Home Men's Health 42% of young Australian men don’t think punching counts as domestic violence

42% of young Australian men don’t think punching counts as domestic violence


A new survey commissioned by White Ribbon Australia disturbingly reveals that two in five young men don’t believe that punching their partner counts as domestic abuse and almost half of the surveyed young men don’t believe that non-consensual sex is rape.

It’s no secret that we live in a nation that still sustains a very sinister culture of domestic violence – particularly of that enacted by men against women.

But as domestic violence assaults are seldom reported on in the media, due to their severely sensitive nature – for many it can be easy to forget that we do in fact have a very real domestic violence problem in Australia.

A survey conducted by Essential Research and commissioned by White Ribbon Australia highlights the sickening ‘recognition gap’ of what consent means, and what violence constitutes.

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The sickening room for improvement

The White Ribbon poll consisting of 1074 adults (as Sydney Morning Herald highlighted), illuminates a great need of improvement in education and cultural attitudes regarding consent and abuse. The poll found that within the 18-34 years age bracket that:

  • 44 per cent do not consider non-consensual sexual activity to be domestic violence.
  • 54 per cent do not consider constant phone calls or text messages or electronically spying on someone domestic abuse.
  • 46 per cent do not consider controlling money so the person is dependent on the other as domestic violence.
  • 43 per cent do not consider frightening, humiliating, degrading or punishing a partner to be domestic violence.
  • 42 per cent do not consider punching, hitting or any form or restraining to be domestic violence.

How to fight back

White Ribbon is “the world’s largest movement engaging men and boys to end men’s violence against women and girls, promote gender equality and create new opportunities for men to build positive, healthy and respectful relationships.”

The international movement works alongside many other organisations to end gendered violence by “mobilising men in their own communities”, believing that men must be engaged to make “women’s safety a man’s issue too”.

You can help create meaningful change within your community this White Ribbon Day, on November 20, by organising a White Ribbon event (such a march, meal or webinar), and potentially ignite the formation of a Community Action Group.

“Most men share a belief that violence against women and children is never acceptable. White Ribbon Australia invites men to be part of a movement to eliminate gendered violence. Australia needs men to join us in thinking about the opportunities they have to make lasting change in attitudes and behaviours that ensure the safety and wellbeing of women and children. Men speaking to other men about violence against women is a powerful catalyst for change.”

Please adhere to appropriate COVID restrictions relevant to your area when organising a White Ribbon Event.

If you or someone you know needs help, please contact the National SexualAssault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service on 1800 RESPECT for 24/7 support. If you are in immediate danger, call 000.


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