Peter Khalil: Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. So far this year 49 women have been killed through violence, according to an advocacy group which keeps a ‘Counting Dead Women’ register. It goes without saying that we shouldn’t have to have this register in existence. However, it does remind us of the amount of work that we need to do as a society to eradicate this scourge.
Too many times since I was elected back in 2016, I’ve found myself at memorials and vigils for young women who have had their lives brutally cut short: Jill Meagher, Eurydice Dixon, Courtney Herron and Aya Maasarwe, just to name a few. Days like today are important; they remind us to note, remember and acknowledge that one in six Australian women experience violence from a partner, that one in five women have experienced sexual violence and that one in three have experienced physical violence. But we need to do more than just remember; we must also work every single day to call it out and stamp it out. We, as men particularly, have a responsibility every single time we see or hear someone showing a woman disrespect or demonstrating sexist behaviours to call it out and say, ‘That is unacceptable.’ And that goes to the education of our sons, our brothers and our nephews, to respect women.
I want to acknowledge the work of the Andrews Labor government in passing all the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Family Violence and the creation of Respect Victoria to spearhead important campaigns, like the Respect Women: Call it Out Campaign. All of us have a responsibility to make a difference and to be an integral part of this solution.