News & Events

From the Executive Officer – March 2020

March 12, 2020

There is no doubt that the start of 2020 has been tragic: nine women killed so far including the violent murders of Hannah Aaliyah, Laianah and Trey in Queensland; the bushfires which have left many homeless; and now the coronavirus.

Against this backdrop, we recently celebrated International Women’s Day. This year the theme is Generation Equality, a call to action to join forces across generations, to create a world where every girl and woman has equal opportunities to fulfil their full potential.

Generation Equality is precisely what our work is about: keeping women and children safe and supporting them in their own fresh start free from violence, in whatever shape or form that violence is.

#EachforEqual is about challenging gender inequality and disrespect. We must call out gender stereotypes whenever we see or hear them. We must challenge victim blaming and incorrect facts about what is violence against women. We must educate each other that family violence is more than black eyes, bruises and, worst case scenario, murder.

Family violence is power and control over a woman: power over whether a woman works or not, whether she can access the money she earns, whether she can go out by herself or with others, what she wears, eats, or drinks and this is all a form of coercive control. This violence may become physical abuse which may lead to the woman or child becoming yet another statistic.

This is the reality that many women and children face each day. In Australia, women are nearly three times more likely than men to experience violence from an intimate partner. More than one woman a week is killed by a current or former partner and around 95% of all victims of reported violence is committed by a male perpetrator.

We know about the fear and trauma that women and children carry with them when they share their stories with us in our housing and outreach services. We know how hard it is for them to pick up the pieces and to start again.

Each of our programs is about promoting independence and starting afresh, supporting women and their children as they work through their trauma. Whether that is through arts therapy, having a volunteer support them through magistrate court hearings, finding a new place to live, or a new school for their children, and time out to simply stop and breathe.

#EachforEqual

Paula Westhead

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