Below is a collection of inspiring video messages from prominent community members who are passionate about breaking the cycle of violence.
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.
It all adds up
A board game appears on screen. The first square says ‘wake up’ and the final square says ‘bed time’. In between, there are various squares that say ‘breakfast’, ‘lunch’, ‘home time’ and ‘dinner.
A young girl named Jill and a young boy named Jack appear. Words appear that say: As a community, we want to make sure our young people are both respectful and respected. We know violence against women is wrong, but we’re not always sure how to change things and, will individual actions make a difference?
A box appears on screen that says: Hint: Small moments of change can help break the cycle.
A ‘Start’ button appears, and is clicked.
We pan across the board game to a square during the day and a classroom scene is shown with a young girl sitting next to three boys. A clock shows it is 9:30am. Words on the screen say:
In English three boys sitting behind Jill are laughing and quietly joking together about her. One of the boys is pointing at Jill. The female teacher sees the situation and that Jill looks uncomfortable.
The teacher appears on screen and says, ‘Don’t worry, he’s probably just doing it because he likes you.’
We see Jill think, ‘It’s okay, I don’t want to make a big deal out of it.
Next to the clock, an empty row of blocks or ‘power bar’ is shown, and the first block turns orange.
The teacher appears again, and text on the screen says: Without even realising, we can play down disrespect or teach kids to tolerate it. Could we be teaching them disrespect?
A ‘choice’ game card appears on screen. It flips over and says: Congratulations! You’ve decided to reflect on the impact of what you say and do. Move forward 2.
Another block in the ‘power bar’ turns green.
We move two squares forward on the board, and see a coach and two students playing soccer. The clock shows it is 2:00pm Words on the screen say: During sports class, Jack kicks a soccer ball but it doesn’t go very far.
The male coach says to Jack, ‘Come on mate, don’t kick like a girl.’
We see Jack think, ‘Guess I need to toughen up a bit.’ Another female student thinks, ‘What? I thought I was good at this…’
Another block in the power bar turns orange.
The coach appears with text that reads: Gender stereotypes can be hurtful. But you can take the shortcut to change.
A ‘choice’ game card appears on screen. It flips over and says: Stereotypes rejected. You’re helping these kids reach their full potential and be who they truly are. You’re teaching them that disrespect is not a normal part of growing up. Good choice! Take the shortcut.
Another block in the ‘power bar’ turns green.
We move forward several squares on the board and see Jack and Jill sitting with their Dad. The clock shows it is 6:00pm.Text on the screen says: After school, Jack and Jill are watching a television show when their Dad walks into the room.
Dad says, ‘What are you watching? That won’t teach you how to be a real man.’
We see Jack think, ‘Real man?’
A block in the ‘power bar’ turns red.
Jill says, ‘What do you mean, Dad?’
A ‘choice’ game card appears on screen. It flips over and says: Even if it seems like a joke, our kids might interpret our words in ways we don’t intend. Thinking about our words and actions can make a difference. Move forward 2.
Another block in the ‘power bar’ turns green.
We move forward two squares on the game board and see Jill talking to her Mum. The clock shows it is 9:30pm. Text on the screen says: At home, Jill shows her Mum text messages that she’s received from a boy.
Jill says, ‘He keeps texting me, even though I asked him to stop.’ Mum replies, ‘Are you sure you didn’t give him the wrong idea? Just don’t sit near him and he won’t bother you.’
Jill thinks, ‘Maybe I did give him mixed messages.’
A block in the ‘power bar’ turns red.
Mum appears on screen with the text: Without realising it, we sometimes teach girls to tolerate or downplay disrespect.
A ‘choice’ game card appears on screen. It flips over and says: Start a conversation. Good choice! Opportunities like these are a great time to talk about respect. Move forward 3.
A final block in the ‘power bar’ turns green, and is now full.
We zoom out to the board game, and see we have reached bed time.
The power bar with green, orange and red squares appears on screen with the text: Small words and small moments, everyday, all add up – defining what our kids think is ‘normal’.
All squares in the power bar turn green, and text appears that says: Together, we can change what the next generation hears, sees and accepts. Stopping disrespect starts with a simple conversation. See the Conversation Guide and other resources at www.respect.gov.au
We asked Australians from different walks of life what advice would you give your younger self about respectful relationships?
Nicole Livingstone: I think what I’d tell 15 year old me about the respect between men and women is that it comes from both sides. It needs to be equal from a man to a woman, and a woman to a man.
Cam Nguyen: I think the saying ‘treat everyone as you would like to be treated’.
Jeremy Donovan: Don’t be afraid to treat people with love and respect.
Kate Jenkins: To have more boys as friends. I think I grew up in a world where you were friends with girls, and boys were the ones that you liked or didn’t like.
Elida Brereton: Be courteous and considerate and respectful of others.
Lani Brennan: I understood respect with it came to elders and older people, that I should respect them because that’s how I was raised. But for myself at a young age, I didn’t understand that a boy my age should’ve been respecting me too.
Kate Jenkins: I would also tell myself that relationships with boys are ones of equals.
Jeremy Donovan: Learning how to respect people, both men and women, you know, young boys and girls, is going to help you grow up to be a strong man.
Pallavi Sinha: The advice I’d give to 15 year old Pallavi is it is okay to stand up for yourself.
Nicole Livingstone: Don’t panic. Actually think about what it is that you want to say. Try to do it in a non-confrontational way if that’s possible, and then seek advice. There’s always people around you that will offer assistance, you just need to be brave enough to ask.
As adults, we all have a part to play in encouraging respectful attitudes.
We don’t need to have all the answers. We just need to know where to start.
Check out The Conversation Guide for tips at respect.gov.au
We asked Australians from different walks of life what comes to mind when they hear these common phrases.
He just did it because he likes you.
Nicole Livingstone: I think we’re all guilty of maybe saying that to boys and girls when they’re in primary school but it’s probably not setting the right scene for young women and young men.
Kate Jenkins: That sounds so weird to me. Why would someone who likes you be unkind?
Lani Brennan: You know, it’s not a normal reaction, it’s not a normal behaviour and that’s not what love it and that’s not respect.
Denis Walter: He probably did it because he likes you… Probably not.
Man up… Be a real man.
Jeremy Donovan: What is that? Manning up is actually being… You know, learning how to treat people respectfully.
Kate Jenkins: I get really concerned about men and the expectations of masculinity. And I think a ‘real man’ really needs to be understood in a positive way.
Nicole Livingstone: Man up. Um… It’s a bit of a bad phrase, isn’t it? Probably hear that being said to women as well. “Man up”. What does that even mean?
Denis Walter: Given the number of mental health problems that we have in society, it’s pretty hard to just say to someone, “man up”.
Kate Jenkins: It sounds like you’ve got to be tough, and that you’re not being good enough if you’re a man. And if you’re a woman, it’s like being a woman isn’t good enough.
Pallavi Sinha: We shouldn’t have stereotypes about what a boy is or what a girl is.
Lani Brennan: I see a man just the same as a woman: you know, loving, caring.
Don’t cry like a girl.
Elida Brereton: It’s very sad when crying is deemed to be a sign of weakness rather than of warmth and empathy.
Jeremy Donovan: It’s my most hated saying. You know, boys, every one of us – men, women – we were given tears, and we were given emotions, and so therefore we’re meant to use them.
Cam Nguyen: I don’t think that crying is anything shameful.
Elida Brereton: I always love it when I see people like Roger Federer having a cry when he wins, and a cry when he loses. And footballers weeping with joy; sometimes weeping with heartache.
Denis Walter: Men can be emotional the same as everybody else.
She was overreacting.
Lani Brennan: It’s the way that she’s expressing herself, that’s her emotions and that’s how she feels.
Denis Walter: How can you be overreacting to something that is just so total unacceptable no matter what the situation?
Pallavi Sinha: That’s not acceptable and it can make a girl feel responsible for something that she shouldn’t feel responsible for.
What was she wearing?
Nicole Livingstone: Excuses is what I hear in that. A woman should be able to wear whatever she wants to wear.
Kate Jenkins: There’s lots of stuff that blames victims for things that happen to them, and I think that starts when you’re very young.
Small talk makes a big difference. Together, we can have a positive influence on young people and set the standard for what’s acceptable, right from the start.
For more information and resources, visit respect.gov.au
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.
Growing up for me, I wasn’t with community. I was not fortunate to have community around me as a kid growing up, being sort of removed from family and removed from you know that really strong cultural identity, that especially the western Nyawaygi people that we have up in North Queensland. So I grew up largely down here in Sydney and growing up you know wasn’t easy. When I was about 11 years old. I started walking a pretty you know sort of dangerous path that sort of escalated really quickly.
When I travelled back to far Northern Queensland at 17 for the first time, to be with my grandfather, what I found was a very different narrative. I was submerged headfirst into culture, and I really felt myself rebuilt with great strength.
I think respectful relationships are the crux of everything. As a father, I tell my kids that as long as you have respect and manners, then that’s pretty much all that you need in life.
What I see is largely something that I really struggle with is when there can be a narrative or conversation around violence towards women, whether it’s belittling them, whether it’s sort of running commentary, often just dismiss it, or joke, you know. as if to say if we laugh about it, it’s going to go away quicker.
Unless we’re brave enough to have the conversation with the people we love the most, we’re not going to stop this. But what we can’t do is excuse it because they’re our friend.
The more men stand up together and start calling this out, the more people that are going to reach out for help.
But I think we have to be brave enough to actually say that violence doesn’t exist in our culture and we won’t tolerate it. It’s something that I don’t want to live and breathe in the next generation of our kids.
But if we’re not brave enough as adults to have the conversations with our kids well then it is just keep going to keep going on and on and it just doesn’t deserve a place in our houses because we need strong kids they carry our future and if we take the strength away from our kids then we have nothing left.
We have to stop the excuses from the very start.
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 Pallavi Sinha. I’m a lawyer, Notary Public and advocate in the area of family or domestic violence. Domestic or family violence is one of the most widespread human rights abuses and sadly, in Australia it continues to be an ongoing problem, with at least one women a week dying at the hands of her partner or her former partner. These statistics greatly sadden me and I’m very much devoted and dedicated to stopping this domestic or family violence and the sad statistics that are continuing.
This is an area I’ve been very passionate about so I’m very honoured and priveledged to be part of the campaign. I think it’s a very important campaign. Its message is critical. ‘Stop it at the Start’ is the way in which to address this problem, family and domestic violence, because that’s the way in which we can develop a preventative approach. If we are constantly reactive, then we are getting to the problem at the end.
It can happen from a young age that children then start to think that certain behaviours, certain attitudes, certain language is acceptable and it’s not. The research in this particular campaign reveals a lot about the attitudes in young children, which are quite startling. It’s important to make sure that we don’t just make excuses and say ‘that’s just something that kids say’, but we actually stop it at the start and call them out, and make them realise even from a young age that that’s not the right thing to say or do.
Let’s create a ripple effect. You are an important influencer in your CALD community – whether it’s in a school, in a university, in a workplace. There could be community associations you’re leading or community events that you’re attending. It’s very important that you spread this message of stopping it at the start, and that domestic and family violence is not acceptable.
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.