There’s a new ribbon on people’s collars, but do you know what it means?
White Ribbon Day is an international campaign to raise awareness about domestic violence, with community events happening throughout the country.
Local Zonta members will be out on the streets for White Ribbon tomorrow morning, handing out balloons with anti-violence messages.
“We will putting up balloons around the streets of Roma with the statements on them with ‘Say No To Violence’ and ‘Zonta Says No’, along with some Chuppa Chups and mini T-shirts. We will finish at the court house. Tuesday is court day in Roma and we will leave the statements there for those attending court,” says Elizabeth Childs of the Roma Zonta Club.
As the only male-led violence prevention campaign in Australia, White Ribbon aims to make women’s safety a men’s issue by raising awareness about the reality of domestic violence and how it can be prevented.
Local policewoman, Rochelle Gillett, says that domestic violence is a problem that faces many communities in Queensland.
“There has been quite a few cases this year that females have lost their lives to domestic violence, and there has been males as well,” she says.
Teaming up with personal trainers from Maranoa PCYC, Ms Gillett runs a women’s domestic violence support program that gives a glimmer of hope to women who are current and past victims of gender-based violence.
RUBY stands for Rise Up and Be Yourself, a program that is connecting women through survivor support and solidarity.
“We see fantastic results, their self-esteem and confidence levels have just built so much being in a support group with other ladies that have been in similar situations,” says Ms Gillett.
“A lot of people if they are in that situation of domestic violence they don’t know who to turn to and it’s hard to find someone to speak to sometimes who you can trust… having a police officer such as myself involved in the program means they can ask any police related questions.”
Although domestic violence is an international problem, it’s the local responses that make the biggest difference, which is why local gems like RUBY are crucial to combating domestic violence.
The program is free and open to all women who face domestic violence in the past and present.
Ms Gillett says RUBY aims to be flexible and supportive of how participants are feeling on any given day.
“We can tailor it to suit their needs, we can go for a walk, have a coffee, have a talk, do a bit of craft… so it’s not just fitness related.”
Colour coding aside, initiatives like White Ribbon and RUBY show that combating domestic violence requires the participation of everyone.