PRIME Minister Tony Abbott has praised the involvement of Australia’s military in White Ribbon Day, saying it sends a signal that strong men protect others and do not condone domestic violence.
Speaking at a White Ribbon Day function in Canberra, Mr Abbott said shocking statistics associated with domestic violence crimes prompted the Government to allocate $100 million as part of an action plan to combat violence against women.
“It’s really good to see the participation of our armed forces in White Ribbon Day … because the presence of our armed forces, the presence of our police is a sign that tough, strong men protect others, they don’t persecute them. That the toughest and the strongest men are peacemakers, not brutes,” he said.
“Every week a woman dies somewhere in our country in a domestic context. One woman in three will experience violence at some stage of her life.
“One woman in five will experience sexual violence at some stage in her life. It’s just wrong. It must stop,” he said.
“Government has a role to play, that’s why this Government is investing some $100 million in our Second Action Plan to combat violence against women.”
White Ribbon ambassador John Caldwell told the ABC’s Breakfast program the tragic death of 11-year-old Luke Batty at the hands of his father earlier this year had brought the issue to the forefront of people’s minds.
“When I saw his (Luke’s) photo and I thought, ‘that could have been me,’ and never before have I really thought of myself as one of the lucky ones, but that made me feel like I was one of the lucky ones,” Mr Caldwell said.
Mr Caldwell was nominated as Australian of the Year for Victoria in 2014 and said the nomination of Luke’s mother Rosie Batty for Australian of the Year in 2015 helped to highlight why the issue of domestic violence should be taken seriously.
It is about men leading the action because most of this violence against women is perpetrated by men, and so men need to be speaking to their mates and using their influence to change those attitudes and behaviours.
White Ribbon chief executive Libby Davies.
“I grew up in Melbourne in a house that was plagued by domestic violence,” he said.
“I guess as a kid hiding under the bed I always felt so helpless and now as an adult, I don’t need to. I get to take back the power that I lost as a kid, but also to educate other children that you don’t have to stay silent yourself.
“Even for kids, there are people you can talk to. As a child, hiding under a bed hearing screams outside and not sure what you will find when you eventually walk out – I used to liken it to, as the eye of a cyclone. It would go quiet. Is it safe to go out? And then it erupts again.”
Mr Caldwell said nobody came to help despite people knowing what was happening and White Ribbon Day was about breaking that silence.
“It was known what was going on outside of the house and nobody would do anything, and that’s why White Ribbon Day is so important, because it is a male-led campaign,” he said.
White Ribbon chief executive Libby Davies said more than 1,000 events would be held across Australia to promote White Ribbon Day, including a walk through Melbourne’s CBD by members of both the Melbourne and Richmond Football Clubs as part of the Walk Against Family Violence.
“It is about men leading the action because most of this violence against women is perpetrated by men, and so men need to be speaking to their mates and using their influence to change those attitudes and behaviours,” she said.
NSW Assistant Police Commissioner Mark Murdoch said several hundred people, mostly men, had marched from Randwick to Coogee in Sydney’s east in an event co-hosted with Randwick Council this morning.
He said those present, including many police officers, pledged an oath to help reduce violence against women.
“The oath is all about never ever condoning or committing acts of violence against women in any form. It’s about having those conversations with men acting as role models for other men,” he said.
Assistant Commissioner Murdoch said domestic violence cases were the single biggest crime police attended.
For more information please visit: www.whiteribbon.org.au
Source: ABC News
Image Source: The RAAF supports White Ribbon Day by posting a white ribbon on the tail of an Air Force C-130J Hercules. (RAAF: Cpl David Said)