Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 13 Hansard (Tuesday, 25 November 2014) . . Page.. 4013 ..
International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and marks the start of 16 days of action to stop violence against women. Uniquely, White Ribbon is Australia’s only national male-led campaign to end men’s violence against women. I congratulate you, Mr Assistant Speaker, on attending this morning at Parliament House for the RAAF C-130 flyover and words from our distinguished leaders.
We were asked today to think about how it is to live each day with someone who will hurt you—how it is to live each day in fear and to be forever walking on eggshells. This is the reality for women affected by domestic violence. Research shows that nearly two-thirds of Australian women report experiencing at least one incident of physical or sexual violence by a man over their lifetime. Preventing violence against women is an issue for everyone and, in particular, for us as men.
It is a men’s issue because it is men that predominantly use violence against women. It is a men’s issue because it is our wives, mothers, sisters, daughters and friends whose lives are being harmed by violence and abuse. It is a men’s issue because, as community leaders and decision-makers, men can play a pivotal role in helping to stop men’s violence against women. It is a men’s issue because men are in a unique position to speak out and step in when male friends and relatives insult, abuse or attack women. And it is a men’s issue because a minority of men treat women and girls with contempt and violence. It is up to the majority of men to create a culture in which this behaviour is unacceptable.
We must all work together to end the culture of violence that affects every member of the Canberra community. But it is fundamentally up to each of us to hold ourselves accountable for our own words and actions, to never commit, excuse or remain silent about violence against women.
To paraphrase Lieutenant General Morrison, Chief of Army, whether it be our mates, work colleagues or just those people in the street, we have a simple choice: to be a protector or a perpetrator. We cannot be bystanders while others perpetrate fear and violence. There are no bystanders. What you choose to ignore and walk past becomes the standard you accept.
As a White Ribbon ambassador I take this opportunity to challenge all men not to be bystanders but to stand up and model behaviour that builds respect between men and women and helps reduce attitudes that underpin any acceptance of violence.
Women—prostitution and human trafficking
MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (5.06): I welcome the comments made by Mr Gentleman in relation to White Ribbon Day and violence against women because it is a good segue, in that I propose to use this adjournment debate, and perhaps tomorrow’s as well, to give a report or a statement in relation to the travel that Mrs Jones and I did in Europe this year to look at issues relating to prostitution, exit from prostitution and the related issues of human trafficking.
As members will know, back in 2011 I chaired an inquiry into the operation of the ACT’s Prostitution Act and many submitters at the time encouraged the inquiry to