LIKENING family violence to the metaphorical “elephant in the room” is apt, but Barwon Community Legal Services has turned the metaphor into a physical reality in the hopes of generating talk on the issue.
The large fibreglass elephant will take up residence in the Warrnambool City Council office foyer this week in the hope of sparking discussion on the hidden problem of domestic violence.
“People don’t talk about (family violence) enough,” Barwon Community Legal Services principal lawyer Mandi Hyland said.
“We want to publicise it so people talk about it and talk to counsellors and take action in court.
“It’s the same as the depression campaigns they’ve been running — the more people talk about it, the more people do something about it.”
The elephant, which is a life-size baby elephant, was created as an art project in Mildura by women affected by family violence.
Half of the pachyderm is painted black and white and features messages signifying the inaction, the unspoken side of the issue and the feelings of loneliness and isolation that come with keeping quiet, Ms Hyland said.
The other half of the elephant is colourful and carries positive messages, which showed how the women “felt after they received assistance and had something about it and changed their lives”, she said.
“(People don’t talk about family violence) because it’s so personal.
“They don’t talk about what happens in their marriage and in their family.
“They think it only happens to them and they feel isolated.
“But it’s not. We want to publicise this, show there is a problem and let people see there are lots of services available to help them.”