By Jerril Rechter, VicHealth CEO
An edited version of this letter was published in the Sunday Age on 11 March 2012.
Congratulations to the Sunday Age for taking on the challenge to thoroughly investigate the shameful incidence of violence against women in Victoria.
Nicole Brady’s article (Sunday Age 4/3) was an exceptional overview of the scope and seriousness of this profound health problem in Victoria.
We now know that violence against women is common, serious and that it is preventable.
And Victoria is a world-leader in driving prevention programs that focus on underlying factors that cause this violence.
From the sports field, to the school yard, to the workplace, activity that encourages development of equal and respectful relationships between men and women is a prerequisite if we are ever to prevent violence before it starts.
We have learned that to eliminate violence against women, we need the whole community to stand up and actively stop the causes of violence against women, at its source.
That’s why VicHealth is currently surveying the Victorian community to find out how people behave when they see violence against women in any of its forms.
The new research will show us what inspires ordinary people to challenge sexist jokes or to confront their mates who are being abusive. More importantly, it will show us how to encourage even more people to intervene when violence could occur.
The Sunday Age must be commended for showing media leadership by highlighting what has traditionally been an issue hidden from the public eye.