Statement: Bondi attack

Australia, we have a problem. A men’s problem, with women.

It appears to be an unavoidable fact that the stabbing attacks at Bondi Junction last Saturday were carried out by a man who was targeting women.

28 women have now been murdered, most by a man known to them, in the 15 weeks since January 1. Three of those women were in Ballarat alone.

Five of the six people murdered at Bondi Junction were women, and most of the people being treated in hospital are women.

We cannot continue to avoid the national emergency that this is.

And women cannot carry the responsibility for it anymore.

Women cannot protect themselves from murder by men. Only men can stop this.

Mental illness should not provide cover for violence against women. It should, however, provoke us to tackle what is underlying it.

Because misogyny is ideological, and a wave of terror is affecting our nation, much of it behind closed doors.

We need to do more to change the culture among men and boys.

Not all men disrespect women and not all disrespect towards women results in violence.

But all violence against women starts with disrespectful behaviour.

And until every man across the country recognises the role they can play in changing the culture of disrespect, in ceasing to be a bystander, this will not end.

I urge the government to increase its level of commitment and funding to reflect the scale of the violence against women in this country.

It’s about prevention.

As it stands, we are missing crucial opportunities to intervene earlier.

We need more funding for violence-prevention, and as the Brittany Higgins case proves, for across-the-board consent programs for young men and boys.

Only a saturation approach across schools, businesses and communities will fix this crisis.

As the Chair of Respect Victoria Kate Fitz-Gibbon says:

“A sustained and long-term commitment to working with young men and boys, and to tackling the underlying drivers of violence against women, is essential. It will save lives and change the trajectory of the lives of boys and men.”

Boys need to be taught the difference between healthy masculinity and toxic masculinity.

Two women per week have now been killed since the beginning of the year.

Which mother, daughter, sister, or two, will be killed next week?

Enough is enough.

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