as part of UNIFEM (now UN Women), formally becoming a Foundation in 2007.
Spread the word – Not Violent Not silent
We can all make a difference please SAY NO TO FAMILY VIOLENCE
- Death and injury – The study found that globally, 38% of all women who were murdered were murdered by their intimate partners, and 42% of women who have experienced physical or sexual violence at the hands of a partner had experienced injuries as a result.
- Depression – Partner violence is a major contributor to women’s mental health problems, with women who have experienced partner violence being almost twice as likely to experience depression compared to women who have not experienced any violence.
Day 3 Zonta Says No
Join us and say NO to violence against women and girls worldwide
“Throughout the world, one in three women will experience violence in their lifetime, such as beating, rape, or assault.” This figure was first reported by UNIFEM a decade ago [in 2003]. Its validity has since been validated & elucidated
WE MUST ALL SPEAK OUT
→Break the silence about violence
Violence against women is everyone’s business; the costs to our community are far too great for us to continue turning a blind eye. We need for men to make some noise, to issue the “enough is enough” rallying cry. Consider:
- discussing the issue at every available opportunity, in your social circles when men are present
FAMILY VIOLENCE AFFECTS ALL WOMEN IN OUR GLOBAL WORLD
• Sexually transmitted infections – Women who experience physical and/or sexual partner violence are 1.5 times more likely to acquire syphilis infection, chlamydia, or gonorrhea. In some regions (including sub-Saharan Africa), they are 1.5 times more likely to acquire HIV.
• Unwanted pregnancy & abortion – Both partner violence and non-partner sexual violence are associated with unwanted pregnancy; the report found that women experiencing physical and/or sexual partner violence are twice as likely to have an abortion than women who do not experience this violence.• Low birth-weight babies – Women who experience partner violence have a 16% greater chance of having a low birth-weight baby.
THIS HAPPENS IN AUSTRALIA AS WELL
- Trafficking ensnares millions of women and girls in modern-day slavery. Women and girls represent 55 per cent of the estimated 20.9 million victims of forced labour worldwide, and 98 per cent of the estimated 4.5 million forced into sexual exploitation.
- Rape has been a rampant tactic in modern wars. Conservative estimates suggest that 20,000 to 50,000 women were raped during the 1992–1995 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina , while approximately 250,000 to 500,000 women and girls were targeted in the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
Where family violence happen?
Relationship violence happens in all kinds of relationships, including:
• intimate partners, lovers, husband and wife, ex-partners
• older people and their children (elder abuse)
• other family members, including step-parents
• parents and their teenage or adult children
• people with disabilities and their carers
When relationship violence occurs between adults in heterosexual relationships, research shows that men are most likely to be the perpetrators and women the victims.
When the violence occurs against children in families, research shows that parents and step-parents are most likely to be the perpetrators. Children and young people also experience violence when they live with and/or witness violence between other family members.
Relationship violence takes different forms
Relationship violence is common in Australia.
It is a pattern of abusive behavior through which a person seeks to control and dominate another person.
Relationship violence does not take the form of a single incident. It is ongoing behavior that gradually undermines the victim’s confidence and ability to leave the violent person. The severity and frequency of violence often escalate over time.
This violence takes many forms, none of which is mutually exclusive. While physical violence may be the most visible form, others such as sexual, emotional, social, spiritual and economic abuse can be equally harmful.
FAMILY VIOLENCE HAPPENS AT ALL AGES
Relationship violence is a denial of human rights and it causes significant harm
Being violent to another human being is a denial of that person’s human rights, which governments have a responsibility to protect under international law.
In Australia some forms of abuse—such as physical and sexual violence and the threat of such violence—are criminal offences.
Relationship violence causes significant and long-term harm to its victims and is costly to the community . Relevant factors include being dispossessed of land and traditional culture, the breakdown of community kinship systems and law, entrenched poverty, alcohol and drug abuse, child removal policies, inherited grief and trauma, and the loss of traditional male and female role models.
While relationship violence occurs across all social groups, socio-economic inequalities are also linked to the experience of violence, and the ability to access resources to recover from it. Economic policies also impact upon people’s lives in a way that relates to, but does not excuse the use of violence.
WE NEED TO SPEAK UP FOR THE DISADVANTAGED IN OUR COMMUNITY
Social and economic factors also influence people’s ability to escape abusive relationships. Perpetrators of abuse often use this to their advantage. For example, a woman with a disability may be reliant on the abuser for care, which can make leaving the relationship extremely difficult. Members of Aboriginal or non-English speaking communities, for example, may be afraid to contact police about the abuse because of the risk of discrimination based on their culture, race or language. These broader social issues of discrimination and marginalization have to be addressed if we are to prevent abuse.
Stories about abuse from young people
Andrea: I felt like I was walking on eggshells around him because literally anything I said or did could upset him.
Ann: When I tried to leave him, he told me that he had a gun and was going to commit suicide.
Isabella: My parents are Italian and are quite religious, they don’t believe in sex before marriage. I didn’t really want to do it, it was my first time and I was really stressed out about it. He’d say ‘I don’t think you really love me, because you don’t want to have sex with me.
Amy: I went and stayed with my family and they helped me and are still helping me through it all. This is the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with in my entire life.
Samantha: My friend had an abusive boyfriend. She and I had been friends for four years so I could tell when something was bothering her.Jacq: That day I called my mum and then I left him, I was so ashamed. My reason for not telling before was so that no one would be angry with him.
Stories about abuse from women with disabilities
Molly: My husband has never accepted our son has a disability. I have an intellectual disability and my husband doesn’t accept that either, because he can’t see it.
Mary: If I fall from my wheelchair he doesn’t tell my carers or take me to the doctor or hospital.
Rose Lillian: The sexual abuse by my brother had long-reaching effects.
Anj: Through sheer determination and willpower I’m where I am today, gradually reclaiming my life.
Katerina: My father never gave me reasons for his abuse other than it was all my fault.
THESE FIGURES PROVE THAT WE IN VICTORIA HAVE A PROBLEM – WHAT WILL YOU DO ABOUT IT?????
Women’s Domestic Violence Crisis Service CEO Annette Gillespie said she was not surprised by the family violence figures. “Our crisis service is run off its feet trying to help women and their children who are experiencing violence and abuse at the hands of their boyfriends, husbands or ex-partners,” Ms Gillespie said “Last financial year we answered 50,834 calls to our crisis line, up by 30 per cent on the previous year.”
FAMILY violence continues to dominate crime statistics, a trend senior police warn will take years to change. Recorded offences of family violence climbed 30 per cent to 19,664 over the 12 months to March.
Deputy Commissioner Lucinda Nolan said family violence-related offences continued to drive up overall crime, which climbed 5.6 per cent – up 21,347 offences to 403,618 offences.
DOMESTIC violence is one of Australia’s “filthy little secrets”, says Victorian police chief Ken Lay. In a powerful speech to the National Press Club in Canberra, Mr Lay called on the public to believe women victims who are brave enough to speak out.
“All of us would do well to believe women’s stories, because for many years, violence against women has been one of Australia’s filthy little secrets,” the Chief Commissioner said.
Mr Lay’s speech at times had listeners in tears.
“I would like to acknowledge the frightened, the scared and the haunted,” he said.
“We believe you.”
Mr Lay said he was pleased men were taking a prominent role in speaking out against domestic violence and praised the Herald Sun’s Take a Stand campaign.
“I can actually start to feel some momentum, some change, which I’ve never quite felt before,” he said.
He appeared with former Democrats leader Natasha Stott Despoja, who chairs the Foundation to Prevent Violence Against Women and their Children.
She said domestic violence should be declared “a national emergency”.
“We must address the culture that allows this violence to occur and continue, and tackle the attitudes and beliefs that justify, excuse, minimise or hide it,” she said.
Ms Stott Despoja warned governments would need to devote more resources to the problem, because there is a “hidden wave of women out there”.
Mr Lay said there was a need to “remake our culture” to popularise decency and condemn cruelty, vulgarity, and misdirected masculinity.
“First and foremost, violence against women is a cultural issue, and underpinning it is misogyny,” he said.
The Chief Commissioner said parents should tell their daughters “Rape Isn’t Your Fault”;
the only person responsible is the rapist.
He said parents should warn their daughters that 80 per cent of those women who are sexually assaulted are assaulted by someone they know.
He said parents should show their boys “what respect, decency and tenderness is”.