Aussies struggle to define ‘respect’ towards women

Almost half of Australians find it hard to know what is "acceptable anymore" or "wrong" when it comes to disrespect toward women, despite the majority of people agreeing it is where domestic violence starts.

More than one woman in Australia was killed by a partner or person they knew on average each week last year, a horrific statistic the federal government is seeking to tackle at the source with an advertising blitz highlighting the disrespectful behaviour that can lead to serious abuse.

On International Women's Day the federal government will unveil new ads for the Stop it at the Start campaign, designed to combat disrespect toward women which leads to domestic violence. Picture: Supplied.
On International Women's Day the federal government will unveil new ads for the Stop it at the Start campaign, designed to combat disrespect toward women which leads to domestic violence. Picture: Supplied.

About 82 per cent of Australians believe domestic violence "starts with disrespect," though 48 per cent are unsure what kinds of comments or actions were considered disrespectful, a survey commissioned by the government found.

When asked if things had improved in recent years, more than half the people surveyed said they believed there had been a positive change in the way people think and talk about disrespect and violence against women.

But about 72 per cent of people agreed "without realising it, we can sometimes say and do things that make young people think disrespectful and aggressive behaviour is acceptable".

One of the ads highlights how controlling behaviours in a relationship can start at a young age.
One of the ads highlights how controlling behaviours in a relationship can start at a young age.

This opinion did not significantly differ between genders or age groups, according to the quantitative survey of 1011 Australians over the age of 18 conducted by Kantar Public just over a year ago.

The government will today launch the $18.8 million third phase of its Stop it at the Start campaign to address the root causes of domestic violence in Australia.

The ads, which will run on social media, print, TV, radio and in cinemas encourage people to "unmute" themselves and call out disrespectful behaviour when they see it.

In one example when a boy is annoying a girl by throwing a ball at her during a backyard barbecue the boy's mum says he "probably just likes her," but his father steps in to explain "there's no excuse".

In this ad the parents of a boy harassing a girl at a backyard barbecue take him aside and explain to him why his behaviour is not okay.
In this ad the parents of a boy harassing a girl at a backyard barbecue take him aside and explain to him why his behaviour is not okay.

Another ad shows an old man telling a father to stop yelling at his son for "playing like a girl" during a soccer match.

Families and Social Services Minister Anne Ruston told The Daily Telegraph the government wanted to bring the public along to better understand what respect meant.

"There's no point attacking people or telling people they're not 'woke enough'," she said.

"This campaign is about showing everyone what small steps they can take to help to promote respect because each and every one of us deserves to be treated with respect."

Families and Social Services Minister Anne Ruston says the new ad campaign is to help Australians better understand the small changes they can make to be more respectful. Picture: AAP Image/Kelly Barnes
Families and Social Services Minister Anne Ruston says the new ad campaign is to help Australians better understand the small changes they can make to be more respectful. Picture: AAP Image/Kelly Barnes

Ms Ruston said something as simple as discussing "respectful relationships" with children would "add up to a positive change for Australia".

Women's Minister Marise Payne said it was the government's "duty" to ensure "Australian men grow up respecting the women in their lives".

"We have made considerable progress towards gender equality in Australia but challenges remain whether that be in the home or the workplace," she said.

For assistance please call: 1800RESPECT

Originally published as Aussies struggle to define 'respect' towards women



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