Staff members are available on request to conduct talks on many aspects of women’s health, including adult survivors of child sexual assault and domestic violence, among others. Through advocacy, community education and social action, we are breaking down societal myths and stereotypes that exist in regards to issues affecting women, especially domestic violence and sexual assault. Listed below are examples of the ways in which we actively promote the rights of, and issues affecting, women.
16 Days of Activism to Stop Violence Against Women and White Ribbon Day
The 16 Days of Activism Against Gendered Violence, also known as 16 Days of Activism Against Violence Against Women, is a global campaign to raise awareness about violence against women and its impact on a woman’s physical, psychological, social and spiritual well-being.
On the last Friday in November the Wagga Women’s Health Centre hosts our annual launch of the 16 Days of Activism Against Violence Against Women, this day also falls close to White Ribbon Day. Each year the Centre hosts a commemoration ceremony to pay respect to those women who have lost their lives to violence. The Ceremony is led by White Ribbon Ambassadors and male leaders within the Wagga Wagga community and is attended by both the general public and other organisations.
A total of 69 women died in 2018 due to violence as reported by Counting Dead Women Australia researchers of Destroy The Joint.
The ceremony sees the names of the women who have died read out by the White Ribbon Ambassadors and male leaders within the community while members of the community tie white ribbons with the names of each woman murdered printed on it to the rail outside the Centre. This is then followed by one minute’s silence.
In 2016, the Centre was invited to participate in White Ribbon Day activities organised by RAAF Base Wagga and attended the White Ribbon Ball organised by the Wagga Wagga White Ribbon Ambassadors, the proceeds of which were donated in part to the Centre.
“No More Silence about Domestic and Family Violence” Campaign
The Wagga Women’s Health Centre is part of the Domestic Violence Liaison Committee, and the sub-committee of the “No More Silence about Domestic and Family Violence” Campaign. The Wagga Women’s Health Centre is the lead agency for this campaign. The “No More Silence” campaign was developed in 2003 and since then various resources have been developed. In 2005 drink coasters were developed to be placed in hotels and clubs, in 2009 information cards were developed to be placed in hairdressing salons, in 2010 serviettes were developed to be placed in coffee shops, and in 2011 information cards were produced to be placed in doctor’s surgeries. In 2012 we began working on putting information into outlying villages of Wagga Wagga, including Uranquinty, Mangoplah, Forest Hill, Tarcutta, Humula and Ladysmith, and also into the practices of allied health professionals. Currently our Toilet Door Campaign is putting the Power & Control Wheel onto the backs of toilets throughout Wagga and surrounds.
Please contact us for any further information about the “No More Silence” campaign, or if you are interested in accessing our resources.
Blue Knot Day
The Blue Knot Foundation’s symbol for Blue Knot Day, and its symbol all year round, is the tangled knot. Blue Knot Foundation identify that the knot represents
“ when children are abused they become confused…. life, even in adulthood, can be chaotic and tangled”.
In 2016, participants from a support group at the Centre took the symbol of the blue knot and created a virtual knot, with messages woven through the knot, of the impacts of abuse, and the message of hope and support. This “Blue Knot” was displayed on the fence out the front of the Centre, for people to observe. For the participants the knot represented their voices to the community saying abuse “is Knot OK” and that support is there for people who have been impacted. The knot is now on display in the foyer of the Centre for people to view. Many comments have been offered in support and admiration in addition to being a starting point for people to discuss their feelings and experiences (even the NSW Premier commented).
Participants commented on how powerful the experience was for them to be able to voice their feelings in a way that was safe and non-identifying.
One Million Stars to End Violence
One Million Stars to End Violence began as a response to the rape and murder of a young woman, Jill Meagher. Founder MaryAnn Talia Pau began the star weaving campaign with the aim to weave one million stars and stand up to violence that had occurred in her community. The Stars woven through the campaign are to be hung on display at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Organised by Leah (Trauma Specialist Counsellor), the Centre hosted two Star Weaving Jams. The first was a closed group the second was a large community event held at the Ashmont Community Centre. The event was well represented by the community and the local media with the founder MaryAnn and Leah participating in the weaving. 200 stars were made at the events and were sent away to be added to the installation.
Day of Action Against Sexual Assault
The Day of Action against Sexual Assault is held on the last Thursday in August each year. The aim of the day is to; celebrate women’s survival of sexual assault, inform sexual assault survivors of their options and let them know they are not alone, acknowledge the efforts and successes of women who work with those survivors and draw attention to the continuing need for public education and support services.
Domestic Violence Liaison Committee
The Wagga Women’s Health Centre is a member of the Wagga Wagga Local Domestic Violence Liaison Committee. The aim of this committee is to work from an inter-agency framework to educate and raise awareness of domestic and family violence, in order to reduce incidents of domestic and family violence within our communities.
International Women’s Day
Each year around the world International Women’s Day is held on the 8th of March. Events are held to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future. International Women’s Day is about celebrating the vital role women play in enhancing economic security for their families, communities and countries as a whole while recognizing that significant barriers to achieving women’s economic security and equality continue to exist. Every year for International Women’s Day the Wagga Women’s Health Centre holds an event. Previously we have partnered with the Kapooka Community, Multicultural Council of Wagga Wagga, Women’s Health Clinic and Wagga Wagga City Council. We have also had a stall in the Wagga Wagga Marketplace and handed out over 200 pamper bags to women in the community, with each bag containing a handmade soap, candle, chocolates, community information brochures and affirmation cards.