Menu





OPEN LETTER CHALLENGE TO GIPPSLANDERS

May 14, 2024 | Latest News

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester has challenged Gippslanders to do more to end the violence against women and children in our community.

In an open letter to the community published in all local newspapers, Mr Chester said it was time for ‘real men’ to stand up and build a better culture of respect and responsibility.

“We can’t wait for more talkfests in Canberra; our challenge is for men across Gippsland to listen, believe, and stand alongside women as we find our own local solutions,” Mr Chester said.

“This isn’t a new issue, but I am hoping the media attention it is receiving today will lead to lasting changes that benefit all Australians.

“I have spoken many times in Parliament and at public events about the need to eliminate violence in our community, and I’m passionate about assisting in whatever way possible for the rest of my parliamentary career.

“Preventing violence against women should be above party politics, and I support efforts from all levels of government to work in partnership with our communities to keep women safe.

“It remains our enduring challenge to achieve equality and ensure all women can feel safe and secure as they go about their public lives and in their own homes.

“As men, we need to demonstrate our respect for the women in our lives on a daily basis and accept responsibility for the changes that need to occur.

“We continue to have a major problem with violence and sexual assault against women and children throughout the Australian community, and here in Victoria, the reported incidents have increased over the past decade.”

Mr Chester said he had decided to place the open letter in all local newspapers because it was an effective way to raise issues in the community.

“Despite the increase in other media platforms, our local newspapers are still an effective way to communicate with the community and raise issues of public interest,” he said.

“I read all the local newspapers to stay in touch with local issues and try to support the local businesses who advertise whenever I can.

Mr Chester has also thanked men and women who are already working to improve the situation in Gippsland and urged them to keep working together to fight the wave of violence against women and girls.

“I want to live in a community where girls and women are safe, and they are treated with respect in their homes and in public,” Mr Chester said.

“I also want to live in a community where boys and men have positive role models, understand their responsibilities and don’t seek to use their power to bully or harass women.

“I support a shared vision where all Gippslanders are safe, thriving, and living free of family violence.”

Dear Gippslanders,

It’s time for the ‘real men’ to stand up and help end the violence against women in our community.

We can’t wait for more talkfests in Canberra, our challenge is for men across Gippsland to listen, believe, and stand alongside women, as we find our own local solutions.

Thank you to the men who are already leading by example to support our female leaders who are making Gippsland an even better place to live. Please find the energy to keep working together to fight the wave of violence against women and girls.

We need to work together to build a culture where women are safe and treated equally, where they’re not objectified, and they’re not subjected to predatory behaviour, sexist jokes or remarks.

I know most men don’t commit violent acts, but the facts are alarming.

East Gippsland, Latrobe City and Wellington Shire are in the top 10 for the regions with the worst rates of family violence in Victoria. From the almost 6000 calls to Victoria Police for family violence assistance in Gippsland over the past 12 months, more than 70% were women seeking help.

In the overwhelming majority of cases, the perpetrator is known to the victim, and too many Australian women are being killed or injured at the hands of their intimate partner.

We have to do better across Gippsland. We can do better if we work together to build a culture of respect and personal responsibility.

I want to live in a community where girls and women are safe and they are treated with respect in their homes and in public.

I also want to live in a community where boys and men have positive role models, understand their responsibilities and don’t seek to use their power to bully or harass women.

I support a shared vision where all Gippslanders are safe, thriving, and living free of family violence.

And that’s why I believe we all need to have conversations with other men and boys about what’s acceptable behaviour, understanding the meaning of consent and pushing back on the violent porn industry, which gives young men a warped and contaminated perspective of respectful relationships.

As men, we need to have the courage to tell our sons, brothers and mates when they are being disrespectful or behaving inappropriately.

We need to build communities where girls don’t worry if they choose to exercise on an unlit path and know they will be listened to and receive support if they file a complaint, not be victim-shamed or made to feel guilty about their own behaviour, somehow contributing to the offence.

Some of the conversations we need to have as men across Gippsland may be extremely difficult and feel awkward but it’s vastly better than continuing the current trend.

Who knows, it might save a life if we explain how real men should behave?

Real men are respectful and take responsibility for their actions.

Real men can manage their temper and their emotions.

Real men don’t need to control the women in their lives.

Real men don’t stalk, bully, harass or intimidate their partners.

Real men don’t hit women.

Please tell your friends and family what a ‘real man’ looks like and have the difficult conversations.

I’m determined to keep working in partnership with our community to eliminate violence in Gippsland.

Yours sincerely,

DARREN CHESTER

Member for Gippsland

Help information:

Emergency: call 000 if you’re in danger and need immediate assistance.

For support with family violence issues, call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732), Men’s Referral Service 1300 766 491 or visit www.gippslandfamilyviolencealliance.com.au. 

Archived Content