Time to end the scourge of gender-based violence
Activists across the world are engaging in 16 days of action to eliminate gender-based violence as shocking statistics show the scale of devastation caused by such violence.
The days of action started on 25 November – the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women – and continue until 10 December.
This year’s theme #HearMeToo reflects on the importance of shining a light on the scale of gender-based violence in our community.
In Australia, one woman is killed every week at the hand of their current or former partner and one in three women will survive domestic or family violence in their lifetime.
Activists from all over the world are choosing to wear orange, posting resources on social media using the hashtags #HearMeToo and #OrangeTheWorld and making a contribution within their community to prevent gender-based violence.
Teachers may choose, with the support of their principal, to talk to high school students about the impacts of domestic violence and highlight the days of action.
Teachers are reminded that any student disclosures arising from such classroom discussions may be supported in a timely way by the school counsellor, chaplain, nurse or psychologist. Any relevant school level or systemic policies regarding reporting requirements where students reveal abuse should also be adhered to.
If you are concerned about yourself, a colleague or a student you can access 24 hour telephone counselling through any of these providers:
- 1800 RESPECT: 1800 737 732
- Lifeline: 13 11 14 or www.lifeline.org.au
- Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800 or www.kidshelp.com.au
Chapters that held or will hold an #orangetheworld day in support of the elimination of violence against women are encouraged to send through photos to firstname.lastname@example.org to be featured on our social media page.
Unions campaign to end sexual harassment at work
Many women also experience gender-based violence in the workplace.
In a recently concluded survey, the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) found more than 60% of women had been sexually harassed at work.
Of those who had experienced harassment, less than half reported the incident in fear of negative consequences of reporting harassment.
Forms of harassment reported by survey participants included crude or offensive behaviour, unwanted sexual attention, inappropriate physical contact and harassment on social media.
ACTU President Michele O’Neil said everyone had the right to go to work without the fear of harassment and unwanted sexual attention.
“For many people – mainly women – today in Australia this is not the reality. Our workplace laws have failed women who are experiencing harassment at work,” Ms O’Neil said.
Ms O’Neil said employers had an important role to play in ending sexual harassment in workplaces.
“This is a systemic issue in the workplace and employers cannot sit on their hands,” Ms O’Neil said.
“We need to give everyone who is sexually harassed at work fast, effective and inexpensive recourse. No one should have to weigh the cost of holding perpetrators to account."
Ms O’Neil said the entire union movement is committed to a campaign to change the rules on sexual harassment.
“Too many people are working in environments which are not safe; this needs to end.
“We call on all political parties to get behind the campaign to change the rules on sexual harassment in the workplace.”
Only through raising awareness and taking a stand can we truly change these troubling statistics.
Learn more about the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women via the UN Women website.
Read more about the Australian Unions campaign to eliminate sexual harassment at work via the ACTU website.