An im­por­tant con­ver­sa­tion

Benalla Ensign - - Front Page - By Si­mon Rup­pert

The an­nual Be­nalla White Rib­bon march to raise aware­ness of fam­ily vi­o­lence will take place on Novem­ber 22 at 11 am.

The march will see par­tic­i­pants walk from the Car­rier St round­about, down Bridge St, fin­ish­ing at the Botan­i­cal Gar­dens where a cer­e­mony will be held with guest speak­ers.

One of those speak­ers, Si­mone O’Brien spoke to the En­sign about why White Rib­bon was so im­por­tant.

‘‘I’m go­ing to be talk­ing about do­mes­tic vi­o­lence,’’ Ms O’Brien said.

‘‘I’m a sur­vivor my­self and I’m speak­ing on White Rib­bon Day as it’s an im­por­tant con­ver­sa­tion that we need to have in our com­mu­ni­ties.

‘‘I will speak on how your life can change in a mat­ter of 10 min­utes, which is what hap­pened to me.

‘‘My mes­sage is not just woman and kids as well.

‘‘If we talk about this in our com­mu­ni­ties we can start to make do­mes­tic vi­o­lence a thing of the past.’’

Hav­ing been in an abu­sive re­la­tion­ship Ms O’Brien man­aged to es­cape and made pos­i­tive changes in her life. Be­cause of this she is an im­por­tant ad­vo­cate for White Rib­bon who can speak from ex­pe­ri­ence.

‘‘When I was try­ing to get out of a for men but re­la­tion­ship it was dif­fi­cult,’’ Ms O’Brien said.

‘‘But I found out that we can speak up and we can be heard.

‘‘And White Rib­bon is about the whole of com­mu­nity do­ing what they can to make a pos­i­tive change.

‘‘Fam­ily vi­o­lence can hap­pen any­where, it can hap­pen next door, you just don’t know what’s go­ing on be­hind closed doors.

‘‘And kids see how their par­ents are act­ing and copy them as adults.’’

‘‘If a 16-year-old has seen do­mes­tic vi­o­lence in their own home, their whole life, it might be all they know.

‘‘But it’s not okay to hit women, and this type of thing needs to stop.

‘‘We need to ed­u­cate our kids be­fore they get to 16.

‘‘That is why it is great that the schools in Be­nalla take part in White Rib­bon.

‘‘We are teach­ing the kids that do­mes­tic vi­o­lence is wrong.’’

If you, or some­one you know is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing fam­ily vi­o­lence there is help avail­able. You can con­tact Re­spect Vic­to­ria at re­spectvic­to­ or call them on 03 9096 9501. Al­ter­na­tively you can con­tact the Vic­to­rian Gov­ern­ment Fam­ily Vi­o­lence Sup­port Ser­vice toll-free on 1800 015 188.

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