Australia tries to stop a violence against women ‘epidemic’, starting with schools

Australia tries to stop a violence against women 'epidemic', starting with schools
Women hold signs at a rally to call for action to end violence against women, in Canberra, Australia 28 April 2024.LUKAS COCH/EPA- EFE/REX/Shutterstock

” But, let’s talk about porn”, says Ethan West to the school of American youth. Most look somewhat unpleasant. All are unusually silent.

Would pornographic films have a relationship in which the stars discuss their feelings or consent? he continues. More solitude.

At Kellyville High School, northeast of Sydney, this is just one challenging discussion the 15- year- olds may become having today.

There is n’t much off limits on the Love Bites program, which the national charity Napcan has given to thousands of students. From sexist jokes and coercive control to sexual assault and brutal jealousy-fueled assaults.

The “respectful marriage knowledge” title sounds a little drab. However, it is being presented in light of this nation’s “national issue” of violence against women. attempting to alter the behaviors and attitudes that have contributed to that society at its base.

The problem came into sharper focus after the high-profile stabbing deaths of six people last month in Sydney’s Bondi Junction shopping center, where police claimed it appeared “obvious” that perpetrator Joel Cauchi had targeted people.

In the month since then, at least three American people have been murdered, reportedly by colleagues or exes.

According to Destroy the Joint, a battle organization that oversees the Counting Dead Women task, 28 women have been brutally murdered in Australia this year. Next month, it was 15 at the same time.

In 2023, 64 people were killed by one known to them. The Counting Dead Women venture in the UK, which has more than half the population, reported that the figure was 100.

Tens of thousands of people in Australia took part in marches two weeks ago that demanded that sexist violence been declared a national crisis.


” For a younger woman growing up in Australia it’s terrible, knowing these things are happening”, says student Shriya, who listens attentively at the back of the classroom as the group is given little cards with statements like as “equality”,” prostitute- shaming” and” sending unnecessary nudes”.

They’re asked to place the statements along a series of masking tape on the floor- labelled “respect and assent society” at one end, and “violence and abuse society” at the other.

According to Tara Gleig, a scholar support agent who helps with Love Bites,” Think of the collection today as a metaphor for your colon feeling.” ” Your brain will tell you when something’s not right. I’d like to let you know where that is.

Ethan West, a senior officer with New South Wales Police, wanted to “fix” what he called an “epidemic” due to his encounter with domestic violence calls.

Ethan West

” Every two minutes police are called to a domestic violence position in Australia”, he says. And he thinks that for the younger generation, home crime is on a “new field”.

” All online- there’s stalking, abuse. And sending sensual images poses a lot of problems in relationships. Younger people regularly share naked pictures. The relationship does end and they’re shared with another. That’s a private violence infraction”.

Growing up in Australia, Kya, 16, is “on top” due to the threat of assault, the micro-aggressions of discriminatory jokes, and the perception that she is less valued than the males in her course and neighborhood.

” There are so many new developments in society, but this is still something that’s happening”, she says. ” You have someone making a sexist comment]but ] really it’s not that difficult to evolve from”.

She believes that more kids in her year group should” step off,” even though some are unwaveringly determined to do more.


” As a man, I feel the need to be more muscular, more strong”, says Izaiah- the chattiest of the guys in the program we observe.

” Marriage crime is very critical. Being an American student and learning about it is a large component of growing up.

However, it’s challenging to achieve shift. 10 years before, Rosie Batty’s brother John was killed by his parents, Greg Anderson. Although Ms. Batty rose to prominence as one of the nation’s leading advocates for family violence, more devastationful events have often reignited the national conversation.
These include the deaths of youth Lilie James and her husband Paul Thijssen, who had a liminal marriage with her, and Hannah Clarke and her three young children, who were killed by her ex-husband Rowan Baxter in 2020.

So while the new wave of violence against girls has prompted state and federal governments to step up, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s call for change to occur across all of culture is dangerously comfortable.

So too are different problems. Only three of the issues that keep popping up are: a lack of mental health help, generally underwhelming police responses to domestic violence complaints, and the over-representation of indigenous Australians as both family violence victims and perpetrators.

In the end, Tara Gleig says, “Education for younger people and this program going into colleges is one element of a very, very large puzzle.” ” To be able to make change and]make ] that generational culture, societal change, it has to be a collaborative approach”.

Another group initiative aims to accomplish that in Melbourne’s internal suburbs under the floodlights of a cloudy Australian Rules soccer pitch. The sports field, one of Australia’s most infamously rebellious segments, is where they want to make changes.

Matthew Holmes pictured at an Australian Rules football club

” I’ve played footy since I was a kid”, says Matthew Holmes, who at the age of 38 has heard lots of locker room talk. ” I’ve been to teams where it was quite blokey, which was good in and of itself,” said one participant,” but it did seem to devolve, especially once you start having alcohol.”

He is much happier that he is now playing for West Brunswick, a fast-growing team that created a women’s team in response to the demand from female players. The shift has quietly, and very intentionally, altered the lifestyle there.

More equitable changing areas are being constructed, and they’ve likewise incorporated some outside assistance.

According to Dominic Alford of Relationships Australia Victoria, whose Good Clubs initiative aims to combat identity murder through sport,” a lot of women and gender- different people are wanting to play sports and they’re coming into clubs that are usually male-dominated.”

” Those clubs face a challenge of making the change to include those people,” he said. We discuss developing strong relationships and cultivating resilience so that they can engage in those conversations not only within their respective sporting clubs but also within their communities and personal lives.

He claims that there have been numerous inquiries from sports clubs and workplaces as a result of the recent headlines about the high-profile killing of women in Australia.

Kristy de Pelligrini

It’s deeply personal for Kristy de Pelligrini, who remembers her younger days around football clubs. We ran the canteen, ran the netball team, and did other tasks all around the place. The guys had to play footy before it was over. She currently plays for one of the three women’s soccer teams in West Brunswick.

Nahkita Wolfe, a teammate, was informed when she was 11 that she had to stop playing Australian Rules football.

She claims that sport defines Australian culture and identity. ” It’s something that unites us, it’s something that brings us together, but yet… for half the population we’re often not welcomed into those communities and that’s obviously really distressing”.

It’s a chasm which plays into a much bigger problem.

” You speak to any woman pretty much, we’ll be able to tell you about experiences of sexual assault, domestic violence, different things that they’ve experienced and I’m no exception”, says Nahkita.

” Many of the experiences I’ve had are related to men who have been able to get away with it because they’ve always been able to get away with everything because they’re good at sports,” he said.

Nahkita Wolfe

Change has been slow- but there is movement.

” There were definitely some comments that these days you would n’t walk past anymore- things like’ girls ca n’t play footy’ or ‘ you play like a girl,'” says 26- year- old Conor Fowler, who’s been playing Australian Rules football since he was a boy.

What do you mean by “people are ] asking a question now when they might hear something,” as you might say? And a straightforward question like that prompts reflection on their statements.

While the recent wave of violence has inspired people to consider how to address the issue, those in the field of gender violence contend that government-funded initiatives are not the panacea.

Money is always important, but everyone’s a problem, according to Senior Constable West. If everyone plays their part, no matter how much money is spent, because if we work together, we’ll make a difference. Not enough people are pursuing and championing a problem that can be solved by money.