12 December 2018
Media reporting of domestic and family violence crimes are frequently criticised for sensationalising events, trivialising the physical and emotional trauma that is inflicted on those who experience violence or for often engaging in victim blaming.
The way media reports on domestic crimes and abuse has consequences for how gender-based violence is responded to or called out in broader society. Changing the narrative is critical and aligns with YWCA Canberra’s advocacy priority ‘A Life Free From Violence’.
To counter this damaging narrative, YWCA Canberra has recently partnered with the Domestic Violence Crisis Service (DVCS) to work with women who have experienced abuse or violence from an intimate partner or family relative. These women are being trained to become Voices for Change Advocates and to play a role in changing the conversation to prevent family, domestic and intimate partner violence.
Voices for Change is a media advocacy program developed by Our Watch for survivors to share their stories with the public and the media in a way that challenges the drivers of violence against women.
The project will include delivery of a digital storytelling project, featuring the advocates, and a complementary community media campaign. Advocates will raise awareness, talk about prevalence, let other women know what help is available locally, explain why it is not always easy to leave or get away from the abuse, and help the community understand what they can do to prevent violence against women.
Training for the advocates, conducted over three days, is designed to empower participants to speak confidently and with purpose to the community and media about violence against women and controlling relationships.
The Voices for Change project will be officially launched during the week of International Women’s Day (8 March) next year.
YWCA Canberra is grateful to DVCS for partnering with us for this important project and appreciate the time and commitment demonstrated by participants during their training. We look forward to sharing more about this special project next year.
This article forms part of YWCA Canberra’s advocacy publication, YAction.
YAction shines a light on the advocacy of YWCA Canberra, like-minded organisations and the issues that are important to our community.
This publication is about bringing the voices, initiatives and efforts of activists and organisations to the fore – we hope that by doing this we will increase awareness of critical issues and present opportunities for collaboration that our members, friends and supporters can get involved in. Ultimately, we hope to strengthen a movement that works together to achieve gender equality in the ACT, as we believe that this will take a society-wide effort.
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