The Standard

ELIMINATION OF VIOLENCEAdvertising Feature

Respect women, call it outAdvertising Feature

STAGGERING COST: A KPMG Report in 2016 estimated the combined social, health and economic costs of violence against women and children costs Australian society $22 billion per year. Photo:Shutterstock

During the past year, women and their allies have come together across the country to say 'enough is enough'.

They've had enough of their voices not being heard.

Their stories not believed.

Their calls for action ignored.

Their history, silenced.

They've taken to the streets, demanding change - many asking why they're still having to protest after decades of doing so.

Yet we continue to see rising rates of violence against women and children, older women overwhelmingly represented in homelessness statistics, a gender pay gap of 14.2 per cent, and women in public life subjected to personal attacks and criticism rarely directed at men.

In the past year, there has been increases in family violence across the country. The majority of victims are women and children.

We also know women are not leaving abusive relationships or they are returning to abusive partners because of Australia's chronic affordable and social housing shortage.

The United Nations Secretary-General's Campaign Unite to End Violence against Women, notes:

'Almost 1 in 3 women aged 15 years and older, around the world have been subjected to physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner, non-partner or both, at least once in their lifetime ... levels of violence against women have remained largely unchanged over the last decade.

These numbers do not reflect the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and would be even higher if they included the full continuum of violence that affect women and girls including sexual harassment, violence in digital contexts, harmful practices and sexual exploitation.'

Everyone knows a woman who has experienced abuse, whether physical, emotional, financial, sexual or other.

And if every one of us knows a victim survivor, we know perpetrators.

Why aren't we getting angry that the more people disclose they have been victims of abuse, the more we hear excuses for the 'good bloke'.

How have you heard perpetrators being excused?

It's time for us to really listen to victim-survivors - and ask, what are we doing to contribute to a community that continues to make excuses for those who abuse them?

We challenge you to educate yourself on the root causes such as gender stereotypes and harmful social norms that contribute to violence against women, and what you can do to follow the Victorian theme for 16 Days of Activism: Respect women, Call it out.

Helplines:

In an emergency call 000.

Sexual Assault Crisis Line 1800 806 292 (24hrs)

1800Respect (National Sexual Assault, Family and Domestic Violence Counselling Line) Telephone 1800 737 732.

It is time to take a standAdvertising Feature

STAMP IT OUT: Emma House is calling for everyone to work together to prevent and respond to all forms of gender-based violence so everyone feels safe in their home. Photo: Supplied

In Warrnambool and across the south west, men, women, girls, boys and people of all genders and identities, mark this International Day to Eliminate Violence Against Women by speaking out against and marching against violence.

Emma House is calling for everyone to work together to prevent and respond to all forms of gender-based violence so that here in the south west everyone, in particular women and children, feel safe in their homes, are safe to live a life free from violence and can claim their human rights.

In families and homes across the world millions of women and children fear for their lives very day and Emma House has worked tirelessly for the past 40 years to support women and children experiencing family violence.

We offer a range of services including case management, a children's program, court support, crisis accommodation and a personal safety initiatives. We are also a partner in the new Orange Door.

This year we march again in the hope that the tide is turning and that one day soon all people will live free from all forms of domestic and family violence.

As community leaders in the south west region are calling for action to end family violence by coming together on November 25 to Walk Against Family Violence.

The Walk Against Family Violence has been held annually on first day of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence to highlight the shocking reality faced daily by people experiencing violence at the hands of those who are supposed to love them. Importantly, the walk highlights what we as a community can do about it.

"Every year, we walk against family violence to highlight the shocking reality for too many victim-survivors of family violence," said Sue Finucane, Interim Executive Officer at Emma House. "We will continue to walk until family violence is a relic of the past."

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this walk will be local, 'from home', with participants walking collectively on social media.

"There is something we can do," said Finucane. "Join us in the walk against family violence online by using the hashtag #WAFV21 and start the conversations in your community to put an end to family violence.

"Whether it's your daily dog walk, the walk to school or work on November 25, you too can make your own Walk Against Violence."

Last year, Victoria Police responded to more than 93,000 family incidents across the state, or one incident every six minutes.

Despite the increased focus on family violence, these rates continue to rise. While some of this increase is due to better reporting, this statistic is still too high.

In Victoria's Western District, police attended 2809 family incidents dated up to October 2021, an increase of 17.6 per cent since 2020.

This has to stop. Take part in the Walk Against Family Violence to raise awareness of this issue. There is something you can do. Family violence is preventable, and we in the south west are working to prevent and respond to all forms of family violence.

From raising awareness of family violence by participating in the walk, calling out sexist or discriminatory behaviour, working within workplaces and community spaces to encourage equality and safety, we all have a part to play.

Emma House information stall

Emma House is holding a community information stall so if you're walking down Kepler Street, Warrnambool, please stop and chat with us.

The stall will be held at lunchtime on December 1, 3, 6 and 8.