WHITE RIBBON DAY 25 November: Australia’s campaign to stop violence against women.
One woman is killed EVERY WEEK in Australia by a current or former partner.
ONE IN THREE women over the age of 15 report physical or sexual violence at some time in their lives.
And domestic and family violence is the major cause of homelessness for women and their children, and a recognised form of child abuse.
These facts alone are enough to make any decent human feel moved to do something to CHANGE these unfortunate facts of our nation’s life.
When you consider, too, that violence against women and their children costs the Australian economy $13.6 billion annually, a figure that is expected to rise to $15.6 billion within the decade (according to the KPMG 2009 Time For Action Report), it becomes clearer still, that responding to prevent male violence against women should be amongst the highest priorities for the nation.
GOOD MEN CARE.
White Ribbon is an organisation that works to prevent male violence against women. One of the greatest things about it is that it is a MALE-LED CAMPAIGN – because good men abhor such violence. Good men do not and will not sit on the sidelines while those they love are at risk of harm. They do not commit, excuse or remain silent about violence against women. Good men also recognize when they have been wrong in relation to violence against women, and commit themselves to reforming first themselves, then the world around them. White Ribbon believes in the capacity of the individual to change, and to encourage change in others.
White Ribbon in Australia is led by thousands of male Ambassadors who, through living the White Ribbon Oath, act as role models in their communities, promoting and embodying positive attitudes and behaviours towards women. They lead the campaign by effectively being the change they want to see, supporting a combination of awareness-raising campaigns, community events and primary prevention initiatives with schools, universities, workplaces and sporting bodies.
Through these, White Ribbon works to end the attitudes and behaviours which lead to violence against women. White Ribbon is Australia’s only national, male-led, violence prevention campaign. And women also support White Ribbon, through their roles as White Ribbon Champions.
WHITE RIBBON DAY.
The United Nations General Assembly declared November 25 the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, with the now-iconic white ribbon as its symbol, in 1999. So the 25 of November is White Ribbon Day – a day to raise awareness about male violence against women. All around this day, events are held Australia-wide, to do precisely that.
You can find out what these events are, and get involved yourself, by clicking HERE.
In Melbourne TODAY, 23 November 2012, the annual Walk Against Family Violence will take place at Melbourne Town Hall, from 2:30pm to 3:00pm. Support services, sports stars, celebrities, the Victoria Police, good citizens and Women with Disabilities Victoria (see below) will be taking part.
And earlier in the day, at 10:00am (and running until 2:00pm) White Ribbon Day Activities started in Fed Square, including the 1 MILLION STARS TO END VIOLENCE public art project, which was conceived and led by friend Maryann Talia Pau [Read more here]. You can find her near the main stage until festivities end, and participate in a community project all about peace and light. All welcome.
Congratulations to Women with Disabilities Victoria (WDV), whose Annual General Meeting and DVD Launch I attended yesterday afternoon. The organisation is entering a new era, with the retirement of stalwart Board Members (and truly great Women/disability activists/personal feminist icons): Margaret Stevens, Delia Portlock, Sharon Granek, and Margaret Bayly. Also retiring: Chair of the Board Tricia Malowney.
One of Tricia’s many accomplishments was successfully participating in lobbying for much needed amendments to Family Violence legislation in Victoria, related to people with disabilities and their carers. I had the privilege of accompanying her on one of her lobbying meetings years ago with a Member of Parliament in Parliament House, and it was an invaluable learning experience. The work these women do, behind the scenes, in public, in meetings, as advocates for the dignity of the most vulnerable women in our community, is just remarkable. I feel lucky to know and to have known them.
PLUS the educational film for medical practitioners to educate them on communicating effectively and respectfully with women who have disabilities turned out great! Congratulations to Sarah Barton of Fertile Films and all the women who participated in its production, from conception to birth – especially Lauren Hayes, now moving on to new pastures, who did a brilliant job of coordinating meetings and film shoots. My thanks to Keran Howe, as always, for letting me be involved in the project.
You can find out more about this organisation HERE.