V-Day in Australia
What started as a 1994 New York play about women’s sexuality and social stigma has morphed into a powerful campaign galvanising millions of people around the world. Founded by playwright, activist and author of The Vagina Monologues Eve Ensler, One Billion Rising is part of a greater global movement to create “a world where women live safely and freely”.
Each year, V-Day spotlights a particular group or specific issue – last year was the right for women to receive a fair wage – and this year it’s Solidarity to End Exploitation of Women.
Raising a respectful generation
To give our children the best chance to succeed in the world, parenting educator Dr Rosina McAlpine explains that we need to give them the skills to help them interact and communicate with others in a caring and respectful way.
In fact, Australia’s Stop it at the Start campaign tells us that we can help prevent disrespect from becoming violence by encouraging positive behaviours in boys and girls from a young age.
“This campaign is all about giving busy parents like you and me the resources to raise happy and healthy children, who will make a positive difference in the world,” Dr McAlpine writes on the respect.gov.au blog. “It doesn’t have to take a lot of time and can be part of your daily routine. Here are some examples:
- If your son is pulling his sister’s hair, instead of condoning it by saying ‘boys will be boys’ or ‘just don’t go near him’, intervene and help your son to develop care and empathy for his sister and learn respect. In this way you not only help your son, you also help your daughter understand that she should not tolerate disrespectful behaviour.
- If you suspect your teenage son is being disrespectful to others or you hear him making sexist jokes, instead of ignoring it in the hope that ‘they’ll work it out for themselves’ or brush it off as ‘just having fun’, start the conversation so you can help him become the loving man you want him to be
Effective parenting, Dr McAlpine goes on to explain, is all about having ongoing conversations with your children and providing consistent messages.
“In the same way that you continue to support your children to learn to read and write over many years of schooling, learning life skills takes time and effort,” she writes. “It’s important to continue to reinforce positive behaviour and consistently remind your children how to be respectful when you see negative behaviour. By the same token, parents need to model good behaviour consistently as well.”
The Commonwealth Government of Australia developed The Conversation Guide for parents who want to talk about respect with their children. It’s a really useful tool that helps parents prepare to discuss sensitive issues and offers advice for having open and honest discussions.
V-Day events in Australia
There are a number of official V-Day events planned for tomorrow, including Gosford, NSW; Perth, WA; and Mackay, Queensland. Also check out this official Facebook page for special events including a Sydney flash mob, and your local newspaper for last-minute listings in your area.