Beyond #MeToo, we need bystander action to prevent sexual violence

  • Written by Anastasia Powell, Associate Professor and ARC DECRA Fellow, Criminology and Justice Studies, RMIT University
Beyond #MeToo, we need bystander action to prevent sexual violence

Something truly powerful happens when victims of sexual violence choose to publicly share their account of harassment and abuse. Some will continue to minimise the violence and blame victims. But movements such as #MeToo and #TimesUp make it difficult to ignore the nature of sexual violence in people’s everyday lives.

Read more: Rape culture: why our community attitudes to sexual violence matter

Approximately one in two Australian women and one in four men experience sexual harassment in their lifetime. One in five women and one in 20 men experience sexual assault. But when experiences are shared online it reveals much more about the everyday nature of the abuse.

One such common revelation is that some victims tried to report their experience to someone – a friend, a colleague, a manager – but they were either not believed or their report was dismissed.

Sometimes, in the cases of powerful men, people even responded by saying: “oh yes, he’s just like that”. While we could all use some advice on how to respond when someone discloses an experience of sexual violence, there’s a much larger issue at play when people have an opportunity to do something but instead choose to remain silent.

Read more: How to respond to an allegation of sexual assault

Hashtag activism alone won’t create change

The #MeToo movement started as a hashtag campaign on social media in response to revelations about Harvey Weinstein and other powerful men using their positions to sexually harass and abuse – primarily, though not always – women in the film industry. But a social media campaign alone is not enough to create lasting social change.

Read more: What the Harvey Weinstein case tells us about sexual assault disclosure

This is not the first time victims of sexual violence have raised their voices in a form of modern consciousness-raising. But increased awareness of the problem is not sufficient to challenge the abuse and stop it at its source.

Rather, what’s needed is ways to tackle the hidden causes of sexual harassment and abuse in workplaces, in institutions such as the media, and in society more broadly. Violence against women is more likely to occur in societies and settings where sexism, gender discrimination and gender inequality are excused or tolerated.

Australia’s National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children reflects this. It includes a commitment to change Australia’s attitudes to – and tolerance for – this kind of violence.

Federal, state and territory governments from both sides of politics have endorsed a policy framework for preventing violence before it occurs. But while governments – and indeed employers and other community leaders – have clear obligations to tackle sexual violence in all its forms, there’s something all of us can also do.

Bystanders need to take action

A recent survey of 1,204 Australians reveals how willing some are to take action when they see sexual harassment, sexism, and gender inequality.

The results show a majority of participants thought it was common for women to be treated unfairly and/or without respect in a range of settings. This indicates sexism, gender discrimination and gender inequality are widespread problems in Australia.

Participants thought it was more likely for women to be treated unfairly and/or without respect in male-dominated settings (70% thought common or very common); clubs, pubs and bars (67%); social media (65%); workplaces (65%); and on the street (57%).

A large majority of participants also thought sexism, gender discrimination and gender equality are concerning problems. More specifically, the survey found:

  • 82% of people surveyed find “females being paid less than a male colleague for the same work” concerning or very concerning;

  • 78% of people surveyed find “a male colleague interrupting and talking over a female colleague” concerning or very concerning;

  • 77% of people surveyed find “a friend sharing a sexist joke about an ‘ugly, fat chick’ on social media” concerning or very concerning; and

  • 70% of people surveyed find “a male colleague making a comment about one of your female colleague’s sexual attractiveness” concerning or very concerning.

But the good news is people also want advice on how to speak up against these types of situations. The survey showed that 79% want practical tips about ways to safely intervene when witnessing disrespect toward women and girls, and 75% want practical tips about how to respond to casual sexism in a social environment without being a party pooper.

Sexual assault and harassment often happens behind closed doors, where there is little opportunity for bystander intervention. But everyday sexism, disrespect, gender discrimination, and inequality toward women are issues many observe out in the open – in workplaces, in pubs and bars, on social media, and in the street.

If we really want to create lasting change beyond #MeToo, then we all need to start challenging the attitudes and beliefs that demean and disrespect women.

If you require support for sexual harassment or assault, contact details for national services are available here.

Authors: Anastasia Powell, Associate Professor and ARC DECRA Fellow, Criminology and Justice Studies, RMIT University

Read more http://theconversation.com/beyond-metoo-we-need-bystander-action-to-prevent-sexual-violence-91741

Australia Today

Strengthening ties between Australia and the USA

Malcolm Turnbull

The alliance between Australia and the United States has been broadened and deepened by my visit to Washington D.C.   In a reflection of the ongoing importance of the relationship, I held a successful meeting with President Donald J. Trump in the Oval Office at the White House.   Our fourth me...

Read more

Cochlear Implant Day this Sunday

Scott Tucker

 GIVING THE GIFT OF SOUND TO INDONESIANS     Minister for Trade and Industry, Niall Blair this week met with cochlear implant recip...

Read more

Nick Xenophon announces energy co-op to lower SA power bills

Erin Clare

An exciting plan to lower power prices using the co-operative model of community electricity trusts has been announced by SA BEST leader Nick Xenophon.   “The co-operative model has an internationally proven track record for delivering services,” said Business Council of Cooperatives and Mutuals...

Read more

Jodie & Soda rallied the community to make Alex the 'best firefighter ever'

Tina Liptai

  Adelaide has a new pint-size hero after Mix 102.3's Jodie & Soda rallied the community to make Alex the 'best firefighter ever'     ...

Read more

Barnaby Joyce: the story of an unlikely rise and a self-inflicted fall

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

Joyce's departure to the backbench obviously brings immediate relief for the government and the Nationals. What it will mean beyond that is more difficult to predict.AAP/Marlon DaltonIn the end, the tough man crumpled. For a fortnight Barnaby Joyce had resembled someone out in the snow who’d b...

Read more

Top 10 Deadliest Building Fires in Australia

Geordie Killen

A few months from now, we're going to celebrate Fire Prevention Week and one of the best ways to understand the dangers of fire is to remember worst fire incidents in Australia. By reading the harrowing stories of these fire disasters, people will be more aware of how dangerous fires can be. It wi...

Read more

Arming teachers will only make US school shootings worse

Rick Sarre, Adjunct Professor of Law and Criminal Justice, University of South Australia

US President Donald Trump talks to high school students about safety on campus following the shooting deaths of 17 people at a Florida school.Reuters/Jonathan ErnstOn February 14, in Parkland, Florida, 17 teachers and students were shot dead at their school by an estranged student armed with a high-...

Read more

Holidays & Travel

Places That Will Make You Want to Visit Indonesia This Year

Royalty, culture and history coalesce in Yogyakarta     Seasoned travellers wanting more than boutique shopping, hip bars and cutting edge restaurants are invited to try a new Indonesian island or include one...

STA Travel: MASSIVE THREE DAY NEW ZEALAND SALE

NEW ZEALAND FLASH SALE!!!!    For the next THREE DAYS ONLY, STA Travel is having massive flight and Campervan hire sales for New Zealand!!    Fly one way for $129, and RETURN FOR $275!! Campervans start from $47 a day!    If...

MANTRA HOTELS LAUNCHES BIGGEST EVER GLOBAL SALE

Mantra Hotels is set to launch its biggest ever Global Sale with massive savings on more than 130 Mantra, Peppers, BreakFree and Art Series Hotels, booked between 13 - 21...

Bangkok's Winter Festival "Love and Warmth at Winter's End"

His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun has graciously initiated the organisation of a winter festival under the theme 'Un Ai Rak Khlai Khwam Nao' (Love and Warmth at Winter's End)...

Give Your Valentine a Villa in Mykonos

Need a Last-Minute Valentine’s Day Gift?  For $66 Give Your Valentine a Villa in MykonosThis Valentine’s Day, if you are still debating on a meaningful gift for your loved one...

The Nam Hai Launches AntiGravityYoga and Unveils New Serenity Structure

Hoi An, Vietnam – Four Seasons Resort The Nam Hai, Hoi An is elevating its wellbeing offering with a new yoga pavilion and introduction of AntiGravity® Yoga, a dynamic 'flying' yoga...

Rydges South Bank rolls out the MAGIC CARPET to welcome Aladdin to Brisbane!

Rydges South Bank is rolling out their very own magic carpet to welcome the blockbuster stage show Disney’s Aladdin – The Musical to Brisbane, announcing an exclusive stay, taste and...

New cellar doors across Tasmania

New Cellar Door at Clover Hill Drawing inspiration from the form of a clover leaf, the new Clover Hill cellar door ( sits on the edge of the valley...

Club Med helps Aussies hack their holidays

This month, Club Med is helping Australians make the most of their annual leave and save more on the holidays of their dreams, by offering their best price all year...

Fashion & Beauty

The Most Stylish Women of All Time and How to Be Like Them

The mark of style is uniqueness. It’s not just in following the trends; it’s in being creative enough to set new ones in place. It’s about natural allure that draws...

Australian size-inclusive activewear label Active Truth

Mums and daughters #twinning in new activewear range that encourages healthy body image in women and girls Mums and daughters #twinning in new activewear range that encourages healthy body image im...

Bras N Things Heat Up The Night campaign

Inspired by hot summer nights and dazzling neon city lights, Bras N Things’ new Heat Up The Night campaign showcases stunning fashion lingerie, decadent embroidered lace and bold caging details.   Featuring...

Fashion Moment Holiday: Restyle Your Wardrobe and Enjoy Exclusive Shopping Privileges at Four Seasons

Adjacent to the prestigious IFC mall, Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong has always been the venue of choice for the glam and glitterati to flaunt their fashion statements. Housing five...

Staying Fashionable on the Beach this Summer

Whether you’re travelling alone, with your partner for the first time or on a relaxing trip with your whole family or friend group, looking great while you’re on the beach...

Santamaria Shirt Makers

Traditional shirt-making for the modern era How the second generation of a traditional shirt maker is transforming the family business for the digital age From Madrid to London and now the world...

HEALTH

Cinzia Cozzolinos shares her 7 Day Feb-Fast Detox

Nutritionist and Founder of Nutrition Darling and Smoothie Bombs shares her 7 Day Feb-Fast Detox.  Cinzia Cozzolinos Tips are below and her 7 Day Plant Based Eating Plan is...

Malcolm Turnbull - Ground-breaking flu vaccines to protect millions of Aussies

The Turnbull Government will provide two new ground-breaking flu vaccines to over three million Australians aged 65 years and over - free of charge. This is a direct response to last...

Alcovit

Here we go a "new hangover cure", sure thing whatever.   Alcovit Australia states from the start it is NOT a Hangover Cure, it is NOT something that allows you to drink...

"Career mums" vs "home makers"

Mums today are adjusted into many different scenarios; whether you have a stay at home business, working only a couple of days a week whilst your children are with carers...

Seasonal health retreat in a box

A seasonal reminder to slow down can help manage anxiety and stress in Australian women. It’s back to work and back to the daily grind. Well-being expert, Holistic Nutritionist and Personal...

Surviving A Divorce

Breakups are tough at the best of times. When you’ve been married for some time, have a family, and find that your relationship has broken down beyond repair, the process...

LIFE STYLE

Get green with your gardening needs

Do you consider yourself a particularly green-fingered gardener who has a real love and passion for flowers and other shrubbery? If your answer to this questions is yes, then you...

5 Most Common Household Emergencies and How to Fix Them

If you have a large and old house, there’s a pretty big chance that there are going to be some emergencies every now and then. It’s important to maintain the...

How to Life Plan with Your Children’s Future in Mind

For most people, a big part of their life plan involves kids. Children are one of life’s great joys, but also one of life’s great financial burdens. The good news...

8 Easy Tips for Keeping Your Home Healthy and Clean

Although we see our homes as our safe havens, they aren’t actually as safe as we may think. In fact, there are probably numerous hidden toxins and allergens that we...

Cleaning Tips for Your Living Space in Australia

We all know that cleaning our home is extremely important; however, it seems that not all Aussies take this seriously and make some crucial mistakes when it comes to the...

Sydney Bayside Home Retreat for any family

Amid the leafy based greenery of The Sydney Suburb Putney resides a timeless new feature home setting to the modern 2018 family unit. The conjunction of bayside living, ambiance, tranquility...

FOOD & DINING

Tips for Drinking Wine around the World

Compromises are for relationships, not wine. – Sir Robert Scott Caywood Do you know how eating food from all over the world is in fact a unique way of traveling around...

Introducing Champagne lovers to, Emperor, Australia’s home of Champagne

Every bottle of Champagne ordered from Emperor is beautifully packaged in custom Emperor gift boxes or wrapping paper. Emperor houses the most extensive collection of champagne in Australia.   Kyla says:...

Hot Stuff: the strategically engineered reusable coffee cup combating Australia¹s landfill epidemic

As Australia’s caffeine addiction continues to soar, environmentalists warn that disposable coffee cups are fast on their way to becoming a major pollution hazard. According to the ABC (2016), coffee cups...

Get saucy this Valentine's Day with Lillie's Q

Whether you’re spending Valentine’s Day with a special partner or celebrating love with your friends, why not treat them (and yourself) to something a little different this year. Get your taste...

Winter Food and Wellness a Winning Combination for Aussies Travelling to Japan

Increased flight options, striking natural scenery, fascinating culture, world-famous onsens and delicious food: there are many reasons why the Australian love affair with Japan seems to be a never ending...

Move over avocado toast. This millennial has created healthy bake mixes

Back to work and school healthy snacks made with real ingredients. 29 year old Genevieve Le Hunt grabbed a gap in the baking mix market. Genevieve created Bake Mixes, organic, vegan...