4 minutes ago
Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. In Australia, it is also White Ribbon Day. The latter often leaves me somewhat conflicted. For one, it seems as it is on the brink of feeling celebratory. Almost too close to a glossy "interrelational violence is bad!" package that does not hit the mark of conveying the true brutal cruelty that is violence. It also is (I believe with well intent) trying to place the focus onto men singing oaths against perpetuating this abuse. I am all for acknowledging violence and committing yourself to not engaging in it. I just worry it is something thought of as applause worthy when this is not something anyone deserves a trophy for.
On the other hand, White Ribbon does offer free e-learning & is trying to raise awareness and shift culture in schools for young people which is amazing. Children deserve all the tools we have to keep them safe throughout their lifetime.
We often tell women to leave abusive relationships and yet the most dangerous time for a woman (and indeed therefore her children) is when she leaves. This adds another complexity to an issue so much deeper than a simple "just leave him". Also this year, for from today until Human Rights Day UNiTE is running a sixteen day activism campaign against gender based violence underneath this years theme of "Leave No One Behind" - in their words a " commitment to a world free from violence for all women and girls around the world, while reaching the most underserved and marginalized, including refugees, migrants, minorities, indigenous peoples, and populations affected by conflict and natural disasters, amongst others, first." We must not forget the marginalised members of our communities and we must be wary of patting ourselves on the back for simply promising not to perpetuate violence against women - there is so much more to do and I implore you to reflect on what you can do.
Violence leads to various health issues and there is research to show that repeated trauma during childhood leads to the same risk of psychosis that smoking does for lung cancer. This is not okay. Let's not congratulate ourselves; not yet.