Great Northern Football League takes a stand in its Men Against Violence round

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Reuben CarderGeraldton Guardian
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WACRH's Dane Waters, Chapman Valley FC president Grant Woodhams, WACRH’s Erin Middleton, Department of Sport regional officer Simon Barras, planning committee member Adam Dusty, GNFL’s Harry Taylor, Geraldton Sporting Aboriginal Corp’s Adrian Bartlett and WAFC’s Grady Tomelty.
Camera IconWACRH's Dane Waters, Chapman Valley FC president Grant Woodhams, WACRH’s Erin Middleton, Department of Sport regional officer Simon Barras, planning committee member Adam Dusty, GNFL’s Harry Taylor, Geraldton Sporting Aboriginal Corp’s Adrian Bartlett and WAFC’s Grady Tomelty. Credit: Supplied

Whether it’s demeaning “locker room talk” or causing physical harm, Geraldton’s football community is taking a stand this weekend that violence against and disrespect of women is never okay.

The advocacy role our sportspeople can play in this arena will be in the spotlight at the Great Northern Football League’s Men Against Violence round this weekend.

The GNFL will work together with local organisations signed part of the Community, Respect and Equality initiative to prevent family violence.

“As players, supporters and families, we take a stand against violence both on and off the field,” the GNFL said in a statement. “Violence is never OK, and it’s important to show respect when communicating with each other whilst playing sport, at work and when engaging in the wider community. This round is about engaging the community and encouraging conversations about the causes of family violence and ways to prevent it.

“These conversations should focus on encouraging respectful relationships between all members of the community, as well as discussions around challenging harmful stereotypes.”

WA Centre for Rural Health director Professor Sandra Thompson said given the importance of football to the community, engaging players, supporters and their families was an effective way to involve the community in conversations about family violence.

“Football is a popular family sport and is played by many individuals within our community,” she said.

“With all clubs involved this year, including the men, women and juniors, many conversations will be generated in the change rooms, at home and on the oval.”

She said “fantastic male role models” from sports clubs and the community would be working with players and supporters to talk about the importance of promoting behaviours that prevent violence, and cited research showing inequality and disrespect could impact the community if they were accepted in sports.

“If language that degrades women is justified as ‘just locker room talk’, it normalises disrespect of women off the field,” she said. “When aggression, intimidation, threats and violence are accepted as a way to resolve disputes on the field, we normalise emotional and physical violence in pubs, streets and homes.”

The round, now in its third year, is run as part of a collaboration between WACRH, the GNFL and Geraldton Sporting Aboriginal Corporation.

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