The police force in Victoria, Australia took centre stage in a local shopping mall recently to draw light on the issue of regional domestic violence towards women.

Led by the Victoria Police Chief Commissioner, Ken Lay, the audience was encouraged to take a pledge to stamp out this form of violence in collaboration with White Ribbon, Australia’s only national male-led campaign. The initiative has highlighted some statistics which should shock the Australian public:

  • One woman per week is murdered by a partner or ex-partner
  • 60,000 reports of family violence were reported last year
  • 2 out of 5 of those people reported that it had been going on for two years or more

Before the commissioner had an opportunity to proclaim the ‘Oath’ the stage was ambushed by the No Bystanders Flashmob. The shopping mall rocked out as dancers came out from a large crowd of local shoppers. As the music faded, Lay said, “Now ladies and gentleman, I think I have your attention.”

Although the lighthearted spin on the issue has made this video a top ranking social media hit in Australia, the hard hitting message has deemed it a somewhat “unsharable” link. Why? Perhaps because problems such as domestic violence can be seen as a personal issue, family business — very rarely is it entertained in conversation either inside or outside the home. The White Ribbon campaign aims to tackle this mindset by encouraging a community-led initiative that supports those who face violence in the home.

The Victoria police issued this statement:

“Prevention through education, community engagement and early intervention are fundamental to ensure long lasting change across the community.”

There has been significant backlash from the public, however. Individuals are calling for heightened resources and an acknowledgement that men too suffer violence in the home. Domestic violence should not be tolerated regardless of the gender.