Surpise, Surprise, Violence Begets Violence
Posted by Cate on November 17, 2008
The White Ribbon Foundation has released some of the initial findings of their latest research report, An Assault On Our Future: The Impact Of Violence On Young People And Their Relationships.
The report, which reviewed data from the past seven years, including a survey of 5000 12 to 20-year-olds, linked an exposure to domestic violence to attitudes about violence. Some of the surveys results include:
One third of boys surveyed believe “it’s not a big deal to hit a girl”.
One in seven thought “it’s OK to make a girl have sex with you if she was flirting”.
Up to 350,000 girls aged between 12 and 20 – one in seven – had experienced sexual assault or rape.
Almost one third of girls in Year 10 had experienced unwanted sex.
The survey also shows one in four teenagers lives with violence at home, prompting calls for domestic violence education programs in schools. None of this is particularly new in my personal opinion, educators and welfare pundits have long correlated domestic violence/parental attitudes with interpersonal behaviour.
Will this be another research report that sits on a well meaning person’s desk gathering dust? Will there be timelines for concrete action? And how can the impact of familial violence as a precursor to violence, be isolated from the impact of peer and larger societal perceptions of violence towards women?
Further, does family or childhood violence not only predict but excuse future behaviour? Seems to be trotted out in court sentencing at an alarming rate. At a very basic level, many victims of family violence do not hold misogynist attitudes, (though of course they may possess more interpersonal and social resources). Let’s hope this research leads to structural and interpersonal efforts at change.
November 25th is the United Nations Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. For more information on the White Ribbon Campaign including events in each state and how to buy ribbons and wristbands go to www.whiteribbonday.org.au.