Culture change

Those of us who work combating domestic violence, or are simply concerned about domestic violence will know that culture change is at the heart of making a significant change.

This means changing how boys view girls and how girls view girls. It means changing how parents and other adults relate to boys and girls. It means exposing girls and boys to female role models, that break out of gender stereotypes. It means being clear that no violence or abuse towards women is ever acceptable (or towards anyone for that matter). It means speaking out when you hear sexist or degrading comments towards women. 

We can start by doing this in our own homes and out with friends but how do we create a culture change across society?

Our Watch is rising to this challenge. Our Watch is an organisation driving nationwide change in the culture, behaviours and power imbalances that lead to violence against women and their children. It has created a strategy that puts culture change at the heart of it. Called ‘change the story’, the strategy is based on the overwhelming evidence that suggests that the story we tell our sons and daughters, helps foster violence against women. 

“Our beliefs about the way boys and girls, women and men are supposed to act are formed in childhood. Around the world, gender stereotypes and unequal power between men and women are the most important underlining causes of family violence.” Our Watch 

So what’s the strategy I hear you ask?
Well, it’s about challenging condoning of violence against women. It’s promoting women’s independence and decision-making in all tiers of life. It’s challenging gender stereotypes and roles. It’s strengthening positive, equal and respectful relations between males and females. And it’s normalising gender equality in public and private life. 

How?
In all facets of life. But especially, changing the story where there’s influence. The media for example. And government must take part. Like this video. Commissioned by the government, it shows how the narrative can easily take root from some simple comments and reactions.

As Our Watch says:

It’s up to you. It’s up to me. It’s up to us.

Challenge stereotypes.
Call out sexist attitudes.
Speak out if you hear excuses for violence or victim-blaming.
Spread the word that violence is never an option or a solution and there is NO excuse.
Acknowledge respect and equality when you see it.
Celebrate our role models.

Together we can work to end violence against women and children.

Written by guest blogger Celine Massa, Photo by Crawford Jolly on Unsplash

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