Men have a vital role to play in the anti-domestic violence movement, advocates say
9 October 2019 at 4:32 pm
White Ribbon Australia has shut down, but community groups say engaging with men remains an important component of the movement to end violence against women.
The Australian chapter of White Ribbon – which is a global campaign of men working to prevent domestic violence – announced last week it had gone into liquidation amid financial turmoil.
The organisation has been accused in the past of rewarding men for “shallow actions of hosting morning teas and wearing a pretty white ribbon” rather than truly working to achieve behavioral change in men.
But a network of community groups on Wednesday said Australian men remained crucial partners in nationwide efforts to end violence against women and children.
These groups – including the Accountability Matters Project, Jesuit Social Services (The Men’s Project), Male Champions of Change, No To Violence and Stopping Family Violence – have restated their ongoing commitment to engage with men on the issue.
Director of strategy for No to Violence Che Bishop said leaders must work together to address the corrosive effects of violence against women.
“We are at such a critical point and ongoing, cross-sector engagement must continue – including partnering with men to end domestic and sexual violence,” Bishop said.
Matt Tyler, executive director of The Men’s Project, agreed cross-sector engagement was important.
“Working with men is one component of ending violence against women. Women and children’s services must be adequately funded to ensure a rounded approach to this issue,” Tyler said.
“In addition to adequately funding these services, we need to listen to the voices of women to guide further work that engages men and boys to address the attitudes and behaviours that underpin violence.”
Tyler added that men had a critical role to play in this space by acting as role models.
He said community groups would equip men with the knowledge, skills and confidence to engage other men in discussions promoting healthy masculinities and improved attitudes, which would ultimately prevent violence.
Dr Michael Flood, who is a leading researcher on violence prevention, said many male CEOs were already aware of their role delivering gender equality in the workplace through strong support systems for employees experiencing domestic and sexual violence.
He said the anti-domestic violence sector should harness the “energetic community support” previously thrown behind the White Ribbon Campaign.
“At this critical point in the movement to end violence against women, we need to maintain momentum, working together to deliver a community response so that men can continue to be part of real and effective solutions to ending domestic and sexual violence,” Flood said.