May is Domestic and Family Violence Awareness Month

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These are three of the four faces of women who have lost their lives at the hands of violent men in Australia in the past 14 days.

May is Domestic and Family Violence Awareness Month.

We are aware that domestic and family violence affects men and women however our author and VPS employee, is a woman and will be speaking from her personal perspective and research during this piece. She would prefer to remain anonymous.
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I am one of the millions of Australian females who fall in to one many of the disturbing statistics surrounding Domestic and Family Violence.

I am strong, educated and self-aware. I am not isolated and very aware of the informal and formal supports available; in fact, I facilitate some of the available supports in my own community and still, I have experienced domestic violence recently. I am not a rare case.

Let this sink in:

1 in 3 women (30.5%) have experienced physical violence since the age of 15 ✔️

1 in 4 women have experienced emotional abuse by a current or former partner since the age of 15 ✔️

1 in 5 women have experienced sexual violence since the age of 15 ✔️

85% of Australian women have been sexually harassed ✔️

Almost 40% of women continued to experience violence from their partner while temporarily separated ✔️

1 in 6 women have experienced stalking since the age of 15 ✔️

Intimate partner violence is a leading contributor to illness, disability and premature death for women aged 18-44 ✔️

1 in 6 women experienced abuse before the age of fifteen ✔️

1 in 5 students have been sexually harassed in a university setting

1 in 3 women aged 18-24 have experienced sexual harassment ✔️

9 out 10 women with a disability have been sexually harassed

Indigenous women are 32x more likely to be hospitalised due to family violence than non-indigenous women

92% of women who identify as LGBTQIA+ have experienced sexual harassment in their lifetime

Australian police deal with domestic violence every two minutes

Over 60% of women experiencing violence from a current partner are working ✔️

Almost 1 in 3 women have been sexually harassed online or via some form of technology ✔️

1 in 5 Australians have experienced image-based abuse ✔️

Violence against women is estimated to cost the Australian economy $22 billion a year.

This year alone, Australia (on average) loses one female per week due to domestic violence attacks.

Far too often, I see not so isolated responses to these horrific headlines and statistics; some of which suggesting that women should stay inside, that we must not walk alone, we should “just leave”, there must “be more” to it – there is not more to it. There is no excuse no matter what he/she/they say.

How do we fix this? Education, empowerment to speak up and speak out, perpetrator accountability, increased and enforced counselling, school based programs, harsher penalties for offenders, increased placement and awareness to public offender registers, men and women feeling confident to call out unacceptable behaviour, men and women working in partnership to eradicate victim blaming.

We’ve heard all this before right? Repetition is key. The more we speak up, the more it’s on our radar. Let this be on your radar.

(Statistics provided by White Ribbon, ABC and Impact for Women)
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For more information on how to access support, see here: https://www.whiteribbon.org.au/find-help/domestic-violence-hotlines/