20 Mar, 2015 Last updated: 30 Mar, 2015

By Jerril Rechter, VicHealth CEO

VicHealth CEO Jerril Rechter

As the week draws to a close, another woman has tragically died in Victoria at the hands of a man.

In respect for Masa Vukotic's young life lost, we should each take time to reflect for a moment on the factors that frame our community's attitudes, our individual attitudes, and our actions, which contribute to a culture of violence against women.

This tragic murder should be a wake-up call for us all to work together to reject inequality and build a culture of respect. Addressing and preventing violence against women in our community means we have to challenge the sexism, stereotypes and discrimination that women experience every day.

It’s important to also remember that the majority of cases of violence against women are perpetrated by an intimate partner, not a stranger as in this tragic case. Unfortunately, VicHealth's National Community Attitudes towards Violence Against Women Survey, published late last year, revealed that since 1995 there has been a decrease in understanding in Australia that women are at greater risk of sexual assault by a person they know than by a stranger, despite evidence that a woman is three times more likely to be sexually assaulted by someone she knows.

We need to focus our efforts on the younger generation to teach them how to nurture equal, caring, and respectful partnerships throughout their lives.

All women deserve to be respected as men’s equals and to be safe. Sadly this is not the case for so many in Australia right now.

- Jerril