Warriors’ mission to help Gulf women
FEMALE veterans will be working to empower women in a Gulf community in a new pilot program.
The all-female team of army veterans from the nonprofit Kapani Warriors arrived in Kowanyama on Thursday and will follow a program designed specifically to tackle issues faced by women in Cape York and Gulf indigenous communities.
“We have prepared Kowanyama with our earlier work but this will be a new program,” Kapani director Tim White said. “We have a strategy on how to tackle Kowanyama – this is the first time female veterans have worked in the communities.”
The Kapani Warriors have been a regular visitor to Cape communities since they were invited to Wujal Wujal in 2016 by council chief executive Eileen Deemal-Hall.
The three-month “anger inoculation program” run by Kapani – a course designed to reconnect the men in Wujal Wujal with their roles as protectors and get them work ready, reduced the rate of public nuisance crimes by 61 per cent. Family violence rates also fell considerably.
It is a pattern that Kapani has repeated in other towns.
“We were of the view that we would empower the men first. In a relationship where there is a risk of domestic violence, there is a risk if you empower the women first as the men may be inclined to challenge that,” Dr White said.
“We have to work with the men to increase their confidence and accept the women’s empowerment.”
The team of four includes two indigenous defence members, from Cairns and Doomadgee, and two veterans from Sydney.
“The team will face completely different challenges,” Dr White said.
“We have single mums, some with significant health issues, many of whom have gone through domestic violence.”