Swearing for a good cause
Last night I attended the launch of National Swearing Day without realising it.
Attending functions as a politician can be a bit like an episode of “Thank God You’re Here”. You walk through the door and suddenly discover that you are giving a speech, cooking a meal, or throwing a first prize sash over a pumpkin.
So last night, instead of being at the launch of National Swearing Day, I thought I was attending a function for the White Ribbon Foundation. It’s an organisation headed up by Andrew O’Keefe which aims to prevent violence against women.
There are lots of other organisations which do fantastic work helping women who have experienced violence. White Ribbon is different. It aims to confront the madness which causes some men to believe that violence against women is somehow acceptable.
The statistics quoted last night are frightening. Almost one in five Australian women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetimes and almost one in three will be physically assaulted.
On average, 1,000 women are assaulted across Australia each day.
Part of prevention goes to finding the right role models: those who young men and boys admire and will listen to. In my part of Sydney there is no role model more significant than Hazem El Mazri. A genius of rugby league and a real community leader.
He was there last night showing a public commitment to the importance of this cause.
So how do you run a campaign to remind people that violence against women is always unacceptable?
This is why last night turned into the launch of National Swearing Day. On November 25 this year every man in Australia will be asked to swear. Not an expletive, but an oath, a commitment. This is it:
I swear never to commit violence against women, never to excuse violence against women, and never to remain silent about violence against women. This is my oath.
Those men who were at the launch last night were asked to commit to the oath. I swore it. The Prime Minister swore, the Shadow Treasurer swore. The commitment is already up online at www.myoath.com.au
By November 25 we should all try to swear.
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