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Violence against women in Australia is driven by gender inequality. 

Graphic of an iceberg showing violence against women above water and the drivers of violence against women below the surface.
Gender inequality is what lies below the surface driving violence against women. Image adapted from Gippsland Women's Health.

The drivers of violence against women

Research tells us there are four main drivers of violence against women:  

  1. Condoning of violence against women – Attitudes, words that trivialise, make light of or justify violence against women allow people to think that violence is acceptable or excusable.  
  2. Men’s control of decision making and limits to women’s independence – When men control decisions and resources in the home, workplace or community they have an opportunity to abuse power, while women have less power to stop it, call it out or leave.  
  3. Rigid gender roles and stereotypes about masculinity and femininity – Strict ideas about women and men’s roles, identities and relationships can contribute to a culture that supports violence. When male dominance is normalised, violence can be used to ‘punish’ women who don’t conform to expected roles.  
  4. Men disrespecting women to bond with other men – When aggression and disrespecting women are seen as natural parts of being ‘one of the boys’, it is more likely violence against women will be excused – by the perpetrator, their peers and the wider community. 

Next step

The role of discrimination