Help raise money by having friends over to discuss how to prevent family violence.LIBBY PRICE July 17, 2014 3:00am
Supporters of White Ribbon fund raising for prevention of violence against women. Back row - Mick Gaine (community support worker), John O'Loughlin (Support worker Benalla Health), Robert Barber (General Manager Corporate and Community Benalla Rural City Council), Alan Marshal (Senior Constable Benalla Police), Mark Staley (Leading Senior Constable Benalla Police), Front row - Kyohei Fujiie (Home care Odyssey House), Robert Berry (Community member), Neil Stott (Director Community Health), Barbara Alexander (Benalla Mayor), Harry Verbaken (Family violence coordinator Benalla Police), Chris Thorne (Aboriginal Community Development Worker).
With just 10 days to go until White Ribbon Night, the Benalla Family Violence Prevention Network is encouraging more people to register to join the fundraising event on Friday, July 25 to support White Ribbon’s work to prevent violence against women and help drive social change. It’s a night at home with friends to show support for White Ribbon and raise awareness and funds.
White Ribbon ambassador, Benalla Family Violence Prevention Network chairman and Benalla Community Health director Neil Stott said the White Ribbon movement was really starting to make a difference in what he saw as a ‘man’ problem.
‘‘It’s particularly important we have a male providing a lead because men need to talk to men,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s often seen as a ‘woman’ problem — (for example) why didn’t she leave? — but family violence is about power and control .
Mr Stott is proud he now has 23 people involved in the group, with most of them turning up to every meeting; passionate people responding to a cause.
Since Benalla embraced White Ribbon International Day in 2009, the annual march has grown from about 45 people in the first year to last year’s huge success with more than 200 people gathering in the rose gardens to hear Angela Barker speak. She was left with brain damage after being severely beaten by her then boyfriend in the Benalla Botanic Gardens and left for dead when she was just 16 years old.
‘‘More than a decade after this brutal assault in Benalla, there was a whole generation of kids who’d never heard the story,’’ Mr Stott said.
‘‘She talked about how she just fundamentally failed to understand how he was manipulating her.’’
Benalla has the fourth highest rate of family violence per capita in Victoria, but Mr Stott believes that is due to a steep climb in reports to police.
‘‘We know the message is getting across, that women understand how they’re being manipulated in a relationship and feel empowered to report .
Mr Stott believes it’s not just changes to the law, but also the leadership shown within the community that can make a difference.
‘‘Police can’t solve the problem, hence we need a community-led response.’’
The majority of family violence is perpetrated by males aged from 16 to 28.
‘‘They’re growing up without leaders, without male role models, without fathers. There are no boundaries and they don’t know what’s right and wrong,’’ Mr Stott said.
‘‘Something has been lost. How do we get it back?’’
Mr Stott believes the first step is to hold men accountable and to focus on young men at risk who are starting to show violent behaviour.
‘‘It’s about early intervention. Saying to your mate, to your father, to your son, to your uncle, that you’re behaving badly to her and you need to stop and do something about it.
‘‘Collectively we as a community need to speak up, to challenge the behaviour — as silence equals consent.’’
Mr Stott is calling for volunteers to help prepare for this year’s White Ribbon Day which is on November 25 each year.
Shepparton’s Declo Bisimwa firmly believes education is the key to a better life.
Beautiful weather greeted Tungamah residents for the 18th running of the Tungamah Lions Ten Thousand on Sunday.
When Keith and Marion Grumley and their growing family moved to Tatura on January 18, 1968, little did they know that it would be the start of a long and lasting connection to the town.
Garners Boxing Gym in Echuca is encouraging young people to get active with weekly boxing/cardio classes.
Rochester Rotary Club has celebrated its 50th birthday in style.
Sorting future of Campaspe pools
A theatre production with a difference is coming to Seymour.
Local athletes will go head-to-head with some of the best competitors from around the world in swimming and athletics in December.
District residents and visitors will be able to enjoy some of the region’s most beautiful private gardens on Sunday.
The 116th annual Cobram Show went off with a bang at the weekend, drawing in crowds from far and wide for two days of fun.
Tomorrow is a Total Fire Ban day in Deniliquin, meaning no fires can be lit in the open and all fire permits are suspended.
Fifty new full-time jobs will be created at Tatura with a multimillion-dollar expansion of the abattoirs expected to be announced today.
Remembering Australian political giant Gough Whitlam who once called on Benalla police to stop then Treasurer Frank Crean on his journey up the Hume to phone the PM.
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