Superheroes of SRH

thumb_landing_page.jpg

What is Superheroes of Sexual and Reproductive Health?

This month, the Good Health Down South partnership, led by WHISE will showcase the superpowers of four passionate women who advocate for and work in sexual and reproductive health. Superheroes of Sexual and Reproductive Health is part of a larger social media campaign that Women's Health Services across Victoria will participate in.

Throughout the week, we will profile each of our superheroes as well as share important information and dispel myths about sexually transmitted infections, contraception, abortion, endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and other sexual health concerns.

The campaign marks two internationally significant days - World Contraception Day and International Safe Abortion Day and forms part of the Southern Metropolitan Region's Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy.

WHISE encourages the community to get behind this campaign by accessing the social media toolkit and start sharing and using the hashtags: #SuperheroesofSRH #SRHWeek2019

The partnership acknowledges the work of Women's Health East and Women's Health Victoria and thanks them for their generosity in sharing their work.

Meet the superheroes

thumbnail_superhero_bar.jpg

Meet our superheroes of sexual and reproductive health! They are health professionals who come from all walks of life but share a common passion for empowering women to have control over their sexual and reproductive health. Read more about how they fight for women's sexual health in the southeast:

JESS - Health Promotion Officer, WHISE

superheroes_final_jess_accordian.jpg

Why is Jess a champion of sexual and reproductive health?

Jess is a health promotion officer at Women’s Health in the South East who understands the value of empowering women to have control over their sexual and reproductive health. A large part of her role is to lead and coordinate the sexual and reproductive health regional strategy ‘Good Health Down South’. The strategy brings together experts from a variety of organisations in the southeast who share a passion for improving sexual and reproductive health. Jess also facilitates Sexual Lives & Respectful Relationships (SL&RR), a program that engages people with an intellectual disability in a conversation about how to navigate respectful sexual relationships.

What does Jess love most about her work?

The opportunity to work with like-minded people who are collaborative is an aspect of her role she really values. As Jess was growing up, the sexual health education she and so many others received was very limited. So for Jess, she’s excited about the shift that’s now taking place around conversations that normalise periods, pleasure, consent and respectful relationships.

The biggest sexual and reproductive health issues facing women in the southeast? 

Through her work, Jess believes that the difficulty in accessing sexual and reproductive health services, especially for women from migrant and refugee backgrounds, is a real barrier here and across Victoria.

Why do we need more superheroes like Jess?

While Victoria is one of the healthiest populations in the world, many of us experience poor sexual and reproductive health, which continues to rise despite being preventable! 

In Australia, over half of all pregnancies are unplanned, chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted infection, and 1 in 5 women have experienced sexual violence since the age of 15. While these figures are quite alarming we can combat these issues by looking at the underlying causes.

 

SARINA - Peer Educator, Sexual Lives and Respectful Relationships (Deakin)

superheroes_final_sarina_accordian.jpg

Why is Sarina a champion of sexual and reproductive health?

Sarina is a peer educator for Sexual Lives and Respectful Relationships (SL&RR), a program for people with intellectual disabilities that focuses on talking and learning about sexuality, relationship rights, sexual health, violence and abuse prevention, and respectful relationships.

Sarina has been involved with SL&RR for over a year, which has given her the opportunity to sharpen her superpowers. Sarina has made her mark as an advocate for young women with a disability, presenting at conferences and talking about her life as well as the innovative program. She is passionate about speaking out for other women who have little knowledge of sexual health, which is not uncommon for people with intellectual disabilities.

What does Sarina love most about her work?

Sarina takes much satisfaction in helping people as part of her work and going home at the end of the day feeling accomplished!

The biggest sexual and reproductive health issues facing women? 

There are simply not enough resources and places for women to go to if they want more information!

Why we need more superheroes like Sarina

It’s important that people with intellectual disabilities have the opportunity to have their say and to be heard. Through Sarina’s involvement with SL&RR, she has spoken to trainee doctors and sexuality researchers, expressing to them the significance of knowing rights about sexuality and relationships. Sarina also has the mindset of, ‘who is going to do it?’ – we’re confident that she will inspire more young women who can do what she does!

WUDAD - FARREP Worker, Monash Health

superheroes_final_wudad_accordian.jpg

Why is Wudad a champion of sexual and reproductive health?

Wudad is a female and reproductive rights education program (FARREP) worker based at Monash Health. Her superpower is helping other health professionals better understand harmful traditional practices such as female genital mutilation (FGM), a cultural practice affecting women and girls in communities across the southeast. Wudad raises awareness and educates the community with the end goal of stopping these harmful practices.

Her role can be seen as a bridge between the culturally and linguistically diverse community and the mainstream health services and community, which is an important one. 

What does Wudad love most about her work?

Social inclusion is the most rewarding part of Wudad’s work, which is all about connecting local communities and individuals in order to build and strengthen relationships so people feel included and valued. 

As part of her role, Wudad has helped the returned services man’s family from African background connect with the Dandenong RSL. Wudad initiated the first wreath laid by the migrant communities from African background on Anzac Day ceremony 2017 at the Pillars of Freedom on Clow Street. Wudad is also grateful to be able contribute her own migrant experience to the health system. 

The biggest sexual and reproductive health issues facing women

One of the biggest issues Wudad sees in her work is the lack of services and service promotion.  For example, Wudad has already identified the need for translated handouts at maternal and child health services in Oromo language. If we can remove barriers like this, women from refugee and migrant backgrounds will be better equipped to take control of their health.

Why we need more superheroes like Wudad

Wudad works with women from migrant and refugee backgrounds. When arriving in a new country, it can be extremely difficult to feel part of the community. Women often experience difficulty accessing services and isolation during resettlement. When working with communities and health services, there is a need for an inclusive approach – one that health professionals like Wudad are striving for to achieve. 

 

CATHY - Sexual & Reproductive Health Nurse Practitioner, Peninsula Health & Headspace Frankston

superheroes_final_cathy_accordian.jpg

Why is Cathy a champion of sexual and reproductive health?

Cathy is a Sexual & Reproductive Health Nurse Practitioner at Peninsula Health and Headspace, Frankston. Her mission is to ensure that women of all ages and backgrounds have options when it comes to their sexual health. Part of her role is to inform women about safe sex practices, STI screening, as well as contraceptive choice.

Cathy is proud to work at Peninsula Health. The organisation has received funding to develop a Sexual & Reproductive Health Hub, increasing the options available for women. She has received training to insert Implanon devices and IUD’s, which are effective forms of contraception that can often be misunderstood. 

What does Cathy love most about her work?

As an experienced nurse and midwife, Cathy decided to specialise in women’s health after having children, and just like any other superhero, she thrives on the different challenges that come with her job. 

In the clinic, she provides care for women requiring sexual health screening, contraception, cervical screening, menopause advice and pregnancy choices. 

The opportunity to work with people with disabilities, particularly young people with mental health issues, is one of the most rewarding aspects of her role.

The biggest sexual and reproductive health issues facing women in the region

Through her work, Cathy sees financial constraints and accessibility to services as the biggest barriers to sexual health. So many women in the southeast would benefit from the provision of low/no cost after hours services.

Why is Cathy’s work so important? 

Sexual and reproductive health is an aspect of an individual’s health which is often neglected for many different reasons including; time and financial constraints, lack of knowledge, and clinic availability (location and hours).

One of the main goals of the Peninsula Health Hub is to improve accessibility of services for women in the southeast, as well as making it more affordable. Cathy believes that the future looks bright – we just need to spread the word about these important issues, so change can happen.

Social Media Toolkit

The Good Health Down South partnership has compiled a social media toolkit for individuals and organisations looking to participate in Superheroes of Sexual and Reproductive Health. 

The toolkit includes downloadable images, captions and four superhero profiles that can be shared across the seven days. Links to video clips, relevant websites and resources have also been included to strengthen the messages. The captions can be used for Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and shortened for Twitter.