Creating a culture where violence against women is no longer excused or joked about

| July 27, 2016

Domestic violence has been brought to the forefront of community consciousness and the silence has been broken.  Yet, many women and their children live in fear, where the real terror that impacts their lives is not an external force but one within the walls of their home. Libby Davies, CEO of White Ribbon Australia, talks about a campaign aiming to stop domestic violence.

Jamie was an eight-year-old full of life and hope. She was my daughter’s best friend. She lived with her mother and father and baby sister Carrie. But all was not as it seemed as Jamie’s life became filled with terror; a terror perpetrated by a person she should have felt safe and secure with, her father. When Jamie’s mother decided to end the marriage in order to preserve her health and wellbeing and that of her daughters, the terror they were exposed to escalated. One horrendous night that terror resulted in their deaths at the hands of their husband and father. They became tragic statistics of domestic violence.

Domestic violence is the leading cause of homelessness for women and children in Australia. Many are unable to live in their homes because the risk of abuse is too great. Forced to flee, a growing number of women and children are living in cars, caravan parks, boarding houses, refuges or couch surfing. Our homes should be safe havens but for some women they are places of fear, control and intimidation. For them, fleeing is the better option, despite the cold and uncertainty.

On average one woman a week is killed in Australia as a result of intimate partner violence, with 38 so far this year. Women are three times more likely than men to experience violence from an intimate partner.

White Ribbon is dedicated to increasing awareness of the scourge of domestic terror and working to prevent it from occurring at all. It seeks to create a change in culture that allows this violence to take place and an Australia in which violence against women is no longer misunderstood, excused or joked about. One of the ways it does this is by operating prevention programs.

July 29 is White Ribbon Night, a vital annual campaign to raise critical funds for prevention programs that drive change, programs that, as independently evaluated, are making a positive difference. This vital prevention work needs funds and that is what White Ribbon Ribbon Night is about.

Australians committed to preventing this violence from happening are asked to have a night in with family and friends in their homes or hold an event to highlight this national crisis while raising funds to expand White Ribbon Australia’s programs in schools, workplaces and beyond.

The themes of the campaign this year embrace some of Australia’s most popular pastimes – footy, film and feast – to encourage everyone to come together and join the movement to end men’s violence against women.

Register your event at All donations over $2 are tax deductible.

If you or someone you know is experiencing violence, call 1800 RESPECT for advice or support. In an emergency call 000.

Libby Davies

Libby Davies is CEO of White Ribbon Australia. Globally, White Ribbon is the world’s largest male-led movement to end men’s violence against women. Originating in Canada in 1991, White Ribbon is now active in more than 60 countries.