“WE need to speak about it more and we need to be really honest.”
For Our Watch CEO and Carlton board member Patty Kinnersly, the message behind Carlton Respects is more prevalent than ever before.
Speaking on Triple M prior to the Blues’ annual AFL Carlton Respects game, Kinnersly advocated for gender equality with Covid-19 restrictions making the issue of domestic violence more poignant than ever before.
“There’s a really awful stat in Australia that one woman on average dies every week at the hands of a partner or former partner, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg with many other women living in households where there’s other abuses,” Kinnersly said.
“We know that at the moment in lockdown, there are many women who are actually at home and the rates of violence have increased, the severity has increased and that’s why we know at Carlton we’ve got a role to play in supporting community attitudes.
“The footy club is really proud to pull up its orange socks on Sunday for the annual AFL Carlton Respects game, which is proudly presented by MC Labour.”
For Kinnersly, quelling the violence we’re seeing in Australian homes against women begins with a foundation of respect.
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With a schools program reaching 4,000 students annually, Carlton Respects seeks to instil respectful attitudes and dismantle harmful stereotypes applied to both men and women.
“That friendship group we talk about with men is a really important one where men do challenge each other, we absolutely know that’s hard,” she said.
“When there’s a group of blokes standing around and one tells a sexist joke, somebody has to be brave enough to say, ‘Hey mate, we don’t talk about women like that.’ Maybe it happened once and maybe it was okay, but it’s not now.
“We want to promote women’s independence, so we want to make sure that we actually value what’s happening when women in our workplaces or organisations are really good at what they do. Let’s make sure we promote them.”
For Kinnersly, the potential for change comes with starting a conversation among the entire Carlton community and beyond.
“We want our players, our staff, our sponsors, our members to all have a really strong thing about what they’re doing around respect for women in their own houses, in their sporting organisations, in their workplaces,” she said.
“But the other part of that is it’s really important if people are at risk that they do reach out for support, they do call 1800 RESPECT or they can even call the police if they think that they’re not safe.”