It is time for all men – young and old – to take responsibility for preventing the sexual harassment, abuse and violence that we know is endemic in our society.
We are facing a national reckoning. Men’s violence and sexual degradation of women must stop. We know that around 95% of all victims of violence, whether women or men, experience violence from a male perpetrator.
It is men who need to make the decision to challenge their own thinking and change their own behaviour. Men need to act in solidarity with the women who have led the push for structural and cultural change.
Men’s behaviour is at the heart of this problem. But men can be part of the solution. We understand that sometimes it’s difficult for men and boys to know how to prevent violence. People fear saying or doing the wrong thing. People also fear the possible consequences of speaking up; it’s sometimes easier to keep quiet.
As a group of organisations engaging men and adolescent boys to prevent the use of violence, we encourage men and boys to do more and offer a few simple steps they can take today.
- Believe women. Listen to the women in our lives and learn from their experiences.
- Support women. Whether it be in your workplace, family or community organisation, back the women in your life.
- Reflect on and challenge rigid adherence to gender stereotypes which we know are closely associated with the use of violence.
- Call out disrespect, harassment and abuse whenever we see it happening – and be nonviolent yourself.
- If you are concerned about your behaviour and attitudes, take responsibility for your actions and reach out for support.
We call on men and boys to join the movement for gender equality and political action. We invite all men and boys to amplify the calls made by the March4Justice including full implementation of the 55 recommendations of the Human Rights Commission’s Respect@Work report noting the Federal Government’s recent commitment to all recommendations. We are also seeking introduction of a gender impact statement on all government policy and legislation.
Men must do the work to change the culture of inequality that allows violence and sexual harassment to thrive – in our lives, in our workplaces, social structures and laws.