Below is a collection of inspiring video messages from prominent community members who are passionate about breaking the cycle of violence.
Man 1: As a parent, it’s about preparing your children for when they leave the house. And it’s all about reaffirming why respect is important. And I think if you get it right at the start, that’s an important lesson that never goes away.
Man 2: I do tailor the way I talk to it depending on the age of my kids but I think, probably just as powerful, is the non verbal language and how I model it. I think all kids need to have someone in their family environment that they look up to. I think that’s important. It doesn’t have to be a parent, it could be a grandparent it could be an uncle, it could be an aunty, it could be a family friend but as long as there’s somebody that they can aspire to be like.
Woman: Teenagers, they’re open to so many different influences from different areas, so it could be from a coach, it could be from a doctor or a teacher it takes a community to raise children and good respectful children need different role models from all aspects of life.
If I see something in the community or someone doing something that I don’t believe in, to speak up. I’d probably speak to the parent and say “are you aware of this?”
Man 1: One of the important things in any of these situations or scenarios is to catch it early. So I encourage the parents of the children that I coach and that would extend to parents of children at school too, to shout out. Because it’s just much easier to grab them together and to teach them as a group, what the right behaviour looks like if you can catch it early.
Man 2: Kids often find it hard to talk about what they’re doing so I talk about either imagine yourself as a really old man, in your forties – my age – looking at your young self and then what would you say to your young self.
So teaching parents how to do that, and teaching parents how to teach their kids to do that I think can be a really important skill.
Woman: The more that they see these respectful relationships within the community whether it’s through their parents or from coach to student it all makes a difference.
Man 1: If the message is constant and they keep hearing it and they keep seeing the behaviours displayed it becomes habit for them or they get used to it or they see it, and if you model a good behaviour then that’s the behaviour that they look to take on.
My name is Wayne Schwass. I’m a former AFL football player, but more recently I am the founder of a social enterprise called PukaUp, which works in the mental health space. And I’m also importantly, a father of teenage children, twin daughters who are 18 and I have a 15 year old son.
For me personally, respect is treating people in a manner that I believe I deserve to be treated in a reciprocal fashion, what I say, what I do, how I behave.
My primary role as a dad, is to empower my children to remain emotionally connected and expressive for their entire life, because I believe if I can help them do that, then they will have the skillset, the confidence, the self-respect to be able to manage challenging situations in a more proactive, productive, and positive manner.
So I think that there are a number of really simple ways to begin to teach our younger children about respect without actually going, “Okay. I need to sit down with my six year old son or daughter and talk to them about respect.”
I think the best place and the most important, the starting point for these conversations is in the safety of our home. We used dinnertime as an opportunity to bring the family unit together. And, I believe that conversation empowers my kids.
I can support them and encourage them to think about what they say and how they behave, not just when the behaviour might be not acceptable, but all the time.
My name is Emmaline Carroll Southwell. I’m a mum of three and during the lockdown I posted a little poem that I wrote of our family mission statement. That sort of blew up, and 10 days later I had signed a publishing deal, and it turned into the kid’s picture book, ‘Our Family Pledge’.
To me respect is about being accepting and tolerant and considerate of all people regardless of their race or religion or their abilities or their gender or sexuality
Some things that might prompt me to initiate a conversation might be sharing. That’s a big one in our house! You know, two people want the same toy, or playing sport and being a good team player, everyone’s got different abilities and different strengths. They’re just regular, everyday conversations, and they happen all the time.
For me, the best place and the most convenient place to have conversations about respect are in my car because there’s less distractions. If we have to discuss things that potentially, might be uncomfortable, it’s a great place because we’re not locked eyes so it becomes a much more casual, cool and calm conversation.
Trying to raise respectful children is so important because, we need these respectful children, to be respectful adults. We need to feel that we live, in a safe environment, that our children are safe and that we have choices and and that we are free and we need to have more respect, in order to get to that place.
My name’s Jacqueline Pascarl and I’m an international aid worker. I’ve been National Vice Chair of the Australian Defence Force, and I’m a mum of many, many kids, and foster kids, and step-kids.
Respect means no violence. Respect means feeling whole as a person when you’re talking to someone else, or in your interactions with them.
I want to be a woman with a voice who can help others find their voices as well. That’s really important to me. Because when you throw a pebble into a pond you can cause a ripple. When lots of people throw a pebble in – they can cause a tidal wave of change.
Most of all I realise that if I didn’t have a voice, my children wouldn’t have a voice either. That I had to raise children who didn’t go through what I went to. Who are going to be decent adults. Who are going to be brave adults. Who could be adults who knew at the first hint of a toxic relationship, an unhealthy relationship, a power imbalance—that they would walk away or call it out for what it was. And I’m proud to say that they have.
And if we want to live in a society where our kids have great relationships where they are able to be themselves and talk about everything and behave respectfully, but they have a healthy relationship they feel safe in – then that’s part of our society. We create the society we want to live in.
Text version of Cooper Chapman – Stop it at the Start campaign supporter
For me I think respect comes back to just being kind to people, having empathy and understanding other people’s situations. It’s all about taking responsibility.
I’ve felt life from a young age I’ve always kind of known when I’m doing something wrong, or when I’ve seen something wrong. And it’s probably not until the last five years that I’ve really matured and realised that I have to take responsibility for my own actions. And if something’s not sitting right with me, it’s important to speak up. It’s important to go and tell someone if you see something wrong happen, or if your friends are doing something wrong—have those hard conversations.
Sometimes the really difficult conversations to have are the ones that you’re going to get so much growth out of, and you’re going to move forward in life.
Nothing’s going to change unless we change ourselves.
Text version of Paula Joye – Stop it at the Start campaign supporter
Hi I’m Paula Joye. I’m a journalist and a mother of two teenage girls.
What does respect mean to me? It’s the intention to raise people up. Disrespect is taking people down. It’s a step backward. Respect is moving forward.
I think the best way to talk to children about respect is by example and by practicing what you preach. I think that’s the most important thing. If they don’t see you doing it, and they don’t see examples of it in your adult life, then they’re not going to understand what respect really is.
Kids have to be taught respect at a young age because habits start that early—good and bad habits. But when we’re young we’re just much more malleable and much more open to the suggestion of good and positive and hopeful things.
So I think that it’s the most important time to start laying those foundations really early. And if you can set that path of manners and respect and kindness early, then I think the only way is up.
Text version of Catriona Rowntree – Stop it at the Start campaign supporter
Catriona Rowntree: Hello, my name is Catriona Rowntree, the host of “Getaway” for the last 25 years.
I’m a mum in love of two little boys.
For me, respect is about treating others in the same manner that you would like and expect to be treated.
On the drive to or from school, that’s when we have our chat time, is really important to me.
Just last week, I asked my children “do you talk about respect at school?”
And what I learned is that our younger generation is already malleable and open to learning because they’ve gone through a whole experience about bullying.
I think the message right now is parents need to have this conversation and as we know, it needs to start in the home when children are young and just be open to talking and communicating, being positive role models.
If you’re challenged about it, think about what would happen if you don’t?
The positive ripple effect is worth the effort of teaching our young people, of being positive role models, and it’s not always easy and it requires work and courage and being open to learning yourself, but the rewards are worth it.
Text on screen: Visit respect.gov.au for tools and resources to help you make a positive change.
Text version of Hugh van Cuylenburg – Stop it at the Start campaign supporter
Hugh van Cuylenburg: My name is Hugh van Cuylenburg from The Resilience Project.
So respect to me is a deep understanding that everyone is worthy of love.
It doesn’t have to be someone that you know or someone like you, everyone is worthy of love and belonging.
I think we, as adults, as parents, we need to model what courage looks like.
So I remember one day taking a group of students, a group of boys out, and we were walking past the train station.
And one of the boys made a comment to a girl that was walking past and it wasn’t a very nice thing to say.
Because the whole point of his comment was to try and make his peers laugh, so I didn’t want to give him that opportunity again.
It was more about sitting him down and just saying why I was so disappointed with the comment, and why I thought he was
so much better than that and why I knew the next time in that similar situation he wouldn’t do that.
He had time to reflect on it, he wasn’t proud of it.
He knew that it was absolutely the wrong thing to do, so we had a really really good conversation about it.
For parents, for teachers, for adults, for anyone, if you’re wanting to teach respect to young people, have the conversation but then back it up with your actions.
I think it’s about getting parents to understand that they’re doing such a great job.
I mean it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, being a parent, by far.
But I think it’s so important to remind parents that if they see something that’s inconsistent with the way they want
their child to grow up, they’ve got to call it out.
Text on screen: Visit respect.gov.au for tools and resources to help you make a positive change.
Hi my name is Mohit Kumar and I’m ex-president and current public officer of Council of Indian Australians – a not-for-profit organisation for the Indian sub-continent community.
I’m a proud father of two teenage boys and also uncle to teenage boys. Coupled with that, I am also coach to the young cricketers and also the community leader within Council of Indian Australians. I have been raised by strong women – both my grandma and my mum. And I’m very proud that both myself and my wife have instilled the same value in our boys to respect women and girls of all ages.
Recently, I experienced disrespectful behaviour from my nephew towards his mother. I was very acute of the fact that he may be being influenced through his father. So I knew at that point I had to unmute and speak up. In doing so, I told him that he was not to speak in such manner to anyone, or any woman – especially his mother. And for the next few weeks I kept touch with him and his mother and I’m happy to say that —according to him —he has made changes to his behaviour and he learnt to express himself in a much more calm manner.
It is incumbent on all of us and yourself, to make sure that if you see such disrespect to unmute yourself and speak up. Because, the standards we walk past are the standards we accept.
It can be as simple as watching out for incidents where you have witnessed disrespect, and speaking up. Or, organising a community-level interventions – where you speak to young kids and teenagers and boys telling them that disrespect against girls and women is not acceptable.
For more resources, you can go to respect.gov.au and learn how you can approach an issue when you see disrespect against women or girls.
Text version of Gurnam Singh – Stop it at the Start campaign supporter
Hi my name is Gurnam Singh I’m the founder of AISECS – the Australian Indian Sports Education Culture Society. And also I work very closely with the charity funds, the McGrath Foundation, and other sporting bodies.I’m very happy to be part of this campaign because I work very closely with teenagers, youngsters, athletes, and sportsman, where we see the aggression on the field. And I can educate them personally because that’s exactly how I’ve felt many times while we are actually teaching those people how you can be respectful. Because we all know that disrespectful behaviour leads to violence.
Recently I was playing backyard cricket with my niece and nephew. And they are so passionate about cricket, of course—we are Indian. And our younger sister said that she wanted to play cricket. And there was a funny laugh and my nephew said ‘girls can’t play cricket’. And that is where I said, ‘No,you can’t say that. And you have to apologise straight away.’
After he apologised I just had a friendly chat with him and I explained that you should not talk to your sister, or anyone like this because boys and girls are equal. And I think we need to respect equally and share the love.
Together we can create a future for our children free from disrespect, and ultimately, violence against women.
Staying silent can send a message to young people that disrespectful behaviour is okay. When we unmute ourselves and speak up we are setting the standard for what is and is not acceptable. And when we unmute ourselves, we empower others to do the same.
Text version of Harinder Kaur – Stop it at the Start campaign supporter
Hi I’m Harinder Kaur. I’m married from the last thirty-six years. I have got three children. I have co-founded an organisation called Harman Foundation. The main aim of Harman Foundation is to help those people who are in very extreme, tragic, vulnerable situations. I have chosen to be the voice of those people who don’t have a voice.It is time to now stop disrespect for women at the beginning.
I want to share a story about a conversation I had with my fifteen-year-old nephew. I was at his home when I overheard him speak to his mum in a way that caught my attention. And certainly, it was not his first time speaking to his mum like this. The words he used, and his tone, did not sit well with me. It was not easy for me to step into that space. But I knew I could not just stand by and let it happen.
Be a real role model. Show your love and respect with your actions. I always like the quote by Mother Teresa ‘we all may not be able to do great things, but we can do small things with love’. Which we are talking about here. Opening a conversation when you see disrespect. When you see any violence or disrespect. We need to address this there and then and have the courage to speak up.
This can be uncomfortable. Or this may be hard to converse with your children, but we need to do it. Nothing changes, if nothing changes. We can make a difference. We can come together and make a big impact and break through the cycle of violence and disrespect.
Text version of Maha Krayem Abdo OAM – Stop it at the Start campaign supporter
Peace be with you all. My name is Maha Abdo and I’m the CEO of Muslim Women Australia. I’m a mum of four children and a grandmother of thirteen children.I’ve been working with women and children and young people for now over thirty years in the space of homelessness and domestic violence. So I’ve had first-hand experience working with very vulnerable young people who I love and adore so much as they have so much to offer when given the opportunity and been trusted to be who they are as creators of their own journey.
So respect for me starts wholly from within deep inside your heart. That lives with you and that you pass on to young people by interacting with them, not by actually just compartmentalising it.
It comes in every part of what you do – how you work with them, how you talk with them. And most importantly it’s about connecting with them heart-to-heart.
My whole philosophy is making sure that young people from the early stages of life have safe spaces to be able to live with respect and learn respect from adults as they interact together so that living life amicably and learning about conflict and how you resolve conflict without violence. That is respect in itself. So how do we do that? We do that by role modelling, by being vulnerable, by being authentic, and being real. To say; ‘this is just not right, but this is how we do it. So let’s do it together’.
And I think together we are better. And we need to name, change, and never to shame.
Text version of Stop it at the Start – Advice on Respectful Relationships
Kiki: What advice would you give to me about being treated respectfully?Kristy: I guess as a young woman, and one day you’re gonna be in a relationship, I think sometimes women take on roles as peacemakers in families and keeping families together. I’d like you to know that it’s not okay for people to treat you poorly. And I think as women sometimes we give up, we sacrifice our dignity, sometimes, and self-respect to kind of please others or kind of keep the peace. And I don’t want you to have that situation in your life. I want you to stand strong and expect people to treat you with respect. Yeah. –
Kiki: Okay. Well done, high five.
Shane: Did you ever hear anyone say things like, don’t cry like a girl? If so, how did that make you feel?
Danny: Yeah, it was, yeah, don’t cry like a girl or you’re playing like a girl. Or it was, I suppose it was disrespecting women, but at the time, at your age, I didn’t think it was that way. I just felt that I was inadequate and I wasn’t good enough so… And how I dealt with it? Well, I probably didn’t say anything. I was just really quiet. I didn’t challenge or question anybody. I just dealt with it internally, which is probably not the best thing to do, but yeah.
Shane: How do you think it might make a girl feel when people say don’t cry like a girl?
Danny: They probably feel weakened. That they weren’t strong enough and.. If you cry like a girl that means that you aren’t good enough. So it would have been terrible for young girls to hear that.
Kristy: Felt really cheesy doing that pose.
Kiki: Me, too. Did you ever hear anyone say things like, “He just did it because he likes you,” or “It’s just boys being boys”? If so, how did it make you feel?
Kristy: I think I’ve actually said those things to you. I think sometimes, as parents, we hear other parents say those things, and kinda we learn how to be a parent from others and what we see from other people, too. So we’ve kinda learned that behaviours as parents in saying those things. So just so you know, that is not okay.
Kiki: So when I was young, I used to come up to you and say, “Oh, this boy’s been pulling my hair in class, “and “he’s been just pushing me around.” And then you’d be like, “Oh, he’s just doing that “because he likes you.”
Kiki: Or “He’s just doing that to get your attention.” But that’s not really the case, is it?
Kristy: Well, you know, parents don’t always get it right. We make mistakes, too. But it’s not okay for someone to do that to you. I guess I’d like to give you some skills or give you some words where if someone does that to you in class, or you see it’s happening to someone else, that you can feel confident to say, stop, that’s not okay to do that. You can be a better parent than what I’ve been around some of those things. And just creating better awareness around that disrespect happens to women and young girls. It’s so many different instances and different places. And we just have to be really aware of it. And we’ve gotta stop it now before it continues into another generation of other young girls who are getting their hair pulled in class.
Kiki: Well done.
Shane: Did you ever hear anyone say things like don’t cry like a girl? If so, how did that make you feel?
Danny: Yeah, it was don’t cry like a girl or you’re playing like a girl. Yeah, I suppose it was disrespecting women, but at the time, at your age, I didn’t think of it that way. I just felt that I was inadequate and I wasn’t good enough. And how I dealt with it, well, I probably didn’t say anything. I was just really quiet. I didn’t sort of challenge or question anybody. I just dealt with it internally, which is probably not the best thing to do, but yeah.
Shane: How do you think it might make a girl feel when people say don’t cry like a girl?
Danny: Oh, well, they probably feel weak and that they weren’t strong enough. If you cry like a girl, that means that you weren’t good enough, so it would’ve been terrible for young girls to hear that.
Danny: Have you ever heard anyone say man up?
Shane: Yes, I definitely have.
Danny: And how did that make you feel?
Shane: It made me feel sad, because how does not expressing your feelings make you a man? Why do you think that man up is such a bad expression to use?
Danny: Well, I suppose straight away it makes you feel like you’ve gotta show no emotions, you gotta be tough. For me, it’s about showing your emotions and it’s about owning it and making sure that if you do cry or something happens along those lines then that’s fine.
[Woman] That’s a wrap.
I believe as educators we cannot afford to be bystanders, and if we witness disrespect and other poor behaviour it’s our duty to call it out, and top stop making excuses such as ‘boys will be boys’.
If we can all start to self edit, I think perhaps we can all be much more respectful in what we say in the presence of others and to others. There are plenty of examples with the media where people have said things and laughed it off as ‘boys will be boys’ or ‘he didn’t mean it’ or ‘suck it up princess’. I did it myself the other day, and then I felt bad about it because I knew that was exactly what we’re trying to stop with this campaign. So just a little bit more respectful – that’s all we need to be.
My personal story is I was raised in a home of alcoholism and drug addiction and witnessed family violence at a young age and when I went into my teens I was in a relationship of family violence and a lot of drug and alcohol abuse. After that I went on another journey of recovery, had my own children, gone back to study education and trying to empower communities about family violence.
Hi, I’m Lani Brennan. My family is from Cunnumulla in Queensland and my mother’s Maori from New Zealand. I think this campaign’s really important for our people, due to we need empowerment in communities. We need to work a lot with prevention – I love prevention work – because the next generation – they’re going to be our leaders and our role models in community. I think particularly when it comes to Aboriginal communities, a lot of issues are raised because of men’s business, women’s business – and I truly believe in that – but as well I think we need to come together as men and women and children for prevention on all these issues that are in our communities
I believe in storytelling – listening to the elders, respecting elders, and as well bringing it back to country and to healing and kinship care and stuff – and a lot of our kids have lost that.
But I’ve taught my kids as well – cause I’ve got 6 daughters. Like I’ve taught them to don’t ever to let anyone put you down, and I try and teach them what’s degrading and not and what’s a positive, you know, relationship and what’s not. And they talk to their friends about that now so I can see that whole ripple effect that what we talk about at home they will take out into society for themselves – not just for themselves, but for their family, you know their friends and their community.
When someone’s been through so much trauma, you know – I used to think my trauma was going to reflect onto my kids and I never understood that while I was healing myself by talking – you know, no my kids are going to be OK if I can talk to them like that.
Respect to me, its everything. If you don’t respect yourself or respect another person, where are we ever going to be in the world. You know, and I think with this campaign, what it’s going to show really what it’s all about. And not just respecting another person – respecting your own self.
My name is Rishi Acharya. I came from Nepal 10 years ago. I’m an active member of the Nepalese community where every day I have to deal with domestic violence, family relationships, mental health and understanding issues related to gender.
I’m also the editor of a Nepalese newspaper which is published fortnightly, and it is a community-based media providing a platform to the community to share their news and views. We publish articles and news related to domestic violence, also encouraging readers to write on this topic to help create awareness on domestic violence.
I am also a proud ambassador of White Ribbon in Australia. I was borne and grew up in a society where social values and norms hugely influence domestic violence. For example, women are obligated to greet their and in-laws after walking up, and eating from the husband’s plate after they are done eating. I strive to prevent those attitudes and behaviours which allow men’s violence against women to occur.
I believe that the ‘Stop it at the Start’ campaign aims to raise awareness among adults and young kids about the role they can play to prevent violence against women. I’m involved in this campaign to encourage adults and young kids from a CALD background to take an active stance against violence in their family, community and network by having respectful conversations and promoting respectful relationships.
A woman is killed in Australia almost every week by a partner or ex-partner. These women are our mothers, our girlfriends, our wives, our daughters, our colleagues and our friends. How do we allow this to occur? CALD community members believe that only physical violence is domestic violence, however domestic violence can appear in the form of emotional, verbal, sexual and financial abuse.
It’s very important to engage and influence young people. We can do this by becoming a role model for them, whether it’s in school or at home. We need to create an environment where they can see respect between each other, and where there are no excuses for disrespectful behaviour.
If there was one message I’d like to give my community, it’s that we must speak out. If you do see disrespectful behaviour, don’t hesitate to call it out, and start having respectful conversations with adults and young people.