Quick escape

Teens & young adults

If you’re a young person, find out what you can do to help end violence against women and learn about how common this is among young people in Australia today.

 

What you can do

  • Start by thinking about your own attitudes about males and females. Do you treat them differently, talk to them differently, or expect them to act differently just because of their sex?
  • If someone makes a dumb joke about women or yells out to them on the street, say something. You’re probably not the only one who thinks it’s stupid. Let the person know that what they said is wrong. Even simple stuff, like not laughing at these jokes, or rolling your eyes and walking away can make a real difference because you’re letting your friends know you think it’s wrong without getting aggressive or confrontational.
  • If someone you know is behaving in a controlling manner towards their girlfriend, like telling her who she can and can’t hang out with, checking up on her all the time, or criticising how she dresses, talk to her and see if she’s ok. Being jealous and controlling is not a sign of love or commitment, it’s a sign of violence.
  • If you hear someone saying something that blames a victim of sexual assault by asking: “What was she wearing?” or “Was she drunk?” ask them “What that’s got to do with it?!”  Tell them those kinds of attitudes contribute to a society that excuses violence against women. The only person responsible for sexual violence is the perpetrator. 
  • When we say a victim should have better protected herself, instead of suggesting the rapist should have kept it in his pants, we can make victims of sexual assault believe that it’s their fault they were raped. This is one of the biggest things that stop women getting help or telling someone what happened.

The stats on violence

The statistics around violence against women in Australia are not good: one woman in three has experienced physical violence and one in five has experienced sexual violence since the age of 15.1 

The stats are even worse for young women. Those aged 18 to 24 are more likely to experience physical or sexual violence than women across all other age groups.2 

Don’t young men experience violence too?

Both young men and women experience violence in Australia, but the violence that young women experience is generally different.

Young men are more likely to experience violence from other young men, and in public places. 

Young women are more likely to experience violence from young men too, but it usually happens in private. Most sexual assault, and most violence in relationships, is perpetrated against young women by a young man that they know. 

It’s physically and mentally harmful and it’s often about control.

Violence occurs when someone believes they have the right to control and hold power over someone else. Whether it’s physical, sexual, psychological, financial or any other type of control, many men have grown up to believe they can tell women how to behave or what to do.

But they can’t. No matter how you’ve seen people behave in relationships growing up, no matter what other people say or what the media tells us, both men and women deserve to be treated equally and with respect – in relationships and everywhere else.

A group of young people looking at their mobile phones.

What you can do to prevent violence against women

Some people believe that sexual or relationship violence is none of their business because it happens in private, or think that there’s nothing they can do to help, but that’s not the case.

To prevent violence against women, we have to stop the beliefs and behaviours that excuse, justify or condone violence and the inequality that’s based on whether you were born a girl or a boy. 

If everyone challenges sexism, harassment, gender inequality and sex discrimination when they see it, we will have a positive impact on ending violence against women in the long term.

It can be hard to challenge someone’s behaviour, especially when you’re surrounded by people who don’t say anything if someone says something sexist or offensive. But if you understand why it’s important and why we have to speak up, you’ll find others will listen and even join you in doing the right thing.

For more info head over to The Line to help you work out what’s ok and what’s not.

The Line is about navigating relationships and helping recognise behaviour that crosses the line.
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1. Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), 2012
2. ABS, 2012