As a young straight white male, it is unlikely that I will be the victim of sexual assault.
As a young straight white male, it is unlikely that I will be the victim of domestic violence.
As a young straight white male, it is unlikely that I will be physically abused by a member of the opposite gender.
As a university student, I was horrified when I watched “The Hunting Ground” I was even more disturbed when I realised that these horrors take place at my own university, on my own campus, to my own friends. And I knew that it was time to take a stance. So I spoke out. And the response I got was overwhelming.
I had a number of female friends, acquaintances and strangers reach out to me, to thank me for speaking up. They congratulated me on my courage, and my willingness to stand up against the bullies. I also had a number of responses, that challenged me, delegitimising my masculinity, my virility, and my freedom from “oppression of women”. I was disgusted. None of comments were even remotely close to correct, and all they did was serve to prove something to me.
Preventing domestic violence isn’t about us buying ribbons and wearing them on our lapels. It isn’t about us saying that domestic violence isn’t ok, and paying for advertising campaigns.
Preventing domestic violence, and sexual assault, comes down to one thing, and one thing only. Education.
We need to teach our young people about respect. We need to teach them about boundaries. We need to teach them about consent. We need to teach them about decency, and honour, and integrity.
So this White Ribbon Day, I'll be wearing a ribbon. And I'll be explaining why to the next generation, so that they don’t have to wear one.
Counselling and Support
1800RESPECT 1800 737 732
24 hour, national sexual assault, family and domestic violence counselling line for any Australian who has experienced, or is at risk of, family and domestic violence and/or sexual assault.
13 11 14
Lifeline has a national number who can help put you in contact with a crisis service in your State.
Suicide Call Back Service
1300 659 467
Free counselling 24/7, whether you’re feeling suicidal, are worried about someone else, or have lost someone to suicide.
For more information visit the White Ribbon website