A powerful anti-violence campaign aimed at stopping the cycle of violence before it begins.
There are not a lot of things the Australian Government is getting right at the moment so the new campaign to stop violence against women where it begins and create change on a generational level, is a big gulp of fresh mountain air and we applaud them.
Given that in this country right now 1 woman a week is killed by her intimate partner, 1 in 3 women will experience physical violence from a man in their lifetime and 1 in 5 will experience sexual violence, this campaign is everything. It finally takes what experts and women have been saying for the last decade seriously. That the behaviour, language and attitudes which lead to sexual and domestic violence are manifested and reinforced throughout childhood. This campaign aims to change it before it begins by changing the words we use and the messages we reinforce around our kids everyday.
It highlights that when we brush off small instances of violence by boys against girls in childhood, by dismissing them with phrases like “oh don’t worry about it, he just likes you” or “boys will be boys” or “don’t make a fuss,” we disempower our girls from setting boundaries and standing up against disrespectful behaviour, whilst empowering our boys with a sexist entitlement over women and their bodies. This also happens every time we dismiss behaviour and language that belittles and demeans girls or what it means to be a girl by turning it into an insult with phrases like “stop being such a girl,” or “you throw like a girl”.
These responses and reactions are so ingrained in our society and in ourselves that we don’t even notice we are doing or saying them most of the time, they just fall out of us without a second thought. Until something like this campaign makes the oblivious blindingly obvious. Like a big, bright neon sign flashing “it all starts here”. THAT is exactly what the respect campaign aims to be…the nasty sign that wakes us all up to what we’ve been doing wrong for decades by showing us how we can so easily fix it for the generations to come. Just like with seatbelts and sunscreen and smoking.
Check out the clever ad below then go to the website www.respect.gov.au to see exactly what I’m talking about (then come back and finish the blog post)!
The best thing about this is whole campaign is the The Excuse Interpreter which can be found on the website. This genius document breaks down the common harmful phrases we use with kids as they grow up and translates them into the messages our kids are receiving through the words they hear. The respect.gov.au website says the purpose of The Excuse Interpreter, is to “discover the hidden meanings of common expressions that can excuse disrespectful behaviour towards girls.”
Because if we stop excusing, dismissing and condoning the wrong language and behaviour in our boys, then perhaps they will have a shot at growing into men who act and speak with respect. And perhaps our girls and women won’t need to be so scared as they walk through the world everyday.
This resource is vitally important for anyone who is around, caring for or influencing kids. Please pass this onto any parents, teachers, grandparents, carers etc that you know. A campaign like this can only make a real impact if everyone knows about it and gets on board. Help make this world a little safe for the next generations of women by sharing the info around.