Warrnambool workshop drives changing attitudes towards women

IF violence towards women is going to stop, then attitudes towards women need to change.

That’s the message from Deakin University lecturer Renee Fiolet, who will be the guest speaker at a workshop today where participants will learn how they can help prevent violence against women.

Ms Fiolet, a lecturer in the Deakin University school of nursing and midwifery and a PhD candidate, said despite awareness being raised, the number of reports regarding violence against women was on the increase.

“It’s important not to just look at the statistics, but ask why is it occurring,” she said.

“Why is it acceptable or a norm that it occurs?”

Ms Fiolet said ideas of masculinity in Australia needed to be challenged.

“Things like mateship can mean men find it hard to challenge other men,” she said.

“Traditional gender roles, especially in rural and remote areas, are still celebrated and not challenged.”

The workshop is being presented by the Deakin University equity and diversity division as part of a 16 Days of Action campaign to eradicate violence against women.

Ms Fiolet said the aim was to raise awareness, break down myths about the issue and encourage people not to be bystanders to the problem.

“A recent survey showed that up to 80 per cent of individuals wouldn’t intervene,  even if they knew someone was involved in domestic abuse. That is the type of attitude we need to change,” she said.

“For females 15 to 44 years old the biggest contributor to death and disability is violence against women.

“That’s the people that go to our university and staff.

“We need to make sure there is awareness in our organisation.”

Ms Fiolet’s research title is:  Collaborating with women who experience intimate partner violence: developing and testing and intervention to promote the quality of nursing and midwifery care.

She is a chairwoman for the UN Women Australia Geelong Chapter, Victorian representative for the National Rural Women’s Network and is on the G21 Month of Action to stop violence against women committee.

As a nurse, she has worked in women’s health, paediatrics, community health and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health for the past 11 years.

The university workshop is aimed at both men and women and is open to community members.

The workshop will be held today at the Warrnambool campus from 2.30pm. Counselling support will be available for members of the audience if needed.

For more information or to confirm attendance contact strategic equity projects officer Jen Anderson on 9244 3892 or email jen.anderson@deakin.edu.au

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