The power of a conversation

An essential part of ending violence against women.

Conversations help us examine our own and each other’s beliefs. They are moments to hold each other accountable for problematic words and actions. They also convey what is important – our hopes and aspirations for ourselves and those around us. 

When it comes to preventing men’s violence against women, conversations are an essential part of making sense of what seems like an overwhelming problem.  

Ultimately, all women should be safe, equal, and respected.  

Right now in Australia, this is far from reality while women and children are being killed on our streets and in their homes.   

Yet we are talking about men’s violence against women more than ever before, looking for answers, hearing from victim survivors, hoping to find the right mix of responses and prevention initiatives. 

Conversations about gendered violence and what drives it are taking place across the country, in parliaments, boardrooms, media, communities, workplaces, schools, sporting clubs and homes. 

These conversations are important.  

They are an essential part of ending violence against women. They are how we understand the need to act, and what actions will be safe and effective.  

They are how we uncover and challenge ideas that support, excuse, and justify people using violence – ideas that we often don’t know we’ve absorbed or taken into our relationships, the places we work or the institutions and systems we help shape.  

Conversations are one way to identify the warning signs of violence in our own relationships, or in the relationships of loved ones. They help us recognise sexism in workplaces, red flags in a friends’ new relationship, unequal treatment at our local sports club. They help adults recognise if there are problematic beliefs and ideas forming with children and young people and how they can best support them to address these issues.  

Conversations are key to men recognising harmful stereotypes that emphasise dominance, aggression and violence, and give them the skills to challenge it in themselves and others.  

We don’t need these conversations to be perfect, but we do have a responsibility to have them so we learn how to recognise and challenge harmful ideas. 

Respect Starts With A Conversation 

Respect Starts With A Conversation was designed by Respect Victoria to support Victorians to start those conversations. The campaign features real Victorians talking about how they have these conversations in their homes, relationships, workplaces and communities. And they talk about how powerful these conversations can be.  

Over the past year of the campaign, we are pleased that community organisations, sports clubs, schools and many other places have used it to help guide conversations about respect, and how to begin talking about what drives men’s violence against women.  

Driving down rates of violence now and into the future requires an enormous, collective effort in responding to violence, helping victim survivors recover and heal from violence, intervening early to stop violence happening or escalating, and preventing violence from occurring in the first place. 

Conversations about how we prevent men’s violence against women, and all forms of gender-based violence, are one part of this collective effort.  

So let’s start talking.