Dixie Link-Gordon, Community Educator

addlg-207From Victim to Warrior is more than a dream.

Painful as the journey may be
We overcome through passion.

Dixie Link-Gordon has lived all her adult life in Redfern. Her six children have grown up in the community and Dixie has become a voice of authority, promoting the cultural values of ‘sharing, caring and respect’. She has developed a real talent for communication, conducting conversations about domestic violence across genders and generations.

The turning point in Dixie’s life was when she became a trainee at the Stepping Out Housing Program, a feminist agency set up in the mid-1970s for homeless women, particularly child survivors of sexual abuse. The training and support that she received from Stepping Out gave Dixie the motivation to reflect on her own life. It was then that she realised that her own childhood experience of sexual assault was not normal or acceptable. So began her journey, 26 years ago, of working towards the goal of zero tolerance of rape and domestic violence.

Dixie had left school at 15. Thirty years later, after she began working in women’s services, she continued her education through Eora College, completing a Performing Arts Certificate. She then went on to study at the University of Technology in Sydney, graduating with a BA in Adult Education and Community Management and receiving the UTS Human Rights Alumni Award. She credits her access to education as the result of the influence of the wonderful and passionate women who have inspired and empowered her.

In the early ‘90s Dixie became a founding worker at the Mudgin-Gal Aboriginal Women’s Centre in Chippendale. Meaning ‘women’s place’, Mudgin-Gal offers a safe haven and a range of services for Aboriginal women. Dixie is currently employed by Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia as a Project Worker on ‘Hey Sis, we’ve got your back!’. This program, designed to protect Aboriginal girls against sexual abuse and rape in NSW communities, was co-created by Dixie and her friend and co-worker, Ashlee Donohue.

In 2004, Dixie helped facilitate the first ‘Blackout Violence’ (BOV) campaign at the Redfern football carnival, talking to over 1000 men about saying ‘no’ to violence and promoting a healthy lifestyle. This was an important platform for her and a template for engagement with men. BOV has now become a significant inner-city anti-domestic violence initiative. Sport is a very important part of her community – two of her sons are professional sportsmen – and flowing on from BOV, Dixie is now contracted to work as a Community Educator by the NSW Office of Communities on the ‘Tackling Violence’ program aimed at players and managers in football clubs across regional and rural NSW. This is another arena where she and Ashlee Donohue work collaboratively.

Dixie is also one of the two pioneer Aboriginals supporting women who have experienced domestic violence through the now well-established country-wide Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service. Maintaining the cultural values she has derived from her personal ethos of ‘sharing, caring and respect’ is central to her sense of caring for herself and mentoring others. Dixie is inspired by communities starting to own and share their knowledge of working towards zero tolerance of rape and domestic violence. She is proud of the evolution and success of the ‘Tackling Violence’ program, as well as ‘Hey Sis’. She also passionately supports the NSW Office of Communities’ Safety Workshops for Women in remote NSW communities expanding across Australia.

Dixie has received many accolades for her work at local, state and national level. One of the highlights of her life was sharing the Mudgin-gal Aboriginal in Urban Society Story at the United Nations ‘Status of Women Forum‘ in 2012. She has learned to embrace her life and to use her own experiences to help others. She seeks to help the people in her community take ownership of their problems and be empowered to make a difference. She is guided by her intrinsic optimism and her belief in the possibility of change.

http://www.redfernfoundation.org.au/mudgingal.html

http://www.communities.nsw.gov.au/tacklingviolence/

http://www.legalaid.nsw.gov.au/what-we-do/community-partnerships/womens-domestic-violence-court-advocacy-program/womens-domestic-violence-court-advocacy-service-locations-in-nsw

http://www.heysis.com.au/

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