The Coalition government has launched a confronting $30 million campaign aimed at getting “influencers” such as parents, teachers and coaches to restrict disrespectful and aggressive behaviour in boys.
The campaign will begin on Sunday, featuring a TV advertisement which shows ever day people dismissing or encouraging gender stereotypes and violence against girls and women. It will also include radio, print and digital advertising.
The ad begins with a scenario in which a little boy slams the door on a young girl, the mother rushes to her aid and tells her, “He just did it ’cause he likes you”.
Another scene shows a dad yelling at his son, who is happily throwing a ball with his female friend, “Don’t throw like a girl, mate”.
The video escalate from here, eventually building to footage of a woman knocked to the ground by her violent partner with the line “Violence against women, let’s stop it at the start”.
Christian Porter, Social Services Minister, has described the new campaign as “very confronting”.
“People know that violence against women is wrong. What they may not know is that… all of us unknowingly excuse and therefore perpetuate the behaviour that can lead to violence.”
Minister for Women Michaelia Cash, also weighs in saying common excuses like, “it’s just boys being boys” has to stop.
Mr Porter spoke with the ABC about the importance of the ads and said, “What you’ll see with these ads, which all Australians will see very shortly, is that we’re highlighting the type of attitudinal problems that we can’t let persist”.
“They’re sometimes attitudes that parents just let go through to the keeper when they should be addressed to try and get young boys and young men thinking in a way that’s respectful towards women in their lives.”
“It’s incredible how often the behaviour is either minimised, excused or there’s this inquiry into what it is the girl must’ve done to have brought about this behaviour.”
“And those type of almost ingrained reflex attitudes and responses that do seem to exist all across Australian society are clearly very unhelpful in terms of establishing the type of thinking, behaviour and attitude that we want and need,” he said.
Research shows that one in three women over 15 years of age will have experienced physical violence and one in six has experienced physical or sexual violence perpetrated by their current or former partner.
Labor have welcomed the campaign, but have also called for more money to be put towards the frontline services the help women and children escape domestic violence.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull received letters from more than 80 family violence experts and community groups who were calling for over $127 million a year to be put towards domestic violence funding in the upcoming budget.
Mr Porter addressed this call for frontline funding by saying that the Coalition government has recently committed $100 million to address domestic violence and $230 million for the national partnership agreement on homelessness, specifically focusing on domestic violence.
“People will always say that more can be done.. but over the last nine months more has been done.. than has ever been done before,” Mr Porter said.
Do you think this ad sends a powerful message? Are we doing enough to stop domestic violence?
*If sexual assault or family violence affects you or someone you know call 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au