12 December 2014
As the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence draws to a close, local secondary school students present family violence service with the proceeds of their White Ribbon fundraising event.
On 25 November, 400 students from Victoria University Secondary College Deer Park Junior Campus attended a lunchtime assembly (organised by the students with Brimbank Youth Services, Good Shepherd Youth and Family Services) to hear, learn and participate in White Ribbon Day 2014.
Students and teachers purchased approximately 200 white ribbons and Good Shepherd Youth and Family staff and volunteers continued the fundraising with a BBQ lunch for students. Over $500 was raised which will be donated to Women’s Health West.
‘Violence against women is at epidemic proportions. One woman is killed in Australia by her male partner or ex-partner nearly every week,’ said Women’s Health West CEO, Dr Robyn Gregory.
‘Here in the west, family violence police referrals have increased by 286 per cent over the last four years, and that’s great because women feel that they’ll be heard when they report to police. But for violence against women to become a thing of the past we need to change the causes: gender inequality and rigid gender stereotypes.
‘White Ribbon campaigns like this are fantastic, first because we need the money to respond to women now, and second because we need to change society’s attitudes toward women and where better to start than in schools?
Christopher Lynch, White Ribbon Day ambassador and local Youth Services worker, introduced the day with the history of White Ribbon and how young people could actively and safely participate in the global campaign to eliminate violence against women.
White Ribbon ambassador and Hip-Hop artist, Mantra, performed his latest anti-violence single, Breaking Tradition, and spoke of music as a powerful tool to bring about change by raising awareness.
The rapper posed for ‘selfies’ with students who held statements such as, ‘We say no to violence against women and yes to gender equality’ to spread the message via social media.
Students also swore an oath never to commit, excuse or remain silent about violence against women and the statements will be on display over the 16 days of Activism Against Gender Violence (25 November – 10 December).