Shining a spotlight on family violence

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In a bid to spread the message that violence against women is never OK, Women’s Health in the South East (WHISE) is working closely with the Southern Melbourne Integrated Family Violence Partnership (SMIFVP) to participate in this year’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign.

A global campaign dedicated to ending gender-based violence, 16 Days commences on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and concludes on 10 December, Human Rights Day.

“We are encouraging women to take the lead in this campaign which is about challenging the attitudes that allow violence to continue in our society, and calling on governments to respond to and prevent violence against women,” says Ms Sue Glasgow, CEO, WHISE.

The campaign raises awareness of the many issues that women face across the world. It commemorates a different issue on each of the 16 days, including the trafficking of women and girls on one day and women with a disability on another.    

“We are working on a number of initiatives to ensure that messaging related to the campaign reaches as many people as possible, particularly in the Southern Metropolitan Region,” says Ms Rachel Lennon, Health Promotion Manager, WHISE.

Building on the success of last year’s takeaway coffee cup campaign, the Partnership is again banding with local cafes in the region to provide customised coffee cups that will send strong messages to the community against gender inequality and family violence.

The coffee cups will display a number of messages, including: Why doesn’t she leave? Why doesn't he stop? Family Violence. No excuses.

“This is a way to help address cultural perceptions relating to issues such as victim-blaming, rigid gender roles and stereotypes which contribute to gender inequality.  Gender inequality is a key driver of violence against women and their children,” says Ms Lennon.

Brendan D'Amelio, co-owner of popular Dandenong café, Young Uncles, who was involved last year says he’s continuing to support such an important campaign through the café.

“It’s a cause that’s close to my heart. It’s something my family went through, so I’m really happy we’re spreading that message and getting it out to as many people as possible,” says Mr D’Amelio, who grew up in Noble Park.

Violence against women is a serious issue in Australia with one in three women experiencing physical violence at some point in their lifetime. 

“The rates of violence against women are unacceptable and it will take a whole of community approach to tackle this alarming issue.  This year alone, almost two women per week have been killed by a current or ex-partner,” says Ms Linda Watson, Coordinator, SMIFVP.

Supported by the State Government’s campaign, ‘Victoria Against Violence. Go orange’ the Partnership hopes to bring this issue to the forefront of people’s minds and into mainstream conversation.

“We know that this is just the start of a crucial conversation but at the very least, we are hoping to plant a seed with community members who may not already be a part of the discussion,” says Ms Watson.