A new survey conducted by anti-violence campaign group, White Ribbon, has revealed alarming attitudes around domestic violence in Australia. The survey of 1074 adults found that 42% of men aged 18 to 34 didn’t consider “hitting, punching or restraining” to be “a type of domestic violence”.
White Ribbon executive director Brad Chilcott told The Sydney Morning Herald that he found the results “incredibly shocking. It just shows that we have such a long way to go in educating men and boys in what constitutes a respectful relationship and appropriate behaviour in our society.”
Men in that same age group also didn’t consider a number of non-physical behaviours as domestic violence, with 43% of male respondents saying it wasn’t domestic violence to “frighten, humiliate, degrade or punish a person”.
More than half of men aged 18 to 34 also didn’t consider it domestic violence to harass or spy on a partner electronically, while almost half of men in this age group didn’t consider isolating a partner from friends, family and other support to be domestic violence.
The data found older men more likely to recognise domestic violence, with less than a third of men aged 35 to 54 not considering hitting as domestic violence. According to SMH, nearly nine out of 10 men aged over 55 also agreed that non-consensual sex with a partner was domestic abuse.
According to Relationships Australia team leader, Michael Riley, most men in the survey understood intellectually that punching and hitting was violence but there was less awareness across the board about the non-physical side of domestic abuse.
“With the younger generation, there [can be] a lack of awareness about the impact of the behaviour,” Riley told SMH. “They may have also been in the wrong social groups that have underplayed or undermined some of the behaviours.”
If you or anyone you know is struggling and needs support, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or Lifeline on 13 11 14, both of which provide trained counsellors you can talk with 24/7. You can also talk to someone from 1800RESPECT via online chat. If you are in immediate danger, call 000.