Violence against women and racism have powerful impacts on the mental health of those who are on the receiving end. Next time you see someone being harassed because of their gender or race, say something or report it.
What you can do to send the message that racism and violence against women are not okay:
- When a racist joke is being told at the pub, tell your mates that it’s not funny, and they are better than that. The more we call people on this behaviour, the more it becomes socially unacceptable.
- If you witness a colleague using sexist slang, let them know that it’s not appropriate and won’t be tolerated.
What are violence-supportive attitudes?
Five key categories of violence-supportive attitudes have been identified by researchers. These include attitudes that:
⇴ justify violence against women, based on the notion that it is legitimate for a man to use violence, particularly against a woman with whom he is in an intimate relationship, in certain circumstances (e.g. the idea that partner violence is justified if a woman has sex with another man)
⇴ excuse violence by attributing it to external factors (e.g. stress) or proposing that men cannot be held fully responsible for violent behaviour (e.g. ‘rape results from men not being able to control their need for sex’)
⇴ trivialise the impact of violence, based on the view that the impacts of violence are not serious or are not sufficiently serious to warrant action by women themselves, the community or public agencies (e.g. ‘women who are sexually harassed should sort it out themselves rather than report it’)
⇴ minimise violence by denying its seriousness, denying that it occurs or denying that certain behaviours are indeed violence at all (e.g. the idea that it’s only rape if the woman physically resisted)
⇴ shift blame for the violence from the perpetrator to the victim or hold women at least partially responsible for their victimisation or for preventing victimisation (e.g. the idea that women ask for rape)