'We excuse unacceptable behaviour': Renewed calls for change in New Zealand's attitude towards violence

There are renewed calls for people to change their attitudes towards violence from an organisation at the frontline of trying to end violence against women. 

White Ribbon manager Rob McCann says people excuse unacceptable behaviour or look the other way.

"We are socialised to believe we should score girls, mimic pornography and treat women as conquests rather than human beings," McCann said in a statement.

He said this behaviour is "unhealthy" for both men and women.

"If there's one lesson we can learn from the memory of Grace Millane, it's that doing nothing is not acceptable."

McCann speaks about what people can do should they hear someone saying something disrespectful, or displaying unhealthy behaviours such as harassing women.

"There are a few things you can do to challenge the language or behaviour," he said.

"By doing nothing we are effectively condoning the behaviour.

"Having a courageous talk with your mates can not only save a life, it can prevent a whole range of behaviour from rape to casual sexism, undermining the attitudes that underpin violence towards women."

White Ribbon's advice - use the 'four D's'

  • Be direct - challenge them verbally 
  • Distract - get them to do something else
  • Delegate - talk to someone else about what is going on
  • Delay - it might not always feel safe to intervene or challenge at the time, depending on the situation, so you can ask them later about whether they realised their behaviour was harmful.


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