16 Days of Activism: Respect Is Campaign

Respect is the building block of all healthy relationships.
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Why is this campaign important?

Choosing to lead with respect in our relationships, workplaces, schools, universities, and homes can ultimately prevent family violence and violence against women. All forms of family violence are preventable, and we can all play a role in stopping violence before it starts. 

The 'Respect Is' campaign showcases messages of respect, support and equality and will feature stories and messages from victim-survivors and community advocates (don't forget to follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to see these!).

As part of the 16 Days of Activism, we are asking you to join us in taking three simple steps towards a future where we are all safe, equal and respected.

1. Think about what respect means to you, and how it shows up in your home, relationships, workplace and community. What needs to change and how can you take action?

2. Call out sexism, and other forms of discrimination when you see or hear them, if it's safe to do so. Keep reading for some useful tips on calling it out.

3. Set the right example when it comes to gender equality. This might look like encouraging your workplace to take action on equality, talking to the kids in your life about gender stereotypes, or starting a conversation in your sports club or community group.

What does the data tell us? 

Gender inequality is one of the primary drivers of gender-based violence and family violence. We also know that other intersecting forms of discrimination - including racism, ageism, homophobia, transphobia, and colonialism - are drivers of violence.

In Australia right now, the stats show that: 

  • 1 in 4 women have experienced violence by an intimate partner since the age of 15
  • Nearly 2 in 5 women with disabilities have experienced violence from a partner, ex-partner or family member
  • 1 in 3 LGBTIQ+ people have experienced violence from a partner, ex-partner or family member
  • 1 in 3 migrant and refugee women living in Australia have experienced family violence
  • 95% of all victims of violence, regardless of gender, experience violence from a male perpetrator

The 2017 National Community Attitudes towards Violence Against Women Survey (NCAS) found that 40% of people believe that women exaggerate when they talk about inequality.

We can all play a role in preventing gender-based violence in all its forms - so join us with leading with respect, and calling out discrimination. 

How can you call it out?

Disrespect can play out in our homes, workplaces, schools, communities and in the places we socialise. By calling out disrespect, sexism and other forms of discrimination early, we can stop violence before it starts.

There is no 'right' way to call it out, but we do have a few tips on techniques you might want to try. Don't forget to put your own safety first - if a situation is already violent or looks like it could turn that way, always call triple 000.

To get you started, here are 16 ways you can call out sexism and disrespect:

  1. Don't laugh at sexist jokes.
  2. Give a disapproving look to show a behaviour or statement is not okay. Shake your head or roll your eyes.
  3. Leave a pointed and uncomfortable silence
  4. Make a light hearted comment: "what century are you living in?"
  5. Check in with the person affected: "I heard what he just said - are you okay?"
  6. Privately let them know their behaviour is not okay: "The joke you made in yesterday's meeting was not funny, and actually not okay."
  7. Calmly disagree and state that the comment is wrong or unacceptable: "I know you probably didn't mean it, but I found what you said to be offensive."
  8. Speak up and educate by explaining why you disagree: "Actually evidence shows the vast majority of women do not make up false claims of sexual assault."
  9. Challenge the logic: "That's not my experience" or "what makes you think that?'
  10. Stand up for the person affected: "Michelle was saying something, and you cut her off again".
  11. Make eye contact with the person affected - let them know you're an ally.
  12. Show your emotion: "It actually makes me sad / uncomfortable when you say that."
  13. Support others when they call it out: "I agree, that's not funny".
  14. Appeal to their better self: "Come on, you're better than that".
  15. Report the behaviour to management, or via incident reporting systems if available.
  16. Disrupt or distract the situation to redirect the focus from the incident to someone else.

These tips are from the 16 Days of Activism toolkit.

Get involved with the campaign

We would love you to join us in leading with respect and calling out discrimination. To join us in this call for change, you can:

  • Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and share our posts throughout the 16 Days of Activism. Stay tuned for some incredible stories and messages.
  • Create your own 'Respect Is; statement and post it on your social media (don't forget to use the hashtags #16days #callitout #respectis).
  • Join the Walk Against Family Violence on Thursday 25 November - register here
  • Pick up a pair or two of these 'Respect Women' earrings - created by Haus of Dizzy in collaboration with Respect Victoria.
  • If you're part of an organisation, company or group who wants to create change together - head to this page on our website for more resources.

Support pathways

If you are experiencing family violence, concerned for your safety, or in an emergency situation please call 000 for urgent police assistance. For a comprehensive list of recommended specialists support organisations refer to the contact us section of Respect Victoria's website.