A young Latrobe Valley dad is calling on Australian men to change rape culture, starting with their language.
Jakson Elfring, from Hazelwood, south-east of Melbourne, posted a video on social media telling men to have more respect for women, after he and his partner noticed a string of sexual assaults being reported on the news.
“I thought about it for a couple of hours,” Mr Elfring said.
“This is something I should actually talk about to try and make a change.”
A diesel mechanic in the forestry industry, Mr Elfring said he often pulled up his colleagues and mates for using sexist language or for making inappropriate comments.
“It’s not just about having a laugh. There are a lot of people that probably are affected by it that don’t feel they have a voice and can’t say something,” he said.
“It’s up to everyone to start making this change.”
Video pulls no punches
In his Facebook video, which has been shared thousands of times, Mr Elfring draws the link between language used in society and the culture that contributes to violence against women.
“The rape culture here in Australia is shocking,” he says.
“It starts with a joke at work or it could be a text message, or something you tag your mate in on Facebook.”
Becoming emotional in the video, Mr Elfring said he believes respect for women starts at home.
“Have respect for your mum, that’s a good start,” he said.
“If you have respect for your mum, you are guaranteed a lifetime of constant support and unconditional love, you really are.”
He goes on to bluntly say men need to understand sexual consent.
“Three of the easiest words you can live by: No means no. That’s not hard to understand,” Mr Elfring said.
“If you can’t live by that, there’s something wrong with you.”
Hopes video will help create change
Mr Elfring has received a huge outpouring of support on Facebook.
“It’s been good, but I think a lot of people appreciate it too,” he said.
“I’ve had a lot of messages from people, women in particular, just to say thanks.”
He told ABC Radio while he was surprised the video had gained such huge traction, he hoped it would help to make change, and he would now focus on raising his two young sons to be respectful.
“If me and my partner set our boys up properly, growing up to have the life skills and the respect to be able to conduct themselves, if we can teach our boys that then we’ve done a pretty good job,” Mr Elfring said.
“All I can say to young blokes like myself — and this probably sounds a little bit silly — at home we have a lot of Dr Seuss books and one of the Dr Seuss quotes is ‘So open your mouth lad, for every voice counts’.”