Stop violence against women by supporting White Ribbon Day

Tomorrow is White Ribbon Day, an intiative to raise awareness about violence against women in Australia. And apparently it's very much needed. This is from their website: 

Violence against women is a grave problem in Australian society. One woman is killed every week by a current or former partner. One in three women over the age of 15 report physical or sexual violence at some time in their lives. And domestic and family violence is the major cause of homelessness for women and their children, and a recognised form of child abuse.

Violence against women also places a massive financial burden on the nation. In the 2009 Time For Action Report, KPMG estimated that violence against women and their children cost the Australian economy $13.6 billion annually. This number is expected to rise to $15.6 billion within the decade.

White Ribbon works to stop this insidious violence.

This speech, by the Victorian Police Commissioner, lays out the personal toll, aside from the grim statistics. It's well worth reading.

Apparently domestic violence in Australia is up, says this report in the Age from a few months ago. According to a 2004 Victorian study, it is the leading contributor to death, disability and illness of Victorian women aged 15 to 44.

The question is, of course, 'why?' and I was pleased to see that the report gave a straightforward answer. It's not that their wives and partners 'bring it on themselves', or even that abusive men have an 'anger problem' and can't help themselves. (If that was the case, surely we'd see more violence in workplaces. After all, bosses and employees can do things that trigger anger.)

It seems to be that abusive men take it out on the women in their lives for one main reason: they don't think that women are equal to men.

A 2007 report on violence prevention argued that: ''The most significant drivers of violence against women are the unequal distribution of power and resources between men and women and an adherence to rigidly defined gender roles.'' And the manager of VicHealth's preventing violence against women program, targets gender inequality as the main focus of change when working with abusers. 

I'm fortunate enough to have never been a victim of violence, and for that I thank my family very much. But I have known several people who have been brutalised, abused, beaten up, emotionally manipulated and psychologically assaulted. Violence has a terrible impact on people, and especially children.

If you're in a situation where you're being abused, seek help and tell someone. It doesn't have to be this way. If you're a perpetrator, get help now. And if you're an ordinary bod who suspects that something's happening to someone you know, speak up.