McDonald’s 2017 Masthead
RESPECT_feature

Insidious violence against women: Why tolerate it?

Jo Scard

When I was a child I remember calling my brother names and vice-versa.

My mum would tell me off, and tell me it wasn’t nice. I’d be sent to my room. Fast forward 30+ years and my 11 year old girl and 14 year old boy are doing exactly the same thing. They variously hate each other or accuse the other of being stupid. I tell them to be nice to each other, be kind.

‘Respect’ and the importance of respectful relationships form the basis of the current federal government campaign against domestic violence.

Advertisements feature a young boy and the take out message is that respect for women at any age, starting as a child, is the key to tackling domestic violence. And it makes perfect sense doesn’t it?

If we learn that it’s OK to bully our sisters or friends at home then we can bully girls at school or dismiss sexist or violent banter directed at women as jovial.

It’s an important campaign that would be even better backed up with face-to-face teaching in the classroom. Some schools have taken this on themselves. My son’s school has been speaking about it at assemblies and in the classroom.

I’m sure you can get where I’m heading here. Eddie McGuire.

His recent comments about sports journalist Caroline Wilson were bad. It took a week for it to take hold of public and social media debate, but grip debate it has.

Why? It’s pretty simple, isn’t? A leading businessperson and sports official shouldn’t be suggesting he wants to drown a woman in an ice bath. He was surrounded by a bunch of other sports figures when he said it and only one said he didn’t agree with the comments.

McGuire has apologised to Caroline Wilson and the public three times, but debate rages on. The AFL and McGuire’s own club Collingwood have chastised him but have taken no formal action. It’s not the first time that McGuire has made disparaging remarks about women; he’s done it radio, on TV, in public and in private – the man has form – and the Channel Nine Footy Show backs this sort of banter up (in my view it should be taken off the air and replaced with another cooking or singing show but that’s my personal view).

The reason we’re angry about it? Well people – men, women, politicians, children – have begun to get it. We need to call out this sort of behaviour for what it is, make sure it is acknowledged, take action where appropriate, and keep discussing it with our families.

Then we might start to make sure that when Eddie McGuire next says something that’s just not acceptable, everyone around him tells him so.

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Jo Scard

With over 20 years' experience in communications, political advisory roles and journalism, Jo Scard is one of Australia’s leading advisers to corporates, Not-For-Profits, organisations and government. Managing Director of communications agency, Fifty Acres which is HQ'd in Canberra, Jo is a respected former political journalist in the UK and Australia working with ITV, Associated Press, Seven Network, SBS, ABC and Fairfax. A former senior adviser to the Rudd and Gillard governments and a trained lawyer she is on the Boards of the Australian Women Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Hockey ACT and a Member of the NSW Council of the Public Relations Institute of Australia. Jo is an Ambassador for the global entrepreneur magazine Renegade Collective and a member of the Registered Consultancies Group of the Public Relations Institute of Australia. She has spent over a decade advising corporates and Not-For-Profits at CEO and board level across strategic communications, government relations and public relations and co-authored the best-selling book The Working Mother’s Survival Guide with Seven’s Melissa Doyle. More about the Author

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