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North West Region Walks Against Violence
North West Region Leadership Team and District 02 staff along with Eaglehawk brigade members, turned out at the second Bendigo Walks Against Violence.
Well prepared for the TFB, members joined approximately 600 local residents, community groups and businesses at the Bendigo Town Hall to kick off the walk with powerful presentations by Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Tess Walsh and former Sydney Swans star turned violence prevention advocate, Luke Ablett.
Assistant Commissioner Walsh shocked the packed hall with incredible local statistics about violence against women, and Luke Ablett encouraged participants to challenge the gender stereotypes that foster the cultures that perpetuate this violence. His hard hitting presentation touched on the awkward truth that as a community, we need to look at our behaviours and attitudes in order to make a difference.
Ablett then led the White Ribbon pledge to stand up, speak out and act to prevent men’s violence against women before the crowd marched along Bendigo’s main streets. A call out to a local fire before the march started didn't deter Eaglehawk members who returned in time to welcome marchers back at the Town Hall.
'It's an honour to stand against violence and participate today,' said Eaglehawk Captain Hayden Allen. 'Each time we’re out on the road, the White Ribbon stickers on our trucks will let the community know we say no more,’ he said.
The 25th November also commemorates the launch of the NWR Violence Prevention Advisory Group (VPAG); a milestone not lost on CFA NWR Acting Chief Officer, Chris Eagle.
'Protecting life and property comes in many different forms. Whilst extinguishing fires is what we normally do, our members are part of the wider community’, Chris said. ‘We know that violence affects women disproportionately and the impacts are long-lasting. As a well-respected emergency service and community institution, our voice strengthens the messages about behaviours that can help stop this scourge in our communities’, he said.
Active observance of White Ribbon Day each year is one of the actions included in the five-year NWR Violence Prevention Advisory Group Action Plan. The group will reconvene in 2016 to review the plan and continue to work locally to spread messages about violence prevention and help develop cultures of non-violence across the region.
White Ribbon Day coincides with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and launches 16 days of activism, culminating on human rights day, the 10th December.
To learn more, click on the links below:
White Ribbon Day: http://www.whiteribbon.org.au/day
Violence Against Women – it’s a men’s issue: http://www.ted.com/talks/jackson_katz_violence_against_women_it_s_a_men_s_issue
Challenging Gender Norms: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjJQBjWYDTs