– by Sophia Joyce
A new study has found that many young people in Australia blame the victims for domestic violence and more than half of them believe it is acceptable to track their partner electronically without consent.
VicHealth conducted a national survey with 16-24 year olds on violence against women and gender equality and found that three in five young people believe that violence is caused by men being unable to control their anger.
VicHealth chief executive Jerril Rechter says that the most disturbing find was that a quarter of respondents were prepared to ignore and justify violence in the home.
“Twenty per cent of young people believe that women often say no when they mean yes,” she said.
“And I would say the other part of the reports is concerning for us is that half of young people believe that it is acceptable to some degree to track their partner by electronic means without their consent.”
Electronic tracking includes checking their phone messages and contacts without their permission.
The study also found that the Australian youth has a low understanding that violence against women is more than just physical violence and forced sex, it includes mental and emotional abuse.
But a vast majority of the respondents do think that domestic violence is serious and illegal.Ms Rechter says she hopes the report will help change attitudes about domestic violence and gender equality.
A victim of domestic violence, Rebeca Carro speaks out and says she was in an abusive relationship for 10 years and had family members telling her not to leave.
“My mother basically told me ‘you stay there it was your fault’.”
Ms Carro says that the results of VicHealth’s study did not shock her.
“I’m not surprised at all, we actually live in a society that is quite prevalent in terms of domestic violence and attitudes towards women.”
Ms Carro was physically and mentally abused by her former partner, but she said the psychological abuse was the most devastating.
Sean also suffered domestic violence from his girlfriend and tells his story.
“If I refused her advances she would flip out – this was a regular occurrence – but one night after an argument she ran outside and I followed, and then she then hit me with her car.”
Sean still has trouble sleeping and walking due to his physical injuries.
Ms Carro and Sean both want other victims out there to know they are not alone.
“The scars you’re left with are for life and trying to get out is basically the hardest thing you can ever face,” said Ms Carro.
Domestic Violence Hotline: (08) 9223 1188
Women’s Domestic Violence Helpline: (08) 9223 1188 or Free call 1800 007 339
Men’s Domestic Violence Helpline: (08) 9223 1199 or Free call 1800 000 599
Photo Credits: Featured Image by ABC; Woman Image by ABC; Hand Image by Socialist Party Australia.