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Sporting stars unite to say there is no excuse for violence

November 23 2016 By Hannah Grant, Media and Ambassador Program Manager

Our Watch has partnered with Australia’s four largest sporting codes to show the world there is no excuse for violence.

Players from the Australian Football League (AFL), Australian Rugby Union (ARU), Netball Australia and the National Rugby League (NRL) have banded together under the Our Watch #NoExcuse4Violence campaign for the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.

Our Watch research indicates that young Australians need positive role models who promote respectful, healthy and equal relationships between men and women, Our Watch Chair Natasha Stott Despoja said.

“Our research indicates that 1 in 4 young people aged 12 to 24 holds attitudes that put them at risk of perpetrating, excusing or tolerating violence against women,” she said.

These young people tolerate coercive and disrespectful behaviour, are more likely to justify violence, and believe being masculine means exerting power and control over their partners. 

“Young people’s attitudes reflect the messages and signals they get from family, peers, popular culture and general society,” Ms Stott Despoja said. 

“We need role models and community leaders to send an unequivocal message that people who excuse, trivialise or perpetrate violence are in the minority and are not respected.”

25 November marks the United Nation’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and is the beginning of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, ending on International Human Rights Day.

St Kilda Football Club AFL Player Jarryn Geary said “the responsibility lies with all of us, to speak up, to have the strength to call out sexism, victim-blaming and justifications for violence.”

Australian Kangaroos and North Queensland Cowboys NRL player Matthew Scott said "women in Australia are being hurt and killed by men they know - often by men that they love and trust. This is unacceptable, there is no excuse for violence." 

Australian Netball Diamonds player Caitlin Thwaites said “more voices across the community mean there are more opportunities to stop violence against women."

Stephen Moore, Captain of the Qantas Wallabies, said "every woman and child deserves to be part of respectful relationships - we all have a role to play in making sure that's the attitude of our society." 

Frances Demetriou (19) from Melbourne said it is sometimes hard to know how to behave in a relationship, especially if it is the first time. 

“I went through a rather bad break up and there were parts of my behaviour during the relationship that were completely inappropriate.  It would have been easy for me to make excuses for myself but I needed someone to make me really think about what I had done so that I could grow as a person,” she said.

“I feel like public figures like community leaders and athletes can set a good example by shaping our idea of what it means to be an adult with positive and healthy relationships.  By being positive role-models and open about how they maintain positive relationships in life, this helps us when we need to make our own life decisions,” said Ms Demetriou.

In Parliament house today, Ms Stott Despoja urged MPs and the wider community to “show you reject all forms of violence towards women, including the sexist and disrespectful attitudes that excuse or can lead to violence.”

Get involved by uploading a photo to social media with the hashtag #NoExcuse4Violence and share it with your network.

Media contact:

Hannah Grant, Media and Ambassador Program Manager, Our Watch: 0448 844 930 or 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, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000. For more information about a service in your state or local area download the DAISY App in the App Store or Google Play.”

Read guides for reporting about violence against women and their children.

About Our Watch

Our Watch’s purpose is to raise awareness and engage policy-makers and the Australian community in action to prevent violence against women and their children.

To do this the organisation works to increase gender equality and respect in all aspects of everyday life, such as through schools; workplaces; media; sporting organisations; social marketing, and developing and influencing public policy.

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.