From a stay-at-home mother of three to a doctor or mining employee, one in three women from all walks of life experience physical or sexual violence by someone they know. Closer to home for those of us living and working away from capital cities, domestic violence has sadly been shown to be more problematic in remote and regional Australia.
These aren’t just statistics, they are wives, sisters, mothers, daughters and friends. Not one woman should ever experience domestic violence and it’s time we rise up and empower women against such pain, fear and oppression.
White Ribbon Day is around the corner and is an amazing initiative. It’s Australia’s only national, male-led campaign to end male violence against women. With key influencers and opinion leaders backing the program, it firmly tells men that any violence, physical, mental or financial, will not be tolerated in society.
With media strengthening the content around domestic violence issues, more people are talking about it, but still, so many women spend years feeling afraid, worthless, manipulated and damaged as a result of someone else’s anger and violence. It’s hard to believe that many women have their choices made for them and no longer feel like an individual. This can also have a crippling effect on their workplace performance, when in fact, it could be their one place of respite all day.
Given that some of these women may be relying on their workplace to achieve independence because they can’t get it at home, it is important that more is done at a HR and management level to identify typical behaviours and help support women suspected of suffering at the hand of domestic violence.
Some government departments around Australia have now implemented dedicated paid leave for women in such situations, to help them move house, and attend to matters relating to removing themselves from harm. I highly commend these initiatives and hope more organisations take this on to help improve employee culture and wellbeing.
Not too long ago, She’s Empowered was created to address discrimination women face in the mining and construction industries. It was created to be a vehicle that drives change, bucks trends and empowers women so it should come as no surprise that White Ribbon Day is close to my heart.
However, this issue is greater than any difference you or I can make alone. This is one for policy makers, decision makers, CEOs, HR managers, colleagues, neighbours, friends and families to all band together and be the collective voice for women suffering from domestic violence. We each have the ability to help women feel empowered to make their own decisions and realise their self-worth.
If you have been, or currently are, a victim of domestic violence, know you are valued, worthy, strong and supported. There are a number of empowerment initiatives and activities you could try to incorporate in to your daily life to help build your confidence – the below are from a range of sources I’ve looked into to help women suffering from domestic violence build their emotional and physical strength.
Please share this post with your networks. You may never know who it resonates with, but you could really help to empower someone who needs it right now.
- Get Active - This could be joining a gym, a daily walk, joining the White Ribbon Runners or Zumba class – once your endorphins release and you start moving, you can feel better and with that, think better about your options
- Meditating - Focusing and honing in your thoughts will help you grow stronger mentally. Headspace is a great app to try this in a place you feel most comfortable. Perhaps joining a yoga class will help your mind and body relax
- Talk - Sometimes you might not want to speak with a family member or friend. Calling a domestic violence hotline will allow you talk anonymously and get some advice to help put things into perspective and help you feel supported.
- Reconnect - Take as much time as you need to sort through your emotions and reconnect with what makes you happy. Spoil yourself and reconnect with friends and family.
For more information on White Ribbon Day and how to get involved or to find support, visit: http://www.whiteribbon.org.au/finding-help