White Ribbon Day 2013
Anj detailed all the warning signs that were in front of her that she didn’t understand or she ignored before she was
About 220 people took to Bridge St onTuesday 26th November to make a public stand against family violence.
FCJ College staff and students, Benalla Soroptomists, Benalla police, Benalla Rural City Council staff, Benalla Health staff and Winton Wetlands project team were among those present at the White Ribbon Day event.
‘‘I think it was a terrific turnout, it showed that the community have got right behind the concept of White Ribbon Day,’’ Benalla Health Community Health director and Chair of the Benalla Family Violence Prevention Network Neil Stott said.
‘‘It was really pleasing that we had 120 students from FCJ College there and they embraced this as a true community social justice issue that they need to understand and get behind. There was a wide range of people from various backgrounds and I think that the fact that there were a large number of men there shows that men understand the issue is a man problem and men need to stand up and demonstrate leadership from this issue.’’
All who attended were asked to make a public declaration of the oath against family violence, and were given an opportunity to sign a written oath and to discuss becoming an ambassador against family violence.
Former Benalla resident Anj Barker was a guest speaker at the event, and spoke openly of her experience with domestic violence. (See link for access to the Video of her speech)
In 2002 Ms Barker was 16 years old and was beaten to near death by her ex-boyfriend.
She was left with a severe brain injury that she would never completely recover from.
She spent three years in hospital, rehabilitation and a nursing home before being able to return home requiring full-time care.
‘‘I think Anj’s speech was really sobering,’’ Mr Stott said.
‘‘Especially to the students there who had never heard the story before, it really brought home to them the importance of understanding about respect and what good relationships look like and what bad relationships look like.
‘‘Anj detailed all the warning signs that were in front of her that she didn’t understand or she ignored before she was assaulted.’’
Mr Stott said the next step would be to get local businesses and community groups engaged as White Ribbon Day supporters, to actively promote respectful relationships and advocate against family violence.
(Courtesy of the Benalla Ensign 3rd December, 2013)