By Richard O’Brien
Yesterday was White Ribbon Day, a national day to stop men’s violence against women. Courtesy of the ABS and White Ribbon, here are some statistics:
- 76 women have been killed this year as a result of intimate partner violence, 1.6 deaths per week
- About two-thirds of physical assaults against women are committed in the home
- One in three women have experienced physical violence since the age of 15
- One in five women have experienced sexual violence since the age of 15
- One in eight women have been sexually abused before the age of 15
- Nearly three-quarters of physical assaults on women are perpetrated by a current or previous male partner, male family member or friend
- More than 3 in 5 women who experience physical assault and 4 in 5 women who experience sexual assault do not report it to police
- One in five women experience harassment in the workplace
- One in five women over 18 has been stalked during her lifetime
- Intimate partner violence is the leading cause of death, disability and ill-health in Australian women aged 15-44
And for the record:
- 4% of assaults on men have been perpetrated by a female current or former partner
- 74% of physical assaults on men have been carried out by male strangers
A 2013 World Health Organization report concluded that intimate partner violence is the most common type of violence against women, affecting 30% of women worldwide. This represents one of the worst human rights crises on the planet.
Last month Malcolm Turnbull announced a $100 million domestic and family violence package, which is great, until you realise that $300 million has been cut from front line services by this government over the last two years. In New South Wales, where 12,561 assaults on women were reported to police last year (34 a day), funding cuts have led to a severe shortage of women’s refuges and support services.
It’s not just the government who are letting women down. Research shows that the two biggest factors in reducing violence against women are social policy initiatives addressing gender inequity and building greater equality and respect between men and women. Yet the same research shows that there has been no discernible change in these statistics in the last decade.
It isn’t just about individual men respecting women and treating them as true equals, it’s about being a society where all men do. It’s well past time we started to do that.