Spin and Sprint Cycle Club is an online community based club that promotes respect amongst its members.
As parents, and as influencers of young people, we want the best for kids. We want them to have positive experiences, healthy relationships and opportunities to learn. We want them to understand right and wrong. We want them to respect others, and respect themselves.
We do our best to set a good example, but sometimes, without meaning to, we might say things that excuse disrespectful behaviour in young people.
It’s important we understand the cycle of violence. Not all disrespect towards women results in violence. But all violence against women starts with disrespectful behaviour.
On average, one woman is killed every week at the hands of a current or former partner. One in three women has been a victim of physical or sexual violence, since the age of 15, from someone known to them. One in four young people are prepared to excuse violence from a partner.
This is a cycle of violence, which starts with disrespect. It starts with the attitudes and behaviours that are dismissed by adults.
Children form their beliefs from the world around them – what they hear, see and talk about. Sometimes, without meaning to, we ignore disrespectful behaviour, or prefer not to get involved.
What we often don’t realise is that our language can carry hidden meanings. The excuses we make can allow disrespect to grow. Research shows we teach boys this behaviour towards girls is ‘just what boys do.’ We teach girls to accept it, and tell them ‘It’s ok, he probably did it because he likes you’.
We may not realise how much our words shape young people’s view of the world. As they grow, children learn to accept our excuses. Gradually, boys and girls start to believe that disrespect is just a normal part of growing up.
By making excuses, we pass on our beliefs about men and women to the next generation. We are unintentionally part of the problem. But we can all be part of the solution.