Having been an operational member of Victoria Police for the last 18 years, I am well aware of what the ‘pointy end’ of family violence and violence perpetrated against women looks like and the prevalence of it. Family violence is complex and is not something that we can police our way out of.
Like many other people I have women in my life who are dear to me; a wife, a mother, a sister, a grandmother. I have been fortunate to be surrounded by strong, resilient and independent women my whole life. I have had these women share with me their experiences of what it is like to be a woman in our community and I began to open my eyes to the inequities in our society which have been previously invisible to me. I soon realised that I wanted things to change for my daughters as they too grew up in my local community and in broader society.
I decided to become involved with ‘White Ribbon Australia’ as an Ambassador, and with local networks such as the Gippsland Women’s Health, where I was afforded the opportunity to complete the MATE training. This gave me much greater insight into how men’s violence against women is driven by gender inequality, but more importantly gave me some tools with which I could educate others.
It is time for men to stand up and tackle the social, cultural and institutional inequalities that exist in our community.
In the last year I have been fortunate enough to head the Victoria Police Family Violence Units at Sale and Bairnsdale and have worked with many dedicated people from many agencies all doing great work to support victims, keep them safe, and hold perpetrators to account. As important as this work is, it is more important that the need for intervention will one day no longer exist. Only by looking ‘upstream’ and dealing with the underlying drivers of men’s violence against women will we be able to turn things around.
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.