In the wake of White Ribbon Day, men across the Illawarra have been summonsed: take action against domestic violence.
University of Wollongong researcher Kenton Bell has challenged men to support the campaign denouncing violence against women, but said all participants will need to be actively involved.
“I want every man to do this work,” he said.
“But once you agree to put on the Ribbon, you’ve got to get to work.
“You’ve got to work on yourself, you have to think about it and it needs to be part of who you are and what you do.”
These sentiments were echoed by hundreds of residents across the Illawarra who participated in the third annual White Ribbon Day Walk at Reddall Parade, Lake Illawarra.
Edmund Rice student Thomas Hogan was among those walking to raise awareness, and organised a cohort to participate from his school.
Mr Hogan said awareness is vital in preventing domestic violence.
“The Walk is such a good event to raise awareness about domestic violence, particularly because it happens so often,” he said.
“One in three women experience domestic violence in their life and that’s just a statistic we have learnt at school.
“If people stand up and speak out, people … will understand the importance of [prevention] and we can lower the chance of domestic violence.”
Fellow student Julian Cable said the White Ribbon Walk serves as an opportunity for young men to learn about the seriousness of the issue.
“This event will [make a difference] for young guys, especially with the representation we have today from Edmund Rice College,” he said.
“I think it really sets an example for the rest of the college considering it’s an all boys school. It really is a wake up call for young guys who may be oblivious to it, and it [sends] a message to all guys.”
With Illawarra Police reportedly dealing with more domestic violence incidents than any other major crime category, Superintendent Commander for Lake Illawarra Area Command Zoran Dzevlan said it is imperative men act out against violence.
“It’s important not only for the Illawarra and Australia, but for the entire world to make sure we prevent violence against women,” he said.
“I’m hoping events like the Walk opens [peoples] eyes up to how important it is to stand up, how important it is to be courageous enough to make a difference and how important it is to not be a coward and commit violence against women.”