WHEN the women in your life go out, be it your mother, partner or daughter; personal safety is nearly always a factor.
With the blokes, it’s rarely a consideration.
Especially if they’re out in Melbourne at night, they’ll make sure they park their car where it’s easily accessible, they’ll calculate the safest way to get back to the car, or where they are staying, and even have the keys ready in hand so they can get quickly back into the relative safety of the car.
It’s second nature. Mostly they forget they’re even doing it.
They try to make sure they go with friends, they’re wary of the added risks associated with a big night out and their danger radar is nearly always turned on.
It’s the reality.
But it certainly impacts their enjoyment of life more than it does the opposite sex. Not an issue? Ask your partner or your mum.
It was one of the issues discussed at a violence against women leadership workshop, in Inverloch and Cowes last Tuesday, at the end of a big year in action and advocacy by the Bass Coast Shire Council and its partners.
Of course some of the more chilling events in the lives of local women were also raise at the sessions which featured an especially hard-hitting video presentation called #DearDaddy, which those interested might care to watch on Youtube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dP7OXDWof30
But be warned, there were more than a few tears in the audience after the video was shown.
Key takeaways from the ‘Mentors In Violence Prevention’ event, hosted by Bass Coast Shire Council and Gippsland Women’s Health, offering in particular ‘Bystander Training’ included the following potential interventions (always respecting your own safety):
• Direct action (saying something, asking them to stop)
• Indirect action (seeking a security guard or someone else who could intervene safely)
• Distraction (yelling out ‘I’ve called the police’ or asking the time, directions etc.)
• Protocols (calling the police or following a workplace policy in response to something you might have witnessed)
According to Lisa Barham-Lomax, Bass Coast Shire’s Coordinator Social and Community Planning, there’s always something that bystanders can do to stop or limit the impact of violence against women, in particular, and the more people equipped to do something about it the better.
However while direct action is important, it’s the inequality that exists between men and women in society that is at the heart of the problem and simply taking action to stop in appropriate jokes and comments and helping to change attitudes to women at home and in the workplace will go a long way to stopping the alarming incidence of violence against women
What will it take to stop violence against women?