Whenever I meet women survivors or defenders of women’s rights, I am uplifted and inspired to engage – I cannot let them down. It will be our numbers and our voices as women that will change the world.
‘Silence is the language of complicity … speaking out is the language of change’ is my personal maxim. This resonates with my commitment as an advocate and a feminist to persist in working towards social and political change.
I believe in the ‘power of naming’ as an effective strategy to break the silence about violence and abuse. Through our shared stories we discover new meanings and build strong connections that challenge the divisive tactics of violence and abuse and overcome the resultant isolation and self-blame experienced by women and children. Never underestimate the power of a story to create change.
It is every woman’s human right to live a life free of sexual assault and domestic violence. However, if she is subjected to any form of violence, it is equally her right to receive compassionate assistance in her recovery and full redress for the crime through the criminal justice system.
Violence against women is preventable, and yet it continues to destroy the lives of women and families in epidemic proportions. The statistics are not slipping. It is a widely misunderstood issue and people don’t realise how insidious it truly is – it doesn’t just impact the victims of violence but their families, workplaces, communities, and our economy. Working with victims of violence on a daily basis reminds me that it’s not a certain ‘type’ of woman who is susceptible, it doesn’t discriminate based on location, race, wealth, class or religion. This can happen to anyone.