Violence Against Women: Information Page
When people hear the phrase “violence against women”, they are likely to imagine isolated incidents of domestic violence, wartime atrocities or rape in an alleyway. Few are likely to know just how complex and broad an issue it is and, sadly, how widespread it is in Australian society.
According to White Ribbon’s summary of The Personal Safety Survey (2006), in Australia:
• Close to half of all women (40%) have experienced violence since the age of 15;
• Just under one third of women (29%) have experienced physical assault;
• Nearly one in five women (17%) have experienced sexual assault;
• Nearly one in six women (16%) have experienced violence by a current or previous partner in their
• Since the age of 15, one third of women (33%) have experienced inappropriate comments about their body or sex life, one quarter (25%) have experienced unwanted sexual touching, and one in five (19%) have been stalked.
Violence against women is a big problem in our country, with one woman dying every 8 days due to intimate partner violence or domestic abuse. It has been described as being at “epidemic” proportions in Australia while rates of sexual assault against indigenous women are 4 times higher than the national average. In war-torn countries, like the DR of Congo, rates are even higher, with 48 women being raped every hour. Both locally and abroad, violence against women is one of the greatest social ills facing humanity.
The Sydney Feminists has a dedicated Violence Against Women officer and has made the issue one of its 4 core focusses. We aim to educate people about the rates of violence, where they can seek help and how they can assist in prevention. We also aim to educate young men about the issue, primarily by analysing what it is about the social construct of masculinity that encourages risky and aggressive behaviour. Examining masculinity and conventional notions of manhood is an essential component of our efforts to improve society through education. Our primary method is through documentary screenings and workshops.
We also recognise that violence against women comes in many forms, such as:
Emotional abuse, financial abuse, reproductive coercion, verbal abuse and threats, forced prostitution, forced marriage, rape, sexual assault and forced genital mutilation.
Little is known about the widespread nature of these issues and that is something we seek to change by putting on awareness-raising events, campaigns, fundraisers for shelters and educational programs.
(If this is an area you are passionate about and you would like to contribute to, see our Volunteer Options page to find out how you can help.)
To find out more about the issue of violence against women in Australia, please visit our Information Page about VAW.