Resistance and backlash are expected as part of the change process.
The gendered analysis of violence is a direct challenge to the idea that our society is currently fair to all. As a result, there can be negative responses, or ‘backlash’, often from men, but also from women. People may ask questions or pose statements that are difficult to answer. Being prepared is important.
Framing the question
- Listen carefully to the question to fully understand.
- Based on the question asked, think about the assumptions the questioner has made and the beliefs they hold. These may be assumptions or beliefs about gender, or other social norms, such as sexuality or race.
- Ask yourself — what belief or assumptions do you want to shift? Bear in mind that this may be based on assumptions about gender, sexuality, race and/or social norms.
Responding to the question
- Always acknowledge their concern. Repeat or clarify the question to make sure you understand it.
- Separate the person from the belief. This depersonalises the issue and demonstrates you care about the questioner’s feelings.
- Highlight the benefits of addressing violence against women and gender equality to both men and women, by talking about gender equality as a human rights issue and anti-violence as a value that makes society better.
- Talk about the misinformation or myths by referencing the evidence.
Facts and framing
A reliable source of quick facts about violence against women
Quick facts from Our Watch that are a reliable and easy to access source of high-level statistics and evidence on violence against women in Australia.
- A guide to crafting communications that engage values
This guide looks at how communications about equality can engage particular values and, in doing so, can be more effective.
- A guide to speaking about violence against women with confidence
This resource by Women's Health West is designed to build people’s capacity to speak publicly about preventing men’s violence against women.
Strategies for backlash and resistance
- How leaders have dealt with challenges in their gender equality work
A report from Chief Executive Women on the challenges leaders have met in their work to progress gender equality.