Recognising the signs of violence against women

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Violence against women takes many forms. It can have a physical, sexual or psychological impact on victims. Women can and do die as a result of abuse.

November 25 is White Ribbon Day, recognising Australia's campaign to prevent men's violence against women.

Through education and prevention projects, the campaign highlights the positive role men can play, supporting them to stand up, speak out and act to stop men’s violence against women.

It is not always easy to identify if you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence or is in an abusive relationship. 

Physical abuse can start slowly and inconspicuously, for example with throwing an object or a slap, and worsen over time. Abusive relationships can move through a cycle of violence that includes periods of tension and calm, making it difficult for women to leave.

Verbal and emotional abuse may not leave physical scars but they can leave women feeling anxious, depressed and even suicidal. 

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Perpetrators use these types of abuse to take away a person’s independence, confidence and self-esteem so they can maintain power and control in the relationship. They may also prevent a woman from spending time with family and friends, effectively isolating her from her support networks.

Sexual abuse involves any form of forced or unwanted sexual activity. The perpetrator may use physical force, make threats or take advantage of a person unable to give consent. It mainly happens between people who know each other and can occur in the context of domestic violence.

Financial abuse can be subtle, with a man gradually taking control over bank accounts and financial transactions. Stalking is another form of abuse and, in Australia, it is a crime.

Visit the White Ribbon website to find contacts for domestic violence hotlines or counselling services. If you find yourself or someone you know in an emergency situation, call triple-0 immediately.

Spreading the White Ribbon Day message is as easy as attending, supporting or organising a White Ribbon event, or donating to White Ribbon so the organisation can continue its work. Join in the conversation by connecting with White Ribbon on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

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