Respect Women: Call It Out (Respect Is)

Respect is the building block of all healthy relationships.
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Respect Women: Call It Out

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 people are familiar with, and yet it can be challenging to pinpoint exactly how it can and should be spread. 

Violence against women and girls is a devastating act of disrespect and the most pervasive breach of human rights worldwide. Gender inequality is one of the key drivers of violence against women and is deeply embedded in many facets of life. 

Gender inequality

Gender inequality has come to the fore as the world reels from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, with women experiencing increased levels of family violence including physical, psychological and financial abuse fuelled by economic strain and confined living conditions (working from home, home schooling) exacerbated by lockdown and physical distancing measures.

Gender inequality has been identified as a key driver of family violence and violence against women. Numerous sexist gender norms, practices and behaviours have rooted themselves deeply into the societal landscape, manifesting in disrespect and controlling behaviours displayed by men, leaving women facing structural inequality plus inequality in their relationships.

Violence against women during COVID-19

Findings released by The Crime Statistics Agency paint a worrying picture of the impact COVID-19 has had on rates of family violence:

  • The number of family violence incidents increased 11.7% between April-June 2020 compared to the same period in 2019 
  • Women aged 30-34 were most often recorded as victim-survivors in the April-June 2020 time period 
  • Males aged 35-39 made up the biggest demographic group of family violence perpetrators
  • June 2020 saw the biggest monthly increase in family violence from 2019-20

Globally, emerging data shows an increase in calls to domestic violence helplines in many countries since the outbreak of COVID-19. In Australia, the national sexual assault, domestic family violence counselling service 1800 Respect reported a 66% increase in calls between April-June 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. To learn more about this data, visit The Crime Statistics Agency COVID-19 Family Violence Data Portal.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 the United Nations has worked closely with family violence support workers, gathering data that clearly indicates an awful truth - all types of violence against women and girls, particularly family violence, has intensified. This spike in violence is referred to as 'The Shadow Pandemic'. To learn more about the shadow pandemic, visit the UN Women website.

How to call it out

The term bystander describes a person who is present or witnesses an event or incident but is not actively involved in it. Sadly, we know gender-based violence occurs where we work, learn, socialise and rest. In the work-place, at schools/universities, in social settings and primarily, the home. 

Bystander action refers to 'how' a bystander calls out, or engages others in responding to incidences of violence, sexism, harassment or discrimination. Importantly, there is no 'right way' to be an active bystander. Depending on the situation at hand, various forms of intervention can be deployed, and a bystander should consider their own comfort and safety above all else.

Some common bystander interventions include:

  • 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.

Prevention

Respect Victoria's vision of a future free from violence has not and will not waver. Now, more than ever, we ask the community to join us in rejecting the idea that there’s ever an excuse for family violence.  Like our name suggests, respect is of utmost importance in how we navigate our lives in the wake of this pandemic.

Join us in sharing the numerous ways people can foster respectful relationships and environments in the community by sharing our 'Respect Is' definitions. Better yet. Create your own!

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. There are 16 social media tiles to choose from, we encourage you to post a tile each day for the duration of the 16 Days of Activism campaign (Wednesday 25 - Thursday 10 December).

Respect Victoria will post daily across the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence and we encourage you to either like and share our posts or take inspiration from the suggested copy and post your own. 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 #16dayscampaign

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.
  • Gender inequality is real. Women and men deserve the same opportunities and outcomes in life.
  • Calling it out doesn't need to be a big deal. Speak up when a joke is offensive.
  • Respected shouldn't be 'awarded' to people because they fit a predetermined check list of external factors. All people are deserving of respect.

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.