For the second consecutive year, Swinburne has partnered with The City of Boroondara for the council’s annual White Ribbon Day event.
Boroondara White Ribbon Day is an opportunity to support the movement to end violence against women and children.
The free public forum featured the following speakers:
- Author and social commentator Clementine Ford
- Swinburne Research Fellow Dr Angela Spinney
- Inspector Stephen Noy from Victoria Police
- Master of Ceremonies, Michael Somerville, Manager of Local Laws at the City of Boroondara
Dr Angela Spinney
Dr Angela Spinney, Research Fellow and Lecturer at the Swinburne Institute for Social Research, specialises in the housing consequences of domestic and family violence and was an expert witness at the recent Royal Commission on family violence.
Dr Spinney highlighted to the audience that there are many types of domestic violence and that it isn’t limited to just physical abuse.
“It’s about one person having power and control over another… and that control can take many forms… it can be threatening to hurt someone, threatening to take their children, it can be financial, it can be spiritual, it’s ways that someone can have power over you.”
Inspector Steven Noy
Inspector Steven Noy noted the dramatic changes in the way that police and society have dealt with domestic violence over the course of his career.
He said he is pleased that women are now encouraged and empowered to report domestic violence crimes.
“People are having the confidence to come forward...In Boroondara over the past 12 months we’ve seen an increase in (domestic violence) reports by over 31 per cent.”
Inspector Noy said that as a male he is aware of his genders role in domestic violence.
“Males triple females as perpetrators of family violence… I cannot overstate the importance of a male challenging his mates about their behaviour, rather than laughing at or encouraging the derogatory comments about women, what they deserve and where they really belong.”
A barbeque lunch was provided for the Boroondara community after the event.
Clementine Ford is a columnist for Fairfax’s ‘Daily Life’ and a regular contributor to The Age, and the Sydney Morning Herald.
Clementine’s work challenges the issues of men’s violence against women and gender issues in Australia.
“One in three girls over the age of 15 will be targeted by sexual violence in her lifetime and one in five women over the age of 15 will be targeted by physical violence by a man in her lifetime.”
“We often frame these things as if men should care because it could affect their wives, their daughters, their friends… but we need to be more honest about the fact that men should care about these issues because women are human beings.”
A secondary school student in the audience asked Clementine what individuals can do to challenge sexism and she said that one of the simplest ways is to ask someone to repeat themselves when they tell sexist jokes, or make sexist comments.
“There is something about having someone repeat something that they know is wrong…because they might think twice when they have to say it again.”
“You might find these things start a little bit of a change in your own community, and that it allows people to be able to start the conversation.”
National White Ribbon Day (November 25, 2016) was first held in 2003 and is an opportunity to stand up and speak out to prevent violence against women.
The Boroondara community are encouraged to contact Camcare Inc. for support, assistance and information regarding family violence.