Benalla's indigenous ambassador Chris Thorne is asking men to take a stand against domestic violence.November 14, 2012 5:11am
Benalla College students lead the way in Benalla's White Ribbon Day March Against Violence last year.
With White Ribbon Day gearing up in Benalla, an indigenous ambassador has thrown his support behind the cause and encouraged men to take a stand.
Chris Thorne said he knows how rampant family violence is in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities but despite that he is proud to be of that heritage.
‘‘Actions speak louder than words and we need to turn our efforts in positive things and get strong men together to take a stand,’’ Mr Thorne said.
‘‘I am very proud to be an Aboriginal man and I think we need to get these strong men together and say enough is enough and lead by example.’’
Chris will stand tall in the annual White Ribbon Day march and encourage those silenced by the issue to speak out.
‘‘We don’t want people standing behind us, we want them beside us,’’ he said.
According to Chris, this opportunity is invaluable and he thinks we need to look deeper.
‘‘We need to think about what causes this stuff — you don’t just wake up and decide to hit your wife or children,’’ he said.
‘‘It could be alcohol or drugs or a whole host of other things.’’
Community Health director Neil Stott said it was important to remember that when police statistics went up, it was not necessarily a sign of increased family violence.
‘‘It can just mean more people are reporting it,’’ Mr Stott said.
‘‘It’s a silent crime that is under-reported and we as a community are a constant to it,’’ he said.
‘‘We need to call it out, and as strong men say ‘no more’.’’
Mr Stott and Mr Thorne want women to be empowered and the community to address the power imbalance.
‘‘Behind family violence is power and it’s imbalanced — women need to know there are support services available to them, and men need to accept they may need help; that’s the first step,’’ Mr Stott said.
According to Mr Stott, strong men will put up their hands and help while weak men are ‘‘cowards’’.
A White Ribbon Day march will be held in Benalla on November 24 with merchandise on sale in town throughout the month.
If you are experiencing family violence, phone police on 5762
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