ARCC takes part in 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence

Posted Thursday 28 November, 11:27am

Ararat Rural City Council is again taking part in the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence and this year, is encouraging people to “respect women – call it out” under a state-wide campaign.

Ararat Rural City Council CEO Dr Tim Harrison said the campaign – run by Respect Victoria and the Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria – encourages people to be an active bystander and call out the disrespect of women.

The Council is taking part in the campaign by posting daily about the issue on its social media channels, by speaking up in the media, and through a book display at the Ararat Regional Library that features reading material that challenges gender stereotypes.

Dr Harrison said disrespecting women is at the root of gender-based violence, and Council has made a commitment to call it out.

“Disrespecting women takes many forms from sexist jokes and derogatory language, to cat calling, leering, sexual harassment and abuse,” Dr Harrison said.

“We can all be active bystanders when we witness the disrespect of women in any form. To call it out, you don’t have to do or say much – a subtle remark or a change in your body language can be enough to send a strong message to the perpetrator.”

The “respect women – call it out” campaign has included a series of television commercials that feature a man leering at a woman on a train. An active bystander then steps in between the two, blocking the perpetrator’s view and giving him a harsh look, sending a strong message that his actions are not okay.

“Call it out” is a broad term for responding in some way to behaviours that may be deemed as sexist, sexual harassment, disrespectful and abusive.

Calling it out does not mean physically intervening when you witness violence and does not include hostile or aggressive responses. If you believe someone is in immediate danger, call 000 for the police.

It’s important to ensure you do not put yourself, the victim or any other bystanders in danger when you call it out.

Here are some ways in which you can “call it out” if you see sexist, disrespectful or sexually harassing behaviour:

  • Don't laugh along to sexist jokes.
  • Give a disapproving look to show the behaviour is not okay – shake your head or roll your eyes.
  • Make a comment such as: "What century are you living in?"
  • Check in with the person affected: "I heard what he just said – are you okay?
  • Privately let the perpetrator know their behaviour is not okay: "The joke you made in yesterday's meeting was not funny and is actually not okay."
  • Calmly disagree and state that the comment is wrong or unacceptable: “I know you probably didn’t mean it but I found what you said to be offensive.”
  • Speak up and educate by explaining why you disagree: “Actually, evidence shows the vast majority of women do not make up false claims of sexual assault.”
  • Challenge the logic: “That’s not my experience” or “What makes you think that?”
  • Stand up for the person affected: “Michelle was saying something and you cut her off again.”
  • Make eye contact with the person affected – let them know you’re an ally.
  • Show your emotion: “It actually makes me sad/uncomfortable when you say that.”
  • Support others when they call it out: “I agree, that’s not funny.”
  • Appeal to their greater self: “Come on, you’re better than that.”
  • Report the behaviour to management or via incident reporting systems if available.
  • Disrupt or distract the situation to redirect focus from the incident to something else.