In Australia, one in three women have and will experience physical violence at the hands of a partner, with up to 10 women per day being hospitalised for assault injuries perpetrated by a spouse or domestic partner—with many labelling it as Australia’s silent national crisis.
Alarmingly, new research commissioned by White Ribbon Australia has shown that younger men are failing to recognise domestic violence, with statistics revealing that four in 10 young men don’t view actions such as punching under the category of domestic violence.
The Essential Research study surveyed 1074 adults for the anti-violence organisation, which found 42 per cent of men aged 18 to 34 did not consider “hitting, punching or restraining” another person to be “a type of domestic violence.”
On top of those actions, the national survey found that 44 per cent men in that age bracket did not classify non-consensual sexual activity, degrading or isolating a person from their friends as domestic violence.
The research found similar results for women of the same age bracket, who were found to be less likely than older women to view those behaviours as domestic violence.
This year, White Ribbon Day will land on Friday, November 20, with the theme ‘Community by Community, Workplace by Workplace’, using these recent findings to drive
White Ribbon’s Executive Director Brad Chilcott believes the “pervasive blindness to abusive behaviours among young men” is “troubling and dangerous.”
“There is a pervasive blindness to abusive behaviours among young men that is both troubling and dangerous,” said Chilcott in a statement.
“Male violence against women is not an abstract tragedy that takes place outside our realm of experience. We must accept it for what it is: a crime that we witness, tolerate through silence, and even participate in throughout our lives.
“We need men to begin having these conversations with other men, to do the hard work of shifting what is accepted male behaviour and what is abuse. This culture must change if we are ever going to eliminate men’s violence against women.”
The report comes amid passionate campaigning to State and Territory governments to make coercive control illegal in Australia—defined by patterns of manipulative behaviour, including emotional abuse, isolation, sexual coercion, financial abuse and cyberstalking.
Despite not being criminalised in Australia, coercive control is often a strong precursor to physical assault and associated with 99 per cent of cases where a woman is killed by her current or former partner.
Earlier this year, another national poll commissioned by White Ribbon showed that 70 per cent of respondents supported the idea of criminalising coercive control, following the lead of countries including Scotland, the UK, Ireland and Wales, who have all made the behaviour illegal.
Sign our petition calling on the government to make coercive control a crime and help us change the lives of thousands of women.
If you or anyone you know needs help or advice, contact 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.