WE INSIST WHITE RIBBON AUSTRALIA TAKE A REAL STAND AGAINST MALE-VIOLENCE-AGAINST-WOMEN
Sign the petition here to add your name to this open letter to @WhiteRibbonAust:
As a major organisation in Australia campaigning to end male violence against women, with a large profile and significant financial support, we ask that you listen to, and act on advice from female advocates for women and leading women’s organisations worldwide. We ask that you make a pledge to women, in regards to helping change the masculine culture that is invading everyday women’s bodies and psyches, every day, from the groping and catcalling, the sexualisation and objectification, the raping and beating, the buying and selling of us, to the murders of our sisters.
We ask you to acknowledge, that while making the public aware of the weekly murders of women by their current or former male partner in Australia is vital, and the wearing a white ribbon campaign has raised awareness, which we commend you for, that there is a very real, dangerous and toxic culture behind these statistics, one that feeds this notion of women as disposable objects, the elephant in the room that can no longer be ignored.
We agree, men pledging ‘I swear never to commit, excuse or remain silent about violence against women’ is a great starting point, but we ask that further to this, there are ongoing discussions about what this means in everyday life for men. This includes asking men to check their own daily perpetuations of and benefits from this sexist culture.
We also ask you to include guidelines for men, on how to turn away from, stop the demand for, and stand up against this culture, which on the one hand, is soaked in the sexual objectification and trade of women and on the other is drowning women with disturbing rates of the rape, assault and murder of us.
We ask you, as a national organisation that already has a dialogue going with the men of this country, and knows that a vast amount of male violence against women goes unreported, to turn your attention to this culture of masculinity that enables everyday men, family men, young men, older men, and men whose names we are yet to know, to continually hurt women, including women they profess to love.
“The casual groping, the sick sense of entitlement, the disrespect — all of it slowly erodes our attitudes towards women. Bit by bit our standards are lowered until this kind of behaviour becomes a form of endorsement of violence towards women.
So I have two challenges for you. The first is for all of you: when a woman is jeered, groped, bashed or raped I want you to consider the man who did it, and the culture that encouraged it.” Former Chief Commissioner Ken Lay
We ask you to pledge to no longer be silent while women wage campaign after campaign against this toxic masculine culture. We ask that you not only acknowledge the work women are doing, but also support the women led organisations and groups, and female advocates on the ground that are fighting against this culture, and we extend the previous invitation to work with Australian Women’s rights advocates here.
In recent months several women-led grass roots campaigns have attracted national and international media attention, and you were silent. These include, among others:
Challenging Wicked Campers over their misogynistic and degrading slogans and imagery, receiving an apology, and aGreens motion, condemning ‘the litany of sexist, misogynistic, and racist slogans which have been used by Wicked Campers on their hire vans’ being unanimously passed in the Senate, making Australian history.
And most recently challenging Target to stop selling GTA V, where you can virtually commit sexual violence against and kill women, leading to Target and Kmart withdrawing the games.
All of these campaigners, and women who have supported them, have received public threats of violence and sexual violence from men, like this and this. And you were silent. You were even silent despite the Managing Director of Wesfarmers – who owns Target and was selling GTA V, being a White Ribbon Day ambassador. This silence persisted until it was publically addressed by a women’s rights advocate and you responded withthis.
White Ribbon Australia’s lack of a solid stance on this culture of masculinity, an everyday stance, is equating to a debilitating silence. Silence is the language of complicity, speaking out is the language of change.
We ask why your support has been denied on the sister Lose the Lads Mags campaign in Australia, when the White Ribbon campaign UK are supporters, among others. When the UK’s Home Office government sexualisation of young people review found this, and Psychologists from Middlesex University and the University of Surrey found this regarding Lads mags. An Australian quiz has been compiled here.
We ask, where was your support when survivors of prostitution had to go up against a leading human rights organisation; the Australian branch of Amnesty international (AI), to fight a proposal that supported the full decriminalisation of men who buy and sell prostituted women. After a lot of hard work from survivors, this was voted down.
Even ex-President of the USA and human rights campaignerJimmy Carter, addressed AI for this proposal, also writing to every TD and Senator urging them to act on proposed laws to criminalize men who pay for sex. And you were silent. We also ask you to acknowledge Pornography’s, and the entire prostitution industry’s, effects on women, society, male violence and attitudes towards women, and guide men to rise to new benchmarks.
White Ribbon Switzerland, here, White Ribbon Ireland, here andhere, White Ribbon UK, here and here, and White Ribbon Scotland, here and here, are leading the way, it’s time to rise up collectively. Especially in light of the anti-women article written recently by Australian White Ribbon ambassador Tanveer Ahmed, which was quickly refuted by female and male women’s rights advocates, yet your response was that he just needs some training.
We also ask again, where has your support been in regards to the AFL, White Ribbon Partners, upholding their respect and responsibility policy when it comes to sexism and violence against women, where men who commit acts of violence against women are allowed to continue to play. And AFL stars promote and sell pornified pictures of women on T-shirts.
“The monster myth allows us to see public infractions on women’s sovereignty as minor, because the man committing the infraction is not a monster like Bayley. We see instances of this occur in bars when men become furious and verbally abusive to, or about, women who decline their attention. We see it on the street as groups of men shout comments, grab, grope and intimidate women with friends either ignoring or getting involved in the activity. We see it in male peer groups where rape-jokes and disrespectful attitudes towards women go uncontested. The monster myth creates the illusion that this is simply banter, and sexist horseplay. While most of us would never abide racist comments among a male peer-group, the trivialisation of men’s violence against women often remains a staple, invidious, and rather boring subject of mirth. We can either examine this by setting our standards against the monster-rapist, or by accepting that this behaviour intrinsically contributes to a culture in which rape and violence are allowed to exist.” Tom Meagher
WE INSIST WHITE RIBBON AUSTRALIA TAKE A REAL STAND AGAINST MALE-VIOLENCE-AGAINST-WOMEN and:
- Listen to, and act on advice from female advocates for women.
- Acknowledge there is a toxic culture behind two women a week being murdered by male violence in this country.
- Take a pledge to challenge this culture and help change our current paradigm of masculinity, including personal actions and words.
- Implement a respect and responsibility policy for all ambassadors and partners, and reassess partnerships with organisations who do not comply.
- Include guidelines for men on how to turn away from, stop the demand for, and stand up against this culture, extending these guidelines to all fundraising events.
- Circulate female survivor literature regularly among your pledges, supporters and social media followers.
- Publicly support women led campaigns and acknowledge our work and the language we use.
- Publicly support women’s rights advocates when men use abusive language and threats of violence to silence us.
- Start naming the problem, male violence and male sexual entitlement, NOT intimate partner violence.
- Meet the standards set by White Ribbon in other countries by immediately implementing all of the above.
Lily Munroe, REAL for women
Paula Orbea, Questions For Us
Liz Waterhouse, Shout Out
Simone Andrea, survivor of prostitution
Marie Hume, Mairi Voice
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