When men and women are not seen as equal, this fosters violent behaviours through approaches to life and relationships:
- Violence against women isn’t good but it’s understandable – for example, the idea that it is excusable for men to use violence in certain circumstances like if they lose control, that they cannot always be held responsible for their actions, or that some kinds of violence (such as sexual harassment) are not serious.
- It’s ok for men to control their household and their wife’s public life and relationships – for example, the idea that men should be the head of the household, decide how money is spent, control who their wife can or cannot see and specify how their wife should spend her time.
- Old ideas of domestic bliss and gender roles being enforced in modern homes – the idea that women and men and girls and boys should act in certain ways or fulfill certain roles, in the home and outside of the home.
- Disrespectful attitudes that emphasise aggressive behaviour – for example, the way some groups of men ‘bond’ or seek to prove their ‘manhood’ or ‘masculinity’ through actions that are negative, hostile or aggressive towards women, like ‘pickup artists’ or catcalling/wolf-whistling.
We can address these by:
- Challenging the idea that violence is a normal expression of being a man.
- Preventing exposure to violence, where possible, and supporting those affected by it.
- Calling out social norms that say male aggression and/or aggressive conquests are a natural part of drinking alcohol and going out in Australian culture.
- Developing positive ways to engage men and boys in gender equality.
- Building relationship skills and healthy social connections.
- Challenging cultural norms that restrict men and women to playing certain roles in life and in the home.