White Ribbon, Australia’s campaign to stop violence against women, believes that all fathers should swear this Sunday on Father’s Day. We’re all being encouraged to swear an oath that says, “I swear never to commit, excuse or remain silent about violence against women.”
You can find out more about their Father’s Day campaign and sign the oath at their website.
Contributing to the prevention of men’s violence against women requires more than simply being a non-violent man. It requires an understanding of the factors which underlie and contribute to violence against women and how these factors are deeply engrained in our culture, to the degree to which they are sometimes not immediately obvious. It requires an awareness of how these factors influence our beliefs, attitudes and
behaviours – about what it is to be a man and how to relate to others. It requires the courage to change, to adopt new beliefs and new attitudes, and it requires the knowledge and skills to put new actions and
behaviours in place.
Fatherhood provides this opportunity. Perhaps more than any other life stage, it delivers the chance for men to examine how the factors that contribute to violence against women impact on their choices and behaviours on a daily basis. A good father is a non-violent father. Yet fathers can do much more to prevent violence against women than being non-violent men themselves. Through their relationships with women and children and
their involvement in family tasks and responsibilities, fathers are well positioned to reflect on issues of masculinity and gendered power relations, to do more than just practice non-violence, but actively work towards the creation and maintenance of equal and respectful relationships, and to contribute significantly to the prevention of men’s violence against women.
Whether you’re a father, grandfather, brother or son, I hope you’ll swear this Father’s Day.
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