Today – November 25 – is White Ribbon Day.
A day asking people to pledge an oath to stop violence against women.
It’s an oath that has been pledged for some years now and taken very seriously by those who stand by those words.
Today is a day to reflect on family violence, the many and varied forms it comes in, the steps already taken to stamp out the violence and to reflect on those in our communities who have been and still are affected by it.
White Ribbon Day is also a chance to highlight a problem that, for far too long, has been swept under the carpet, ignored, something that happened behind closed doors and was no-one else’s businesses.
But, family violence is our business. As the highly success and awarded It’s Up to Us campaign by The Courier a few years ago pointed out, it’s up to all of us to stop violence against women.
Statistics prove that one-in-three women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence perpetrated by someone known to them, while one in four children are exposed to family violence.
What is even more shocking is that another statistic proves one woman a week in Australia is killed by an intimate partner.
Family violence comes in many shapes and forms … physical, financial, emotional, verbal, social and sexual, even stalking and spiritual.
Despite these unacceptable statistics, Australia’s laws and support services are relatively advanced when compared to other nations globally. Like many large regional centres, Ballarat has a dedicated Victoria Police family violence unit, with officers who are specially trained in handling volatile situations.
Our legal system is also taking a stronger stand against family violence perpetrators, particularly recidivist offenders.
Family violence knows no boundaries, not socio-economic, not gender or age, not religious or race. It could be your mother, daughter, sister, niece, cousin, or yourself who may be affected.
Ask for help. Look for the signs. Be active and make that pledge to stop the violence.
White Ribbon Australia is calling on everyone, particularly men, to take a stand against disrespectful behaviour and all acts of violence against women.
- National domestic violence helpline: 1800RESPECT. In an emergency call 000.