Respect Women: Call It Out (Respect Is)

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

Respect is the building block of all healthy relationships. Respect is offered, exchanged and received in the places we spend our time: homes, schools, workplaces, sporting clubs and more. Respect is a word most of us are familiar with; and we apply it to our lives and relationships in different ways. 

Yet almost daily, the evidence of women encountering disrespect, sexism, harassment, and violence is exposed. This year, young women in particular have been taking a stand and calling out disrespect and abuse – from schoolyards to the halls of parliament, they continue to make it clear that enough is enough. There is a groundswell movement happening in Australia and globally. The many and varied ways through which women and young girls experience inequality are no longer hidden from view. 

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has also exacerbated and brought into focus some of the ways that women are facing disrespect and violence across the country and globe. Victoria has seen increased rates of family violence, and women are bearing the brunt of unpaid domestic and caring work. 

Choosing to lead with respect in our relationships, workplaces, schools, universities, and homes can ultimately prevent family violence and violence against women. 

What is the link between family violence and gender inequality? 

Family violence and violence against women and girls is a devastating act of disrespect and one of the most pervasive breach of human rights worldwide. Gender inequality is one of the biggest drivers of violence against women and family violence, and despite significant progress, continues to   be a very real concern. 

While Australia’s attitudes to violence against women and gender inequality are improving, sexism, gender stereotypes, and outdated attitudes continue to exist and thrive in homes, workplaces, schools, and across broader society.

The 2017 National Community Attitudes towards Violence Against Women Survey (NCAS) found that: 

  • 1 in 5 Australians would not be bothered if a male friend told a sexist joke about a woman
  • 42% of Australians believe that it is common for sexual assault accusations to be used as a way of ‘getting back’ at men 
  • Nearly 1 in 3 Australians believe that if a woman sends a nude image to her male partner, then she is partly responsible if he shares it without permission 
  • Nearly 1 in 4 young Australians disagree that violence against women is common 
  • 34% of Australians think it’s natural for a man to want to appear in control of his partner in front of male friends 

Gender inequality continues to be a significant problem in Australia, yet the NCAS found that 40% of people believe that many women exaggerate when they talk about inequality. To learn more about the NCAS survey, download the re-shaping attitudes toolkit available on the research section of Respect Victoria's website

The groundswell we are continuing to see shows that Australians are ready for change. Respectful relationships flourish when we remove stereotypes, challenge sexism, and make a choice to lead with respect. 

How to call it out

Gender-based violence and disrespect occurs where we work, learn, socialise and rest. By calling out disrespect, harassment and sexism early, we can stop violence before it starts.  

Importantly, there is no 'right way' to call it out or be an active bystander, and it’s important to put your own safety first. Depending on the situation, calling it out could look like: 

  • Vocally calling out inappropriate behaviour 
  • Physically repositioning yourself closer to the victim as a show of support
  • Take note of the inappropriate behaviour witnessed and report the incident to the relevant authorities after the event

To learn more about bystander approaches read through the 'become an active bystander' prevention handbook, available on the Our Watch website.

Get involved

To promote the Respect Women: Call It Out campaign, we encourage you to take inspiration from the suggested social media posts outlined below designed to be coupled with the 'Respect Is' suite of digital assets available for download. 

Respect Victoria will post campaign content to Facebook and Twitter and we encourage you to share our posts. If you’re posting on your own social media accounts, feel free to tag us:

Facebook – @RespectVictoria
Twitter – @Respect__Vic
Instagram – @respectvictoria

We also encourage you to use one or all of the campaign hashtags (characters permitting) #respectis #callitout 

Suggested social media posts

Social media support kit

Suggested Facebook posts

  • How you choose to respond to sexism matters.
  • By sharing the load, we can make sure everyone has a fair chance to work, rest and connect.
  • Respectful relationships flourish when we remove stereotypes, challenge sexism, and make a choice to lead with respect.
  • Calling it out doesn't need to be a big deal. Speak up when a joke is offensive.
  • Respect is recognising that gendered stereotypes are limiting, outdated and harmful.

Suggested Tweets

  • How you choose to respond to sexism matters.
  • By sharing the load, we can make sure everyone has a fair chance to work, rest and connect.
  • Gender inequality is real. Women and men deserve the same opportunities and outcomes in life.
  • Diverse communities’ gift us with different perspectives.
  • Respect is the building block of all healthy relationships.

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.