In support of White Ribbon Day
Stopping Family Violence attended the Midland March That Matters on Thursday 23rd November 2018 at Juniper Gardens, Midland. Led by the WA Police Pipe Band, members of the public, and community and government services marched together side by side to end men’s violence towards women. The message being delivered was that domestic violence is a community issue and in order to combat this, we as a community need to end the silence around domestic violence by standing up and speaking out. This year marked the 5th year for this White Ribbon event in Midland, which received a fantastic turn out. Amongst the services that attended were the Midland Police, Centrecare, Rise Network, RSPCA WA, Midland Women’s Health Care, Indigo Junction, Relationship Australia WA, Women’s Law Centre WA, City of Swan, White Ribbon, Zonta House and many more.
After the march Di Ryder and Patsy Molloy from the White Ribbon Committee delivered a Welcome to Country and discussed the origins of White Ribbon Day. A number of dancers from year 7 – year 10 at Kiara College performed a native dance, Tapping sticks which is a cleansing dance, followed by berry picking and gathering potatoes.
Speakers on the day included Kevin Hanavan, Debbie Mason and Dawn McAleenan.
Kevin Hanavan, a registered psychologist from Relationships Australia WA has worked with young people at risk of social and psychological harm and their families and specialised in the area of family and domestic violence. Kevin spoke about what we can learn from the message of “Because of Her We Can” from NAIDOC week and honour the women who fought through the 80’s to give women and children a voice. Being an experienced facilitator in Men’s Behaviour Change Programs, Kevin highlighted how essential it is for a perpetrator to feel a sense of shame over the impacts of their abuse in order to begin the process of behaviour change, which can also act as a catalyst for change for other members of the group.
Debbie Mason the Service Development Co-ordinator for the Start Over Support, discussed the community initiative, outlining how it assists families in getting re-established in housing after leaving refuges or shelters. Debbie strongly believes that everyone one has the right to feel happy and secure in their own home, and suggested that Start Over Support had helped provide furniture to over 500 homes in the last year. Clients have suggested that the program has helped give them the strength to carry on with parenting whilst they address other emotional, legal and financial issues.
Dawn McAleenan a Program Manager for Youth at Rise presented on youth family and domestic violence and the Kira House Refuge for young women. Dawn provided some hard-hitting statistics highlighting approximately 35,000 youth aged between 12-25 living on the streets in Australia on any given night, with Family and Domestic Violence being one of the biggest drivers of homelessness. Dawn described how Kira House was born out of 16-year old clients’ journey of desperation, experiencing domestic violence but with no refuge or accommodation that could house a 16-year old. Dawn read an extremely emotive poem from a client who shared her difficult journey from homelessness to independent living, whilst battling with domestic violence and mental illness, and how the relationships she built with the workers at Kira House were instrumental in helping her rebuild her life.
It’s these positive experiences that drive this sector and the people in it to continue to do the amazing work that they do. It was a great day, with a great turn out and Stopping Family Violence were honoured to be there to support this event.
See below for some pictures of the day.