Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and marks the beginning of the United Nation’s 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence.
Running until World Human Rights Day- 10 December, United Nation’s 16 Days of Activism highlights and draws attention – one day at a time – to one of the most persistent violations of human rights; violence against women.
This year in Victoria, 16 Days of Activism will be focusing on the notion of “Respect Is…”, asking everyday Victorians to consider gender-based violence and what it may look like, and to call out instances where they recognise gender-based violence or it’s precursors taking place.
What you can do
- Call it out. Calling it out doesn’t need to be a big deal. Speak up when a joke is offensive.
- Talk to your children about gender equality. Read books that challenge gender stereotypes, inspire imaginations and expand children’s sense of what is possible. Check out Bayside Libraries book lists; Gender Equality for Adults, Gender Equality for Young Children, Gender Equality for Older Children.
- Consider your own attitudes towards gender. Do you expect men and women to behave in certain ways, to move through the world differently?
- If you see someone being harassed, and you feel safe to do so, step in and offer assistance.
- Take part in our Bystander Program presented by MATE, Lunchbox Webinar and facilitated by Griffith University.
The term ‘bystander’ describes a person who is present or witnesses an event or incident but is not actively involved in it. Sadly, we know gender-based violence occurs where we work, learn, socialise and rest. In the work-place, at schools/universities, in social settings and primarily, the home.
Bystanders may observe gender-violence in any of the aforementioned environments and have the capacity to take action. Bystander action refers to ‘how’ a bystander calls out, or engages others in responding to incidences of violence, sexism, harassment or discrimination. Importantly, there is no ‘right way’ to be an active bystander. Depending on the situation at hand, various forms of intervention can be deployed, and a bystander should consider their own comfort and safety above all else.
Some common bystander interventions include:
- Vocally calling out inappropriate behaviour
- Physically repositioning yourself closer to the victim as a show of support
- Take note of the inappropriate behaviour witnessed and report the incident to the relevant authorities after the event
Bayside City Council and The City of Kingston are presenting the MATE Bystander Program – Lunchbox Webinar, facilitated by Griffith University.