One in three Australian men do not consider punching or hitting a partner as domestic violence, according to a recent Essential Research poll commissioned by White Ribbon that surveyed 1,074 people online.

The new poll spells out that a lot of work still needs to be done to improve how men see their actions, with violent actions like harassment, spying on and degrading women also being considered as not domestic violence. Here are some of the main findings that White Ribbon has made with men aged 18-34:

  • 42% do not consider punching or hitting to be domestic violence.
  • 44% do not consider non-consensual sexual activity to be domestic violence.
  • 54% do not consider harassment or spying through technology to be domestic violence.
  • 47% do not consider cutting their partner off from friends and support networks to be domestic violence.
  • 43% do not consider frightening, degrading or punishing a woman to be domestic violence.

You can read the full scope of findings by Essential Research below, which have not yet been published online.

Domestic Violence Stats

In summary, there are far too many men who are not educated enough on how to treat their partners with respect. With most of these statistics, it is implied that one in three men consider violence to be acceptable. By educating men at a young age, we won’t end up with pretty damning results like this.

This year, White Ribbon Day will land on Friday, November 20, and will be themed ‘Community by Community, Workplace by Workplace’.

Under this brand new framing of the day, which has aimed to raise awareness against DV since 1991, the White Ribbon team have already started to move towards mobilising communities within school and work environments to work together in eliminating the violence of men against women.

“There is a pervasive blindness to abusive behaviours among young men that is both troubling and dangerous,” says Brad Chilcott, Executive Director of White Ribbon Australia.

“Male violence against women is not an abstract tragedy that takes place outside our realm of experience. We must accept it for what it is: a crime that we witness, tolerate through silence, and even participate in throughout our lives.

“We need men to begin having these conversations with other men, to do the hard work of shifting what is accepted male behaviour and what is abuse. This culture must change if we are ever going to eliminate men’s violence against women.”

If the statistics are anything to go by, we still have a lot of work to do – but together we can make a difference.

Image: Getty Images / Andranik Hakobyan