June 23, 2020 / Our Watch Media
Responding to today’s media reports of findings of sexual harassment of six women by former Justice Dyson Heydon, Our Watch CEO Patty Kinnersly said:
“Sexual harassment is a form of violence against women. This is an awful reminder of how widespread this problem is, and how deeply entrenched the attitudes and practices that drive it are within our society.
“Sexual assault and violence against women do not exist in a vacuum – they arise from systems, practices, and social norms that have been with us for generations and will take generations to change.
“As the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Respect at Work report showed, it’s clear that sexual harassment is a deeply entrenched social problem, and not just about the behaviour of particular individuals.
“Addressing sexual harassment in Australian workplaces requires a holistic approach. Reforming legal responses and improving systems to better support survivors are both critical. But to stop it before it starts, we need primary prevention efforts that address the underlying drivers of this violence.
“We need to tackle the systems and structures that create and reinforce unequal power relations between men and women, and the harmful attitudes and behaviours that are associated with dominant norms of masculinity, in the workplace, and right across society.
“All women should feel safe in their workplace – that is a fundamental right.
“Sexual harassment is not inevitable, violence in the workplace can be stopped before it starts.
“By working to advance gender equality in all our organisations and institutions, building workplace cultures based on respect, and creating more equal leadership opportunities, we can create safer workplaces for all women.”
*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.”
Our Watch is a national leader in 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.