Violence against women is all pervasive and appalling. Hence it is time for the more conscientious males to step out and protest, Australian MPs have urged.
To mark the White Ribbon Day tomorrow, the Male Parliamentarians for the Elimination of Violence against Women issued a communiqué stating that violence against women costs the Australian economy $13.6 billion each year.
One in three Australian women have been the victim of domestic violence. One in four children have witnessed it. Some 20 per cent of women have suffered sexual assault.
"We, the members of the sub-committee, recognised that we have an undeniable responsibility to address this problem: as men, as community role models and as national policy makers," the communiqué said.
The MPs and senators took the White Ribbon pledge "not to commit violence, not to condone violence and not to stay silent about violence".
They also vowed to discuss the issue with family and friends and at least once in the next six months raise awareness on the issue within their constituency.
The day coincides with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
Violence Against Women Advisory Group chair Libby Lloyd said her goal was to see every man take the White Ribbon pledge.
"The most important thing to eliminate violence against women is that men become committed and involved and do everything they can to make our community safe and free from violence," she said.
A national plan to measure and reduce violence is expected to be released by the Federal and State Governments next year.
"I think we'll see it in the first days of the new year," Ms Lloyd said.
Speaking at the White Ribbon Day breakfast in Melbourne on Wednesday, Adrian Anderson, Operations Manager of the Australian Football League said the League's involvement in the campaign was making a difference. It has joined hands with the Victoria police in the crusade.
"I think AFL footballers by and large really get this issue and are setting a great example," he said.
"In any group of young men of the age of our players you will get isolated incidents from time to time, but I think we can be proud of our players and the culture of our clubs in trying to set a good example on this issue."
Noting the average age of playing lists in the AFL is a lot lower than was the case a decade ago, he said, " They're guys coming out of school and uni and are still being moulded as people.
"It's our responsibilities as older players to make sure we get things right with them and hopefully in 10 years time, we've taken massive steps forward on this issue."
Also the AFL could be in a unique position to help shape and influence community attitudes in the right direction. "Violence against women is still a major issue in society and an issue we're committed to taking action and trying to set the right example and also to run education programs through community football at all levels," Mr. Anderson added.