More than just 16 Days of Activism

Connect Health & Community is supporting ‘16 Days of Activism,’ a global campaign to raise the awareness of the impact of violence, particularly on women.

Connect Health & Community CEO, Amanda Murphy, said the campaign starts on 25 November, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and concludes on 10 December, Human Rights Day.

“These dates were chosen in order to symbolically link violence against women with human rights issues. Throughout the 16 days, Connect Health & Community will be working with our staff, local businesses and the community to raise awareness of the issues of violence against women, and what we as a community can do. But the messages from 16 Days of Activism need to be more than something we do until 10 December, they need to be habits for life – that can save lives,” Ms Murphy said.

Ms Murphy said family violence affects women of all ages, from young people to older members of the community in the form of elder abuse. The campaign promotes the message, “Respect starts with me,” encouraging people not to accept the sexism, gender-based discrimination and inequality visible in our daily lives.

“Violence against women is now recognised to be a serious and widespread problem in Australia, with enormous individual and community impacts and social costs. However this significant social problem is also ultimately preventable,” Ms Murphy said.

“Preventing family violence is a priority in our mission to create ‘healthy people, healthy communities’. We have been partnering with other community groups and businesses during 16 Days of Activism for many years and are confident we can make a difference to improve the lives of many in our community.”

Ms Murphy said one of the initiatives of the campaign will be to provide cafes in our area compostable coffee cups, posters, cards and stickers developed by WHISE (Women’s Health in the South East) aimed at starting the vital discussion around why we need to challenge disrespect towards women and how it links to gender-based violence.

Ms Murphy said cafes were chosen as the platform for the messaging as they play an important community role of bringing people together.

“We hope that this will start a very important discussion around why we need to challenge disrespect towards women and how it links to gender-based violence. This year our messages are focussed on bystander action - actions individuals can safely take to call out disrespect when they see it. Connect Health & Community will be promoting these simple tips through social media and on our website www.connecthealth.org.au.” Ms Murphy said.

Among the tips is to encourage members of the community to engage with Connect Health & Community on social media using the tags #RespectStartsWithMe and #Callitout to encourage a broader community discussion.

Tips will be posted each of the 16 days on Connect Health & Community’s Facebook account.

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au.

“The 16 days of Activism encourages the community to challenge:

  • The condoning of violence against women.
  • Men’s control of decision-making and limits to women’s independence in public and private life.
  • Stereotyped constructions of masculinity and femininity.
  • Disrespect towards women, and male peer relationships that emphasise aggression,” Ms Murphy said.

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