From a personal perspective I have been fortunate enough to have been exposed to amazing role models who taught me that gender was not a barrier and encouraged me to achieve my dreams. Both my mother and grandmother were strong independent women who were passionate in instilling in me the belief that I could achieve anything, be anything, and my gender would never stop me. My father was also a positive role model, and my parents have always had a relationship built on mutual respect and equality. My dad, through his caring and respectful manner, taught me how men should treat women and I was raised with an understanding that violence, control and gender inequality are not acceptable. It’s because of my upbringing that I feel that I have reached the place I am at today.
Having worked at Central Gippsland Health (CGH) as a social worker for the last 11 years, I have been exposed to countless cases of women who have experienced family violence. The statistics are real and so is the experience of each of these women. Gender inequality is the root cause of family violence and the problem is not going away. This is a problem that takes all of us to create change. I personally am surrounded by men who support gender equality and I know I am not alone. At CGH each year we run a campaign calling for men who are against men’s violence against women to stand up and be counted, and the numbers speak for themselves. Most men are respectful, caring and wanting gender equality to be the norm. Positive role modelling at home is a start for a better future; but to create change now, it will take all of us to stand up together. Gender equality is all of our business. We are all in it together.
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.
Thank you to our guest bloggers and community advocates for taking part in our Gender Equality Matters 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence campaign.