As a survivor of domestic violence, my purpose now lies in changing the statistics through a preventative process in a holistic and inspiring way. My own experiences have driven me to become an advocate and an educator. I want to help empower all people to work towards ending violence in all its forms. Everyone has the right to feel and to be SAFE.
Ashlee Donohue is a proud Aboriginal woman from the Dunghutti nation, born and raised in Kempsey, New South Wales. She comes from a very strong lineage of Aboriginal women on her maternal side.
Living in Sydney and advocating for the Aboriginal community for over seventeen years, Ashlee has been involved with a number of organisations including Gadigal Information Service (GIS). GIS offers an environment where Aboriginal and other Indigenous people can develop their inherent storytelling abilities and also provides avenues for Aboriginal voices to be heard. Its community radio station, Koori Radio 93.7FM, is where Ashlee produced the ‘Black Love, Myths, Facts and Choices’ CD, a tool used to educate the community on the harmful impact of domestic violence.
Ashlee is widely recognised by the community for the co-creation of the ‘Young, Black and Deadly’ project, a performing arts talent workshop which showcases Indigenous youth as well as developing increased skills and confidence. She also worked on ‘Klub Koori’, which presents some of the best and emerging music talent heard on Koori Radio. She regularly presents as ‘Miss Ashlee’.
Ashlee is currently working with Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia on the project she co-created with her friend and co-worker, Dixie Link-Gordon, ‘Hey Sis, We’ve got your back!’, an Aboriginal women’s assault network that aims to provide resources and develop the skills of Aboriginal women who are working to prevent sexual assault in their communities. ‘Hey Sis’ enables peer-to-peer support, professional development and state-wide networking, supporting the supporters. This program often features on Koori Radio.
In addition to her media work, for over five years Ashlee has served as a curriculum writer and educator on the award-winning ‘Tackling Violence’ project. This is an education program that uses regional rugby league clubs to deliver anti-domestic violence messages. Ashlee has provided anti-violence training to thousands of men, women and students, concentrating on preventative measures that are realistic and accessible.
In her role as Education Manager at Mudgin-gal Aboriginal Corporation-Women’s Centre, Ashlee was the lead writer, trainer and facilitator for the National Rugby League’s (NRL) anti-violence kit, ‘Voice against Violence’. This program was designed to provide information and facilitate conversation with players, their families and their supporters, educating them about domestic violence and the impact it has on society.
As well as her extensive advocacy work, Ashlee completed her Masters of Education from the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), won the UTS Human Rights Reconciliation Award, and served as a Director of Community Education (Casual Lecturer) for the undergraduate degree, Bachelor of Arts in Adult Education and Community Management. Also, for the past four years, Ashlee has attended and made presentations with Dixie Link-Gordon about their work at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in New York City.
Ashlee acknowledges that she was much loved and supported by her great-grandmother, grandmother and mother who, she believes, have paved the path she is walking now. She, in return, will continue to walk this path, placing bright lights along the way for her son and daughter, her granddaughters, grandsons, and future generations of her family to continue the journey.