16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence
We are half way through the 16 days of Activism against Gender-based Violence, an international campaign to galvanise support for ending violence against women and girls. Campaigns like this are important because according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Personal Safety Survey 2016, one in four Australian women has experienced violence by a partner since the age of 15. We know that domestic violence occurs across all age groups and life stages. However, rather than reducing during pregnancy, expecting a child is a key risk factor for domestic violence beginning or escalating.
The violation of women’s human rights within maternity services has largely evaded the attention of the Australian community. Disrespectful maternity care represents a dimension of violence against women and it is imperative that the Australian community acknowledges, minimises and addresses the violence experienced by pregnant women. The Australian Human Rights Commission has identified that childbearing women’s experience of disrespectful, non-consented and non-dignified maternity care is overshadowed by Australian women’s heightened risk of experiencing disrespect, discrimination and/or abuse in relation to their paid work and personal relationships during pregnancy.
We know that gender inequality is at the core of the problem and we need cultural and systemic change to end violence against women. An Australia free of violence against women and their children is an Australia where women are not only safe, but respected, valued and treated as equals in private and public life. Let’s change the story: Violence against women in Australia, demonstrates how gender inequality contributes to violence against women in Australia and how we are all responsible in changing this narrative.
Each situation is different, there is no one way to respond to disrespect towards women however you can show it’s not okay by showing how you feel; support women and others doing something; and you can speak up. You can do something to end violence against women.