How to be an ac­tive by­stander

Alpine Observer - - Bright Hot Rods - By JUSTIN JENVEY

ALPINE Health will this month de­liver a se­ries of by­stander train­ing events across Alpine Shire’s three ma­jor town­ships as part of 16 days of ac­tivism to pre­vent vi­o­lence against women.

Alpine Health health pro­mo­tion of­fi­cer Lisa Neville, who will fa­cil­i­tate the ‘Coura­geous Con­ver­sa­tions’ ses­sions, said by­stander train­ing em­pow­ered peo­ple to take ac­tion and make a dif­fer­ence.

“We held the pro­gram ear­lier this year and had an ab­so­lutely amaz­ing re­sponse from the com­mu­nity,” she said.

“We want to change the cul­ture that makes vi­o­lence ac­cept­able in our com­mu­nity and as part of the ses­sions we’ll look at the at­ti­tudes and be­hav­iours that can pre­dict vi­o­lence, whether it’s against women or men, and look at the con­tin­uum for gen­der stereo­types.

“It’s about supporting peo­ple to have the tools to be able to take by­stander ac­tion and hope­fully they will walk away with re­ally tan­gi­ble ideas and re­sponses for dif­fer­ent set­tings and sce­nar­ios.”

Ms Neville said there were a num­ber of rea­sons why peo­ple were re­luc­tant to in­ter­vene when they saw or heard ac­tions that were vi­o­lent or dis­re­spect­ful.

“The big­gest rea­son peo­ple of­ten don’t get in­volved in these sit­u­a­tions is be­cause of the num­ber of peo­ple around,” she said.

“If there’s only one or two peo­ple around one per­son will gener- ally say some­thing but if you’re in a big­ger crowd peo­ple’s gen­eral think­ing is that some­one else will speak up.

“Peo­ple also don’t take ac­tion be­cause of the pos­si­ble reper­cus­sions of do­ing so.

“If they know the per­son they might feel it could ruin a friend­ship.

“What we aim to teach peo­ple is how to be a by­stander, what are ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tions to take in a safe way be­ing mind­ful of your own safety.

“If we make it more nor­mal for peo­ple to take ac­tion then the reper­cus­sions are less and less and it just be­comes nor­mal be­hav­iour.”

The ‘16 Days of Ac­tivism’ cam­paign starts on In­ter­na­tional Day for the Elim­i­na­tion of Vi­o­lence against Women on Novem­ber 25 and ends on De­cem­ber 10, In­ter­na­tional Hu­man Rights Day.

This year’s cam­paign aims to go be­yond aware­ness-rais­ing to fo­cus on at­ti­tu­di­nal and be­hav­iour change.

‘ Coura­geous Con­ver­sa­tions’ is open to com­mu­nity mem­bers, sport­ing clubs and work places.

Ses­sions will take place at Alpine Health’s of­fices in Myrtle­ford (Novem­ber 28), Bright (Novem­ber 29) and Mt Beauty (Novem­ber 30), with all ses­sions start­ing at 5.30pm.

To book a place go to www. eventbrite. com and search for ‘Alpine health events’.

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