Below is a collection of inspiring video messages from prominent community members who are passionate about breaking the cycle of violence.
My name’s Jo Stanley. I’m a broadcaster, performer entrepreneur, and I have a beautiful daughter who’s 13 and she’s the greatest gift any person can receive.
Respect first and foremost is always about equality. It’s about treating everybody as completely equal to yourself, but I think it extends to kindness, consideration, listening to each other.
It’s not always easy to have conversations around respect. It can feel like a really adult complicated concept, but you can do it in ways that are really fun and interactive. And you know what? You’re not going to get it right every time. That’s okay. Give it a try, have another go. The next time it comes up.
The great thing about having conversations in passing is often you think they’re not hearing it. You think they haven’t actually absorbed it, and then it can be six months down the track where they’ll mirror something that you’ve just spoken about a long time ago and you go, “ah”, it is making sense and they kind of start to absorb and understand what you’re saying.
I’d encourage people to have a go and have a conversation with their kids about respect because this is about them having the best relationships possible because we know that’s the richness of life. We also know that when we don’t have healthy relationships we’re isolated, we’re lonely. It affects our mental health. So for me it’s absolutely critical that we do it as often and as early as we can so that it becomes habit, and it becomes natural to the way that we engage with each other.
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.
To me, respect is not just about the admiration of another person. It’s the core principle that everybody on this planet has equal rights and they need to be afforded equal rights by everybody else around them.
I think the conversations about respect should start the moment you can start having conversations with the child about, ‘what do you want for a breakfast?’
I would have conversations with respect with my daughter, it wasn’t in a particular place, just a quiet place where we can chat, but it was when. It was in a moment when she asked me a question or I could see a situation, or something that’s happening. I’d have them wherever I could. In the car, in the kitchen, it didn’t really matter the place as long as it’s quiet and private, I suppose, but it’s the when I think that’s important.
I think the more conversations that you have with the child about respect when they’re young, the less conversations you have to have as they get older. And there can just be these little moments where you can just sort of just shorthand, just points are there and go, “Whoa, that wasn’t great.” Because it’s become a core part of who they are as a respectful individual.
…One of the things about respect is it has to start with yourself. And I think as a parent, we all stumble. And if I look back and have any regrets, it’s about not being as respectful as I could… And so acting in a respectful manner to other people is perhaps the most important thing you can do as a parent.
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 is Adrian Richardson. I’m a chef. I’m also a restauranteur and I do a few things on TV, teaching people to cook but I’m also a parent of three teenage boys. And you can see, I still have all my hair.
Respect to me means caring, understanding, appreciating people for who they are and what they are. To me, it’s about treating people the way you want to be treated. That’s important. Just people are different. So, you know, if you’re respectful to them, you will just appreciate them for the way they are.
I’m a chef and I love cooking and I love cooking for my family, but you know what, having three young boys growing up, it wasn’t uncommon for me to cook something really nice and them to say, dad, that’s disgusting. That’s horrible. I hate it. It just kills me inside. But you know, over the years we’ve been able to change that discussion. Now we talk about the things they don’t like and the things they like about it, so it’s actually becomes a conversation about the meal. To me, that’s a respectful way of dealing with me and that’s what we try and have in the house.
My wife and I run the ship together. They see, my boys see my wife and I talking to each other, discussing things and there’s an affection and talking around the table, so my kids see this. So I think they’re starting to work out that that’s the normal way to deal with life, to deal with people. You know, I listen to her, she listens to me and that’s the right way to do it I think.
You know what, talking to kids is not a hard thing. It’s just something you’ve gotta do every day and it doesn’t have to be about respect all the time. It’s about being able to engage with the kids so that when the moment arises and you do need to have those important discussions, you can just drop them in when you want. It’s normal. It becomes part of life with the kids.
If you’re talking to them all the time, then when you need to talk to them about important things, they’re open, they’re listening and they understand.
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.
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.
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.