Why is it important to challenge derogatory language?
Gender based violence is a dauntingly huge problem and it can be hard to see how one person can make a positive difference. But we all have astounding power to prevent the factors that lead up to violence. Have you ever heard someone say ‘you run like a girl’, ‘man up’ or make a rape joke? Or seen sexist or homophobic behaviour and just ignored it?
Being a bystander in these situations is important as these behaviours are the building blocks of violence. No one becomes a perpetrator over-night, it is the result of years of sexism or stereotypes that are reinforced by others’ silence when we are bystanders. This is best exemplified by the pyramid of violence (see reverse page).
By calling out these jokes, we contribute to prevention at the bottom of the pyramid. By calling out these behaviours, we are standing up for victims and reinforcing that sexism and sexual assault are no laughing matters and have no place in our society.