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The uncomfortable truth is that this is something that is overwhelmingly perpetrated by men and where women and children are overwhelming the victims. Men who choose to use violence have hyper-masculine attitudes about their rights as men and the role and rights of women.
They believe they have a right as men to behave this way and that it’s women who are to blame.
This is backed by the broader community when we make excuses.
It’s also because we think of these men as mad or bad. But they’re just everyday men who believe they have a right to behave this way.
Providing women with information on the early warning signs is crucial because it also provides us with information on the patterns of control.
Some of those warning signs are:- Is he resistant to you living an independent life? He may be in the early stages but is he respectful to other women? At a systems level: We need to build a system of perpetrator accountability.
There’s a common myth that certain women seek out abusers as partners when the reality is that there are men who recognise there are few options for redress for certain women and take advantage of that fact. Well, I feel powerless and frustrated, but like thousands and thousands of men and women across Australia, I make the decision everyday not to use violence or be abusive.2. It’s usually experienced by women as a range of behaviours meant to intimidate and control. Most of these men are able to control themselves at work.3. So many women don’t recognise they’re in an abusive relationship until it’s reached crisis, especially if they’re not experiencing physical violence.
We must understand violence against women as a choice. That’s because they’re sent messages by the perpetrators that they are responsible.
They can be capable of great acts of kindness even at times towards their partner, or of civic acts. If we’re going to prevent murders, really it’s critical we start saying: 'No matter how disaffected a man feels, no matter how hard done by the system he is, it’s never okay to harm or take the life of your partner or your child.'4.
But how common is it to see men challenge other men? When we look at population health outcomes and at who is at risk of violence we can identify another group: young men.
Overwhelmingly, the violence they experience is perpetrated by other men but we also see this as the norm.
Family violence is a key driver of 23 per cent of national homelessness in Australia. It’s a factor in over 50 per cent of substantiated child protection cases. Violence against women costs the Australian economy .6 billion every year. It’s still commonly maintained that women are as violent as men, and it’s still commonly misunderstood to be caused by mental health, drugs and alcohol, cultural factors, economic pressures, et cetera—and these can all be contributing but not causal factors. There is hope because this certainly isn't biological, it’s not innate. This is something deeply cultural—a part of our history deeply ingrained in our collective psyche. International research shows that violence against women occurs in countries across the world to a greater or lesser extent depending upon some key factors:- Rigid adherence to gender stereotypes- The status of women compared to men- Our violence-supportive attitudes We often use the term 'gender' colloquially to mean physiological differences between men and women, but academically gender refers to social norms, the social expectations about the roles and rights of men and women in our society.
The common denominator in most of these cases is gender. Our expectations about men and women stem from a long cultural history and are essentially sexist.