Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick is calling on all Australians to stand up to end violence against women and children.
November 25 marks the UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, heralding 16 days of global activism to eradicate violence against women and children.
“In my view, men’s violence against women is Australia’s most significant gender equality issue. It is both a cause and a consequence of gender inequality. Men’s violence against women is not a private or family matter. It is a national emergency as violence against women is occurring in epidemic proportions” Commissioner Broderick said.
“It is a day to recognise and promote the rights of women and children, and speak out against violence and abuse against them,” Commissioner Broderick said.
“There are now more women living in an intimate relationship characterised by violence than the number of malnourished people in the world. Almost 1 billion women experience such violence.”
Commissioner Broderick said the global day of action also provided an important, local reminder that a significant number of women and children in Australia continue to experience violence and persecution.
“In Australia around 1.2 million women today are currently living in an intimate relationship characterised by violence or have recently done so,” Commissioner Broderick said.
“The shocking reality is that in Australia one in three women over 15 years of age has experienced physical or sexual violence at some stage in their lives.
“Violent crimes continue to be committed against women at an alarming rate – more than one woman is murdered every week by a current or former partner.”
Commissioner Broderick said it was important to not only engage with women on these issues, but to encourage men to step-up alongside them to create change.
“As part of the Male Champions of Change, I have recently facilitated meetings with survivors of domestic violence to illustrate the impact of domestic violence on women, their children and Australian workplaces,” Commissioner Broderick said.
“Through these encounters, these men are gaining an understanding of the prevalence and nature of domestic violence at a profoundly human level.
“They are learning what it is like for women living in the stark reality of violence and intimidation, and the courage and resilience they have shown in overcoming these experiences.”
Commissioner Broderick called for strong leadership at all levels to end violence against women.