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Our Watch highlights national emergency of violence against women

November 25, 2019 / Our Watch media team

Whether it’s on the football field, on stage or in workplaces, everyone can play a role in calling out sexism and disrespect towards women, according to Our Watch, on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

Illustrated image of three women standing together holding their arms around each other. We see their backs. The image is multicoloured in orange hues.
Image source: United Nations.

Our Watch, a national organisation in preventing violence against women, today is calling on all Australians to play their part in ending the everyday incidents of sexism and disrespect that can lead to violence against women.

Our Watch Chair Natasha Stott Despoja said that in Australia, on average, one woman a week was killed by her current or former partner. For every woman murdered, hundreds of thousands were living with violence and abuse.

“Today is a day for remembering the many victims and survivors of the scourge of violence against women,” Ms Stott Despoja said. “We know that many women experience multiple forms of sexual violence and harassment in their lives.

“Today is also a day to remind people of the really important news – that violence against women and children is preventable, not inevitable – and we all can play our part.”

Ms Stott Despoja will address an event in Parliament House to mark the beginning of the UN’s 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, joined by Our Watch Ambassadors actor Tasma Walton, AFL player Ben Brown and marriage equality advocate Hester Brown.

“When everyday sexism and disrespect go unchallenged, it is normalised, excused and tolerated,” Ms Stott Despoja said. “The research evidence tells us that disrespectful attitudes and behaviours are part of the culture that can drive violence against women.”

Actor Tasma Walton said she and other ambassadors would share why they were passionate about promoting gender equality to help prevent violence against women.

“As a young girl who witnessed and survived violence in the home, I understand first-hand how hard it can be to leave an abusive relationship,” Ms Walton said. “As a community, we have the power to change the culture that allows violence against women to occur by challenging disrespect towards women.”

Our Watch’s Doing Nothing Does Harm campaign provides practical tips about how to respond to casual and everyday sexism. It empowers Australians to do something, because doing nothing implies acceptance.

The Our Watch event, at which Ms Stott Despoja and ambassadors will be speaking, will take place in the Dame Dorothy Tangney Alcove (formerly the Senate Alcove) at Parliament House from 5-6pm.

Media contact

Laurelle Keough (laurelle.keough@ourwatch.org.au or 0448 844 930)

*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, family or domestic violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000.”

To access guides for reporting about violence against women and their children, visit Media Making Change.

About Our Watch

Our Watch leads Australia’s work to stop violence against women and their children before it starts. The organisation was created to drive nation-wide change in the structures, norms and practices that lead to violence against women and children.

Image source: United Nations.

Find out more about our work to end violence against women in Australia.

The evidence
Woman holding baby.