Freo's View

WOMEN DESERVE AND DEMAND RESPECT

 

The Fremantle Network at the National Hotel last night debated the unacceptable high instances of sexual attacks on women in clubs, pubs and during music events.

Rebecca Snedden and Will MacDonald of Safer Venues WA spoke about the need to raise awareness, collaborate with venues, the alarming statistics of prevalence of harassment on women, and what kind of harassment it is and what causes it.

Safer Venues WA did an online survey in which 80% of female participants reported harassment, unsolicited sexual comments, verbal harassment, non consensual touching, and intimidation by men in venues in Perth and Fremantle.

Of the women who participated in the survey 42% had left a venue because of harassment, but most of them had not reported it to the venue management.

Steps are being taken to address this in venues with better staff and security staff training, signage in venues, that victims coming forward will be believed, better gender balance of security people, musicians calling out from stage to respect women, etc.

It is also important for other people to call out unacceptable behaviour. It just takes one to step between a woman who is harassed and the perpetrator and to take her away from him.

Community lawyer Kate Davis said that only 15% of sexual attacks are reported to police and from that only 10% make it to court. Australia has an incredibly low rate of convictions for sexual assault, to the point that it has become a concern for the United Nations.

Often women who have complained about sexual assault are character assassinated in court and hence most don’t bother to report the crime because of the humiliation they face.

Western Australia has the highest rate of domestic violence in Australia and it has been growing alarmingly I read a couple of weeks ago, which is a clear indication that far too many men do not respect women and don’t treat them as equals. That is not on.

Here my message to men who don’t know how to behave toward women:

It is not manly, macho or blokey to assault women physically or verbally. It’s what cowards do, and it is a criminal offence!

Women don’t ask for it because they are dressed sexy, and you have no reason whatsoever to believe that they dress up for you to touch them, attack them, or insult them.

When you buy a women a drink you don’t buy the right to her body.

To make absolutely sure there are no confusing messages, let the woman take the initiative. If she wants to get to know you better and more intimately she will let you know in no uncertain terms. But even when she kisses and cuddles you she might still not want to have sex with you, so chill, relax and treat her with respect!

Roel Loopers

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