An important conversation
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 respectvictoria.vic.gov.au or call them on 03 9096 9501. Alternatively you can contact the Victorian Government Family Violence Support Service toll-free on 1800 015 188.