White Ribbon Australia is urging communities to get together to chat about how Australia can prevent men’s violence against women, and address the causes of this violence.
This weekend’s Cheese for Change campaign (28-31 March) is a time to catch up with friends over a cheese platter to have these conversations in loungerooms, work kitchens or community meeting points.
White Ribbon’s CEO, Delia Donovan, says while there is a lot of public discourse about domestic violence and abuse of women, everyone in the community should be focused on addressing what is behind gendered violence.
“In our busy lives it’s often difficult to see how one person can have a positive impact,” Ms Donovan said.
“But if we pause and get together with our friends, we can use these moments to reflect on the issues in our workplaces and communities. There is a lot we can do both individually and collectively.
“The solution to ending men’s violence against women is through behaviour and attitude change. Primary prevention programs like White Ribbon’s Breaking the Silence school program or the Workplace Accreditation Program, deliver significant change to individuals and the community’s attitudes and behaviours. These programs support frontline services and other necessary programs to address this critical issue in our society.
“Already this year, 141 women have been murdered. That is more than one woman a week. Still a large number of women are being assaulted, harassed and physically abused. This needs to end.”
White Ribbon supporter and domestic violence survivor, Vanessa says she wished she had confided in family and friends sooner asked for help.
“I was in an emotionally abusive and controlling relationship for years, and I’m lucky my family were able to help me. I know there are many women who don’t have that level of support,” she said.
“I feel it’s my responsibility to try to stop others going through what I went through and to raise the next generation of socially aware individuals.”
One in four women have experienced emotional abuse by a current or former partner since the age of 152 and one in five women have experienced sexual violence since the age of 153.
“I have been committed and diligent in raising my son to be respectful towards women, to treat them as equals and value who they are. And I am proud of the man he has turned into,” Vanessa continued.
“Meaningful change occurs when people have a moment to honestly talk about their experiences and get to the bottom of their belief systems. These honest conversations can help shift behaviours and address one of our greatest social challenges,” Ms Donovan added.
Cheese for Change is raising much needed funds for primary prevention programs, including White Ribbon’s Breaking the Silence schools’ program, White Ribbon Workplace Accreditation Program and in community programs.
To register an event, donate or find your local Cheese for Change event, visit https://www.whiteribbon.org.au/