Rape culture: why our community attitudes to sexual violence matter

Results from the National Community Attitudes Towards Violence Against Women (NCAS) 2013 Survey have been released today by VicHealth, and there is reason to be concerned about Australians’ attitudes to rape and violence. A surprising proportion of Australians endorse attitudes that minimise and trivialise rape. Many apportion blame to the victim while excusing the actions of perpetrators.

The findings reflect heightened concerns globally over the extent of rape culture – widely held societal norms and attitudes that condone, normalise or minimise sexual violence against women in our communities. Such attitudes play a key role in shaping the way that individuals, organisations and communities respond to sexual violence. The NCAS results show that Australia, like many other countries, has a real problem.

Read more at The Conversation…

Gender, culture and class collude in violence against women

Violence against women remains a significant issue globally and in Australian society. One in three women in Australia experience physical violence and almost one in five experience sexual violence in their lifetime. While victims of violence come from all walks of life, some women are disproportionately vulnerable.

For instance, younger women (18 to 24 years) have been foundto be at greater risk of both physical and sexual violence than women in older age groups.

Women with disabilities are particularly vulnerable to violence and abuse. This is especially so when the abuser is also a carer and can exercise control over the woman’s daily needs.

Much research has demonstrated that women from Indigenous backgrounds face a much higher risk of violence. They suffer more severe forms of abuse, including disproportionately high rates of homicide. They also face culturally specific barriers to seeking support.

It is unclear whether women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds experience greater risk of violence. Once violence has occurred, cultural and language barriers can make it more difficult to find assistance.

Read more at The Conversation…

Justice denied: the neglect of sexual assault victims with a disability

People with disabilities suffer higher rates of sexual assault than are seen in the broader community. They also suffer barriers to reporting which mean the available figures are likely to significantly under represent the true rate of abuse.

One study of sexual offences reported to Victoria Policerevealed that just over a quarter of victims had a disability. Of this group, 15.6% had a psychiatric disability or mental health issue and 5.9% had an intellectual disability. This is despite data indicating that adults with a psychiatric and/or intellectual disability represent just 5.2% and 3% of the Australian population.

Read more at The Conversation

Not just ‘safe sext’: Victorian parliamentary Law Reform Committee calls for change

“Sexting” (also known as “selfies” or “noodz”) refers to the sending of sexually explicit text and/or picture messages, often via mobile phone and increasingly via social media.

Of course, there is nothing “new” about taking sexual or intimate pictures. But mobile and online technologies have raised new concerns and new legal challenges. These are in part due to the ease of taking and widely distributing these images – sometimes without the consent of the individual pictured – and sometimes where that individual is aged under 18 years.

This is why the Victorian state government directed the parliamentary Law Reform Committee to conduct an inquiry into sexting. The final report of that inquiry was released on May 29.

Among the key recommendations are changes to outdated child pornography laws, (often used in response to underage sexting), as well as a new tribunal to address the harm that unauthorised sexual images cause to youth and adults alike.

To date, public debate – as well as legal and education-based responses to sexting – have been problematic in three key ways that the committee’s recommendations (if enacted) would start to address.

Read more at The Conversation…

Turf war: pick your side and get outside with Google’s Ingress

Don’t read technology blogs? Then a new innovation in massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMPORGs) may be passing you by.

Perhaps, like me, such games have never been of much interest to you. Or perhaps they haven’t been able to hold your sustained attention. So why should you care now?

Because, as I have discovered since playing Google’s new Android-only augmented reality (AR) game Ingress (launched earlier this month by invitation-only), you are already potentially interacting with its players as you go about your day.

Perhaps my fellow Ingress players and I have even bumped into you in the street because we were obsessively watching our smartphones instead of where we were walking (sorry, by the way).

Already, technology reviewers are commenting on the addictiveness of the game, and the huge data gathering and marketing potential that it promises.

But what I have found most compelling while playing Ingress around the streets of Melbourne is the level of real-world social interaction possible. This represents a significant shift in how we experience our relationships with technology and with each other.

Read more at The Conversation…

Speaking at ‘Forced: Knowing Violence, Taking Action’ on Monday…please come and show your support!

In support of UN Women Australia’s Spring Campaign Don’t be a Bystander: Say NO to Violence Against Women, Young UN Women Australia – Melbourne Committee invites you to a panel discussion on the full spectrum of violence within relationships and the importance of supportive community action.

Tickets will raise money for the UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women.

Time: 6pm

Where: Bella Union, Level 1, Trades Hall, corner of Victoria and Lygon Streets, Carlton South (enter off Lygon St)

Expert Panel:

Anastasia Powell, Lecturer in Sociology, La Trobe University

Roshan Bhandary, Program Manager, inTouch Inc. Multicultural Cantre Against Family Violence

Kelsey Hegarty, Chair of the Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria Governance Group, GP & Associate Professor in the Department of General Practice, Melbourne University

Tickets are available at www.bellaunion.com.au

Full price: $20; Concession and YUNWA members: $10

For further details please contact YUNWA Melbourne at: melbourneyouth@unwomen.org.au