Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
Many in the media will associate today with White Ribbons, which is unfortunate, because the White Ribbon campaign is hot garbage and needs to disappear.
White Ribbon Australia have repeatedly placed self-interest, feel good pomposity, and empty rhetoric ahead of the safety of women. As one of the leading organisations in Australia for the prevention of male violence against women, White Ribbon have fostered an environment that rewards virtue signalling above all tangible work against gendered violence.
The Prime Minister can cut millions of dollars from women’s shelters and domestic violence support networks, but as long as he pins on his little ribbon in November, he gets the full support of this slacktivist con job.
The fact is, White Ribbon Australia put more effort into corporate partnerships and celebrity endorsements than they do into actually confronting and combating male violence against women.
The entire purview for the White Ribbon Campaign is to raise awareness and engage men. Awareness campaigns are all good and well, but if it never transitions into anything more than that, it risks derailing any effort to create real change.
Given what we know about this group with regard to how little they do for victims of violence, and the fact that they continue to support violent offenders who just happen to be celebrities, I would discourage any fair-minded Australian from supporting them.
Instead, I would encourage everyone to have a really uncomfortable conversation with any man or woman who seems to have a bit of an issue with their temper.
Call them on their bullshit and confront them over their actions. I have had this conversation with a number of people over the years, and I will admit, others have had it with me.
It isn’t easy, but often times it takes an outside perspective to recognise how your actions impact others.
- Do not support organisations that prioritise the public image of their male “ambassadors” over the victims of violence and abuse.
- Do stand up to inappropriate attitudes and actions towards women, from anyone who might perpetuate them.
- Do not let misogynists derail the conversation.
- Do support victims and provide them with safe spaces to talk and to heal. Bring them into your home if need be, as domestic violence is the main cause of homelessness in Australia.
And most importantly, take the opportunity to educate people. There is a real need to engage with men and women on this issue, to help them understand what they can do to create real change, to explain why issues like violence against women can be traced back to disrespectful attitudes.
Stand up for women, find a way to confront disrespectful and abusive men, even if it’s as simple as shifting your body-language to express your dissatisfaction with how they’re behaving. You can roll your eyes, audibly sigh, even an astonished “Seriously?!” can help. A great tactic is to ask someone to explain a sexist joke, as though you don’t understand the point they are making.
Provide support for groups that actually help women and victims of violence, and create real opportunities for change amongst men.
Pressure local, state, and federal parties to increase funding to women’s shelters and homeless services.
On days like today, whataboutism helps no one, if you’re a man reading this and wondering why there isn’t a day for the elimination of violence against men, take a minute to look up the statistics regarding violence against women, and the fact that more than one woman is killed every week by their partner.
At the same time, shutting down discussion and abusing people for their ignorance only alienate people to the cause. If you want to discuss violence against men, that’s great, it is of serious concern, but today is not the day for that.
I, for one, would love to see a genuine attempt to build awareness campaigns and action committees dedicated to helping men and taking the issues of men’s rights and need for true equality back from extremists and MRAs.
We can do this, but please, not today.