End violence agains women.

This year’s theme to mark the International Day to End Violence against Women and the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence is “Orange the World – raise funds to end violence against women”. The colour orange symbolizes a better future without this pervasive human rights violation that affects 1 in 3 women and girls worldwide.

The international campaign starts every year on 25 November and finishes on 10 December.  25th  November is also the White Ribbon day. Today we launched the White Ribbon Day at the Government House. The speech from the Governor Linda Dessau AM said that she had been a lawyer and a Family Court Judge for a very long time and she had heard many many cases of    violence against women over the years. I am paraphrasing her speech.    She said it is a sad problem which is far too common. She posed a questions- is the situation changing? And she answered by saying yes. The situation is changing for the better. But is it enough? And the answer is NO.  There is a lot more to do yet says Governor Linda Dessau.

Another speaker this morning was the Founder of White Ribbon Dr Michael Kaufman of Canada. He started by saying –Far too long the women have been alone in the bedroom, in their house, suffering violence alone at the hands of the men in their lives.  First some brave women stood up and supported them. Then he said he and his male friends spurred on by their much loved partners took a stand and started the White Ribbon movement. It is now an international movement and Australia is at the forefront of it.

White Ribbon stands for preventing violence, and for raising awareness on violence especially among men and school children.  The new White Ribbon Oath says

I will stand up, speak out and act to prevent man’s violence against woman

I recently saw a couple. She was very distressed. She said her husband refuses to acknowledge her with respect. He calls her names and if she does anything that he does not like he hits her

She reacted one day and hit him back. Now both are in trouble with the law.  He wants her to take back the police complaint against him. But she wants him to change his behaviour first.

If he puts pressure on her to take her complaint back against him, this is taking advantage of her powerless position in the marriage.  He promise he will change. Sometimes a woman may feel she is lonely, or there is pressure from her family or in-laws and she gives in to her husband. She takes the complaint back. It is often followed by same level of domestic violence as before because   he has no incentive to change.  A reversal of Police complaint by her is not going to improve his behaviour.

The first step is that he comprehends that his behaviour is called violence, that his behaviour is disrespectful and that domestic violence against women is wrong and is against the law . Then he must accept his responsibility for bad behaviour. This has to be followed by genuine remorse and repenting of his behaviour, and then learn new ways of behaving towards his wife One that is not based on abuse of   power and control   but one that shows genuine respect and equality

People can change and grow with therapy. They can. But real growth comes from taking responsibilities for one’s behaviour, one that  caused violence and abuse; followed by   genuine self-introspection and then  spend time to learn alternatives techniques, alternative to using violence to resolve disagreements  and  learn  new healthy behaviours .