The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an annual international campaign that kicks off on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until 10 December, Human Rights Day.

Southern Grampians Shire Council believes everyone deserves to be safe and respected each and every day. These 16 Days of Activism provide a focus of awareness each year and an opportunity for education and growth, which Council are proud to support.

Southern Grampians Shire Council CEO Tony Doyle said family violence and gender-based violence were driven by inequality, discrimination and marginalisation.

“The current rates of family and gender-based violence in Australia are nothing short of alarming, with six women killed in Australia this week alone. Statistics show that every nine days a woman is killed by her current or former partner, and almost one in four women have experienced intimate partner violence by the age of 15,” Mr Doyle said.

“Respect sits at the core of all safe, healthy and equal relationships. As individuals, organisations and as a community we need to make a commitment to eliminating all forms of discrimination and realising the vision for gender equal communities and workplaces.”

Mr Doyle said research had consistently shown that disrespect increased the likelihood of violence against women.

“Gender-based violence causes severe harm to families and communities. Throughout the 16 Days of Activism campaign, we hope to inspire action and encourage members to be proactive bystanders who call out poor behaviour when they witness it,” he said.

Dr Kate Fitz-Gibbon, Chair of Respect Victoria said 16 Days of Activism was an opportunity for every single Victorian to say “enough is enough”.

“Violence against women is preventable, and during this 16 Days of Activism and beyond, we have an opportunity to change the story,” said Dr Fitz-Gibbon. “Respect Victoria is proud to work alongside Southern Grampians Shire Council to help create safe, equal, and respectful communities.”

This year, in partnership with local cafes, council is placing orange RESPECT stickers on coffee cups as a prompt for starting a conversation around respectful relationships and behaviours.

“I encourage everyone who stands for equal respect and safety for all genders to take the opportunity to have a conversation with those around you about respect during this campaign. I challenge you to use this time to examine the culture or practices in your workplace, sporting club or at home if it’s safe to do so, and determine if they are inclusive and respectful of all people and genders,” Mr Doyle said.

“Violence against women is preventable if we can all work towards changing the culture that allows it to happen.”

The Hamilton Library will also be showcasing a series of books in the branch and on social media through the 16 Days, focusing on gender-equality and respect to stimulate thinking and conversations.

“We know that what we read, and watch influences the way we think, particularly from a very young age. The library team have collated a series of books that challenge stereotypes, give characters non-traditional roles and help us think about gender and gender equality differently. I encourage everyone to get in and have a look from 25 November to 10 December,” Mr Doyle said.

Council’s social media channels will be sharing messaging across the 16 Days of Activism to promote awareness of the issue of family violence and gender-based violence within the community. Follow along on Facebook and Instagram.

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