The Australian Human Right’s Commission’s White Ribbon Ambassadors, Mick Gooda, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, and Graeme Innes, Disability Discrimination Commissioner, believe there is no place for violence against women in our community and that men can and should unite to try and prevent it.
Today is International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, which is also commemorated by the White Ribbon Campaign.
“White Ribbon Day is more than just a symbol, it is a time to draw attention to this grave issue in our society,” said Commissioner Innes. “It is a time to ask men to ensure their actions make it clear they are against it, by speaking out about it and passing the important message – that there is no place for violence against women - onto their family and friends, particularly to other males.”
Commissioner Innes said national research shows that over 1.2 million women and girls over the age of 15 in Australia have experienced domestic or family violence, usually at the hands of a male partner. He said Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are 45 times more likely than non-Indigenous women to be victims of domestic violence and women with disabilities are abused at least twice as often as women without disabilities.
Commissioner Gooda said that statistics such as these were truly horrifying.
“Today is tremendously important for drawing a national spotlight to this issue, as well as for educating men and boys about the steps they can take to prevent and raise general awareness of this tragic issue among their peers and in the wider community.”
Mr Gooda said that, as Commissioner, he has a particular focus on issues of lateral violence – harmful behaviour perpetrated within oppressed communities - among Indigenous people, and had invested, with other stakeholders, to try and eradicate it.
“Violence against women can also happen in the context of lateral violence and it can occur within families, between families, between clans and even across entire communities,” Commissioner Gooda said. “Awareness and education, as well as clear disapproval from respected male community members of the attitudes and behaviours that support this violence, are all part of the solution.”
Commissioner Innes said White Ribbon Day reminded us that, when men and boys stand against this scourge alongside women, the message to everyone is that violence against women cannot be tolerated in any way.
Media contacts: For Commissioner Gooda, call Louise McDermott on 0419 258 597
For Commissioner Innes, call Neena Mairata on 0417 957 525.