Today marks White Ribbon Day in Australia, while November 25 is International White Ribbon Day.
From a tragic event in Montreal Canada in 1989 where a university student killed 14 fellow female students, it is now an international effort in over 57 countries where men and boys are working with their communities to end violence towards women.
While there is a mountain of work progressing this cause, research on violence against women shows this is still a significant problem in our community. Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows:
- 1 in 4 women have experienced emotional abuse by a current or former partner since the age of 15;
- 1 in 2 women have experienced sexual harassment during her lifetime; and
- 1 in 6 women have experienced stalking since the age of 15.
Unfortunately the picture is similar in New Zealand. Statistics from a recent New Zealand Crime and Safety Survey and New Zealand Police show:
- 1 in 4 women reported they have been a victim of an offence by their partner;
- 29% of women experience unwanted and distressing sexual contact over their lifetime; and
- Only 20% of abuse cases are reported.
Women make up a large portion of the healthcare workforce across Australasia and 33% of our College members are women. This is a widespread issue which impacts our colleagues, workplaces and health services.
“As medical leaders we need to lead by example and positively impact the current culture and statistics by being vigilant of any poor behaviour towards women in our workplaces and communities,” RACMA President Alan Sandford AM said.
“I encourage all RACMA members to stand up, speak out, and act to stop violence against women. Let’s lead the change – together we can achieve.”