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From all walks of life: Melburnians unite against family violence

November 25 2014 By Hannah Grant

The streets of Melbourne were alive this afternoon with the collective spirit of hundreds of people who took to the streets in a stand against family violence.

Photo of Walk Against Family Violence event including Rosie Batty and Ken Lay. Image

The sixth annual ‘Walk Against Family Violence’ was held at Federation Square, just one of many events held around the country to honour the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, also known as White Ribbon Day.      

Hundreds of Melburnians marched the major city streets waving banners, sharing stories and spreading the message that violence against women and children will not be tolerated.     

Victorian Police Chief Commissioner Ken Lay spoke of the need for men to change their behaviours and explained that catcalling and sexist comments are undeniably connected to attitudes that condone violence against women.     

“This is absolutely a men's issue because it’s the men who harass and degrade women. There is nothing manly about treating women like a lesser being,” said Commissioner Lay.     

He also empowered the crowds of people to take ownership of the issue calling on all Australians to raise gentlemen to model gender equity and encourage respectful behaviours towards women.      

“We all have an opportunity to change the conversation and our collective power to make a difference cannot be underestimated,” he said.      

Domestic violence survivor Rosie Batty shared her personal journey and spoke of the need to acknowledge the statistics and end victim-blaming towards those who have suffered family violence.     

“These are real figures and real statistics. One women per week is killed by a current or former partner and this has become an epidemic,” said Rosie Batty.    

“It is absolutely not right that victims continue to get blamed for a situation they can't get out of. How often do we criticise the victim for not leaving instead of challenging men's behaviours?” she said.      

She then asked one single question of the audience. "Why?"       

Fiona McCormack from Domestic Violence Victoria spoke of the need for Australians to challenge sexist attitudes and call out when they hear excuses for violence.     

She also called on political leaders and the general public to make violence against women an election issue.

What you can do

  1. Challenge stereotypes 
  2.  Call out sexist attitudes
  3. Speak out if you hear excuses for violence or victim blaming
  4.  Spread the word that violence is never an option or a solution and there is NO excuse
  5. Acknowledge respect and equality when you see it
  6.  Celebrate our role models
Together we can work to end violence against women and children.


For enquiries or further information: Hannah Grant, Our Watch, mobile 0448 844 930, email Hannah.Grant@ourwatch.org.au

*If you cover this story, or any story regarding violence against women and children, please include the following tagline:
“If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000”


Our Watch’s (previously the Foundation to Prevent Violence against Women and their Children) purpose is to raise awareness and engage the community in action to prevent violence against women and their children.
Our Watch was conceived of and brought into existence in 2013 by the Commonwealth of Australia and the State of Victoria. The Northern Territory and South Australian governments have also since become members of the organisation.
Our Watch’s work derives from the government’s commitment to the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010 – 2022 and gives expression to many of the activities in the Second Action Plan 2013–2016 – Moving Ahead.

Image captions:

1. Victorian Police Chief Commissioner Ken Lay with colleague and White Ribbon Ambassador Jeremy Meltzer
2. Domestic violence survivor Rosie Batty and Victorian Police Chief Commissioner Ken Lay
3. Crowds of people marching in the walk against family violence
4. Local Cohealth ambassador and members of the Melbourne Football Club

Victorian Police Chief Commissioner Ken Lay and colleague
Domestic violence survivor Rosie Batty and Victorian Police Chief Commissioner Ken Lay and the first male White Ribbon Ambassador
 Crowds of people walking in the march
 Local Cohealth ambassador and members of the Melbourne Football Club