R-E-S-P-E-C-T, needed for gender equality


REPORTS of family violence have escalated this year and Mornington Peninsula Shire’s new mayor says respect “is at the heart of the prevention of violence against women”.

“If we are serious about ending [it], then we must address gender inequality and disrespectful attitudes,” Cr Despi O’Connor said.

“Our council is committed to creating a violence-free community and we’re proud of the work we are doing to build gender equality on the peninsula.”

In the 2019–20 financial year 2211 family violence incidents were reported to police on the peninsula, up 17 per cent from the previous year.

The shire has for the first time a majority of women on the council, a female mayor and female deputy mayor “reflecting a shift in attitudes from our community”, Cr O’Connor said.

The shire is supporting the International 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence campaign to challenge violence against women and girls.

The campaign begins tomorrow (25 November), with the international Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and runs until 10 December: Human Rights Day.

This year’s theme of “Respect is…” adds a positive message aimed at supporting communities to have meaningful conversations, such as “What does respect mean to you and how do you practice it?”

To get involved:

Wear something orange, the colour designated by the United Nations for this cause. Bright and optimistic, orange represents a future free from violence against women and girls.

Tune in to Dreamhouse Theatre Company’s online performance of Darker, 7pm Wednesday 25 November;

Take a walk down High Street, Hastings. In place of the annual Western Port Taking a Stand Against Family Violence march, this year the Westernport Respectful Relationships Group will decorate trees with orange ribbons. The group has worked with young people to create four colouring-in sheets, giving parents and carers the opportunity to reflect and discuss with their little ones what respect means.

A gender equality library story time hosted on the shire’s Our Library Facebook is at 11am, Thursday 26 November: mornpen.vic.gov.au/16days

First published in the Southern Peninsula News – 24 November 2020


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