“The standard you walk past is the standard you accept.”

Posted by on Jul 21, 2014 in Unpublished, Writing | Comments Off on “The standard you walk past is the standard you accept.”

I’m sure, by now, many of you have seen this video of Australia’s army chief’s reaction to an, at the time, ongoing investigation regarding “17 military personnel, including high-ranking officers, [being] under investigation for allegedly creating and exchanging “explicit and profane” emails and images that were demeaning to women.” He doesn’t mince words or try to justify their behaviour – he categorically slams their actions. More importantly, in my opinion, he calls for everyone to take a stand and speak out.

The bystander issue goes beyond misogyny and sexual assault and harassment. It trickles all the way down to grade school bullying and intimidation. As long as we nuture a culture where those who stand up for their own rights or the rights of others are called tattle-tales and snitches, as long as we accept “kids will be kids”, “boys will be boys”, and “it was just a joke, honey, don’t take it so seriously” as valid excuses, no real progress can be made.

What we need in order to enact greater social reforms are more people of the exact same attitude as David Morrison. High ranking, prominent individuals who are willing to take a stand – reassuring those who have witnessed abuse or been victimized by it that they can step forward, and clearly and assertively telling the perpetrators and those who support them that their attitudes will not be tolerated in our modern society.

Let’s hope his stance is infectious.