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Canberra cafes join This Is Not a 'Wife Beater' coffee cup campaign

First we had activism. Then came its lazier cousin, slacktivism. Now thanks to a new campaign placing casually sexist retorts on takeaway coffee cups, we have snacktivism.

From next Tuesday, your morning brew could come in a paper cup emblazoned with what its creators say is everyday language which minimises and condones violence against women.

More than 50 Canberra cafes will swap their ordinary takeaway cups for ones sloganed with refrains women commonly hear, like "why doesn't she just leave", "boys will be boys" or "it's just a joke".

"This language promotes victim blaming as it focuses on women's responses to violence, not the choice men make in using it," campaign co-ordinator and founder of advocacy organisation, This is Not a 'Wife Beater', Alisa Draskovic said.

The cup will also serve up a countering message, designed to make people rethink everyday sexism. 

"The issue of domestic violence is so complex and it's so easy to water it down and put the responsibility on the person who's experiencing the violence to modify their behaviour, to change what they're wearing, through our choice of language. It's much easier to do that than challenge and address the multitude of issues which enable violence against women to occur," Ms Draskovic said. 


Xpress Coffee on Akuna is one of the cafes which will use the cups from next Tuesday, which is also International Women's Day.

Barista Joelene Mifsud said the cups were a great conversation starter. 

"I'm all about jailbreaking gender binaries. Women are treated as second class citizens anyway, it's a little bit difficult to be a woman in a man's world and the amount of language and communication we use that puts women in a place of secondary status is kind of disgusting and needs to change," she said.

Alex Piris, who owns Ivy & the Fox and Fox & Bow, believes the message will break through to people it ordinarily wouldn't because of its unconventional vessel. 

"A lot of conversations happen around coffee. In our industry it's rare just to get a 'hi, how are you, flat white please', you really get to know people. From most conversations comes action and action speaks louder than words," he said.

The campaign will also raise funds for YWCA Canberra's respectful relationships programs.

YWCA Canberra executive director Frances Crimmins said the programs teach primary-aged children about respectful language and high school students about consent in intimate relationships.

She's calling on people who receive the cups to consider donating the cost of their coffee to the program or examine their own language when it comes to gendered violence.

"We're using International Women's Day to highlight even in Canberra, in a city where apparently we're the best paid women in Australia and have more access to education and training, when it comes to violence against women we still face significant hurdles  to improve violence against women and gender equality," Ms Crimmins said.

Ms Draskovic said the cups are purely an "entry point" for people to learn about the programs YMCA Canberra offers but also for them to reconsider how their own words normalise and even trivialise violence against women.

"The messages are really clear, they're really strong. They're backed by research that actually tells us how we speak about gendered violence shapes how we act and it's backed by a whole range of resources that people can access online and also the range of programs YWCA Canberra produces as well," she said.

The takeaway coffee cups will be available at participating cafes across Canberra until sold out.